It’s back to school for Hong Kong’s battling Eudice Chong after failing to make Hong Kong Open main draw
Rookie college student toils against more experienced Tereza Martincova from the Czech Republic as she bows out of singles competition after losing 6-0, 6-3
Zhang Ling will be the host city’s sole flag bearer at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open after Eudice Chong was eliminated in Sunday’s qualifiers by Czech Republic’s Tereza Martincova.
It was a brave effort from 20-year-old Chong, the only local player to come through the first round of qualifiers on Saturday as she lost 6-0, 6-3.
She faced an uphill battle to get anything from the match after the indignity of a dreaded bagel in the opening set against a player ranked some 773 places above her in the world rankings.
“My opponent is a full-time player and plays tournaments every week,” said Chong. “I’m a part-time player. I think experience was the biggest difference.”
Chong twice broke serve in the second set to give a well-attended Centre Court crowd cause to cheer, but ultimately she was found wanting by her more experienced opponent.
The youngster will participate in the doubles draw alongside fellow Hongkonger Katherine Ip with whom she has sparked up a successful partnership.
“I’m hopeful we can do well in the doubles. I hope was can focus on our game regardless of who our opponent is,” added Chong.
After arriving in the city on Thursday, Chong was mindful of the need to return to college in the US.
“If I do well, I’ll stay another couple of days,” said Chong. “But I’m missing a lot of classes, and exams are next week!”
Hong Kong-born Briton Tara Moore’s Hong Kong Open was also ended on Sunday when she was beaten 6-2, 6-1 by second seed Aleksandra Krunic of Russia.
If the Centre Court audience on Sunday was anything to go by, organisers could see record numbers through the gate for ‘People’s Monday’, an initiative of the Hong Kong Tennis Association to allow free admission to the public on a first come, first served basis on the opening day of the tournament.
The first day of main draw action at the US$250,000 WTA International level event sees the top seeds open their accounts.
Hong Kong favourite and perennial draw card Venus Williams faces Japan’s Risa Ozaki, while France’s Alize Cornet meets American Varvara Lepchenko.
Elsewhere in the first round draw, Hong Kong’s Zhang will meet China’s Wang Qiang.
Top seed Angelique Kerber will face Maria Sakkari of Greece and reigning champion Jelena Jankovic faces off against Samantha Crawford of the United States.
British third seed Johanna Konta, who was beaten in the final of the China Open in Beijing on Sunday, faces fellow Briton Naomi Broady in her opening match.