Veteran Gregory Gaultier in a hurry to win elusive HK Open title
The Frenchman has reached numerous finals in the city but has been tripped up by Egyptians
Gregory Gaultier knows time is running out. The 31-year-old Frenchman has been to Hong Kong for the past 11 years but he hasn’t still been able to win the Hong Kong Open, a coveted prize by his peers despite reaching the final many times.
On Sunday the world number one is in his fifth final at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open having easily disposed of Egyptian Tarek Momen in straight games in the semi-finals in the new all-glass court at the Hong Kong Park Indoor Games Hall.
“I’m in the final again, but nothing is guaranteed. I’m feeling good and today’s win over Momen is good for whenever I beat him, I go on and do well. But nothing is a 100 per cent guaranteed for on the day, anyone can beat you,” said Gaultier.
From 2007 to 2010, Gaultier conquered all to storm into the finals in Hong Kong but on all four occasions he was defeated by Egyptian exoticism. First it was Amr Shabana who defeated him in a hat-trick of finals before it was the turn of compatriot Ramy Ashour to deliver the knockout punch in 2010.
The omens don’t look good for Gaultier for standing in his way today is another of those pesky Egyptians – Mohamed Elshorbagy, ranked third in the world.
“I have been trying hard to win in Hong Kong. This is my 12th visit and I hope this time I’m lucky,” said Gaultier after his quickfire 11-7, 11-2, 11-3 win.
The elastic-limbed Gaultier retrieved everything the “soft hands” of Momen could deliver to continue his impressive run this week, which hasn’t seen the two-time British Open champion drop a game as yet.
“I have been feeling good all week and haven’t dropped my intensity. While the scoreline might look as if it was easy, it was tough out there against a player with soft hands who made me move. Yes, I’m happy with my form,” added Gaultier.
An extra month on holiday seems to be working wonders for the Frenchman but the biggest test comes is against Elshorbagy.
“This is my first Hong Kong Open final and I have enjoyed every minute. As a kid I used to watch this prestigious tournament on television and now I’m actually playing in the final. It is a great experience,” said Elshorbagy after defeating Spain’s Borja Golan 11-7, 11-5, 7-11, 11-7.
The women’s final will be between world number one Nicol David, bidding for a 10th successive title, and Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb.
David cruised past American Amanda Sobhy 11-8, 11-4, 11-2, while El Tayeb defeated England’s Laura Massaro 11-9, 10-12, 11-2, 12-10.