Fairy-tale run ends for Hong Kong's Angus Ng, but dream lives on for star in the making
Home player loses to Malaysia's superstar Lee Chong Wei but 21-year-old is one to watch for future after his impressive run in the city
Angus Ng Ka-long's badminton Superseries journey ended at the hands of Malaysian favourite Lee Chong Wei, but not before the Hongkonger marked himself as a name to watch in the future.
The 21-year-old home star, who has lit up this year's US$350,000 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open, built an 18-15 advantage over former world number one Lee after storming to a 6-0 lead in the opening game. But the more experienced Lee stormed back with his speed and deceptive shots before taking the semi-final clash 21-19, 21-14 on Saturday.
Unseeded Ng, who won his first major title at Germany's Bitburger Open this month, had eliminated two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China and fifth seed Chou Tien-chen, of Taiwan, before reaching the last four at the Coliseum.
"It looks like all the good things come suddenly, I found it difficult to sleep over the last couple of days," said Ng.
"But I know I still have to gain more experience to tackle a world-class player like Lee.
"I really thought I had a chance when leading 18-15 and was a bit relaxed after Lee called a time out. A lesson has been learned.
"But this is still a marvellous run playing in front of strong home crowds cheering for me. I never expected to reach the semi-finals."
Lee praised Ng, saying the youngster had improved from last week's China Open when Lee defeated him in the first round.
"He is more aggressive tonight with a spirited performance because he is playing at home," said Lee. "Certainly he is one of the future stars and will come up in the next two years."
After capturing the French Open and China Open titles, Lee is on course for his third successive Superseries victory. He faces Tian Houwei, of China, in today's final.
Unseeded Tian beat Indonesian Ginting Anthony 18-21, 21-11, 21-6 in another semi-finals.
"This is just another super series for me and my target is to collect more qualifying points for the Olympic Games next year," said Lee, who come back in June after completing an eight-month doping ban. “I am just 80 per cent of my best at the moment and I hope I can continue to play well and don’t get injured.”
WATCH: Highlights of Hong Kong Open semi-finals
In the women's singles, top seed Carolina Marin, of Spain, marched into the final with a convincing 21-18, 21-16 victory over Wang Yihan, of China. She will meet Nozomi Okuhara, of Japan, in the final as she seeks her fifth Superseries title of the year.
“I am looking forward to the final after losing [in the semi-finals] here last year,” said the reigning two-time world champion from Andalusia. “A lot of things have changed since last year, my game, my mind as I have kept the focus on my training and this is the key to success.
“I am happy with the way I managed the game today, although it is always difficult against Wang as she has good and quality strokes.”
Okuhara also considered Marin the toughest opponent. “I watched her game against Wang and there is no doubt she is the best player at the moment with the strongest offence. I need prepare myself well if I want to have a chance to beat her,” she said.