Hong Kong will play their hearts out against Malaysia, vows Tony Choi
Hong Kong vowed to give top seeds Malaysia a run for their money after reaching their sixth consecutive final in the women's Asian Team Championships yesterday.
Having overcome defending champions India in the pool stage to qualify for the semi-finals, the home team cruised to a 2-0 victory over Japan, who finished second in their pool behind Malaysia.
"Our target was to make it to the last four after the last-minute pull-out of our top player Annie Au due to injuries," said head coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan. "Reaching the final is already a bonus.
"The girls have showed great team spirit and never let us down. Of course, we are looking forward to a good final, but the Malaysians are in a class of their own and we will try our best to make it as close as possible."
Tong Tsz-wing gave the home team a flying start with a hard fought 3-1 win (12-14, 11-7, 11-4, 11-7) over 15-year-old Satomi Watanabe in the opening match at Hong Kong Squash Centre. Joey Chan Ho-ling then brushed aside Misaki Kobayashi 11-7, 11-7, 11-4.
"Joey Chan has lived up to expectations, showing great consistency throughout the tournament," said Choi. "She has proved she can rise to the occasion when necessary and we'll see how she does against the Malaysians in the final."
Nicol David, 30, again displayed her skills and fitness in their 2-0 win over India in the other semi-final. David beat Dipika Pallikal, the world number 10, in straight games (11-5, 11-5, 11-8), while Delia Arnold also had an easy 11-6, 11-1, 11-5 win over Anaka Alankamony.
Chan, who will face the formidable David today, said: "I have never come close against her and the best result is still a 3-0 loss. But I like the atmosphere of a team competition as you are not on your own but with the support of your fellow teammates. I hope I can put up a good fight."