Local hope Tong Tsz-wing makes main draw of Hong Kong Open with gritty comeback win in qualifying
The world number 49 is the only home player to progress, getting the better of compatriot Vanessa Chu
Tong Tsz-wing was the only local player to progress from qualifying into the main draw at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open after coming back from a game down to beat compatriot Vanessa Chu Man-yi 3-1 on Monday.
The world number 49 was delighted to make it through the qualifying round for the first time.
“I was in the main round in 2014 but that was because of a wild card,” said Tong. “The arrival of our new head coach has brought some new ideas as he helped cater [to] individual needs of different players, although it will take some more time to adapt to his style.”
Tong, however, was drawn to meet Hong Kong number one Annie Au Wing-Chi in the opening round. “The pressure is on her definitely,” she said.
All other local players crashed out of the qualifying competition for the US$305,000 tournament. Lee Ka-yi, who stunned qualifying number one seed Nele Gills, of Belgium, on Sunday, was narrowly defeated by Rachael Arnold, of Malaysia, after a gruelling 47-minute encounter, including a 13-11 loss in the fifth game.
Eight men’s and eight women’s players reached the main draw through the qualifier. Former world number two Jenny Duncalf was denied a place after her surprising 3-0 defeat by Danielle Letourneau, of Canada.
In the men’s event, Yip Tsz-fung, who reached the second round last year, was denied entry to the main draw after a 3-1 defeat by Greg Lobban, of Scotland.
The big guns will take to the courts at the squash centre in Central on Tuesday, with women’s world number one Nour El Sherbini, of Egypt, facing qualifier Nada Abbas, also from Egypt.
Defending champion Nouran Gohar, another Egyptian player, looks set to get past Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-ling.
In the men’s event, local favourite Max Lee Ho-yin needs to find another gear if he wants to beat Mohamed Elshorbagy, of Egypt, the third seed.
Lee made it to the semi-finals last year but the draw has made it difficult for him this time. World number one Gregory Gaultier, of France, will meet countryman Gregorie Marche.