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Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open

‘I want to make my Hong Kong grandparents proud’: Aussie tennis starlet Priscilla Hon on a mission in her second home

Teenager emerges from qualifying to secure a place in the main tournament and in the stands will be her grandmother

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 October, 2017, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 9:24am

Priscilla Hon aims to make her Hong Kong grandparents proud after qualifying for the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open on Sunday.

Hon, an Australian of Hong Kong descent, defeated Danielle Lao, of the US, 7-5, 6-2 at Victoria Park to secure a place in the main tournament.

“I come visit Hong Kong all the time, but I’ve never actually played a tournament here – it’s a first,” said the 19-year-old who is ranked 242nd in the world.

Hon’s parents moved from Hong Kong to Brisbane in 1996, two years before she was born. While Hon and her immediate family live in Australia, her grandparents remain in the city and cannot wait to watch their granddaughter compete for the first time.

“My grandparents have never seen me play,” she said. “They are both pretty old; my grandad can’t come, but my grandma will if it’s not too hot. Maybe if I play a night match. They’ll definitely be watching, though.

“My parents and I live in Australia, but they’re here to watch me. I also have a lot of friends – who obviously are here to [compete] – so I’ve been taking them around to show them parts of Hong Kong.

“This is my second home, definitely. I want to make my grandparents proud.”

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Despite having Hong Kong in her blood, Hon admits she still struggles with the notorious humid weather.

“It’s OK when I’m on court,” she said. “But when I’m off, I have to be in the shade.

“When I stop moving, I start sweating. I just have to hydrate a lot better than usual.”

The Australian joined former US Open doubles quarter-finalist Nicole Gibbs, of the US, in the main draw. Both will be brushing shoulders with the likes of Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Elina Svitolina during their time in Hong Kong.

Hon is not at all fazed.

“I’m not too bothered I’ve kind of been around it all. Obviously it’s awesome, but the less I can think about that, the better I play. I don’t have much to lose when I play against them.”

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Hon won her first WTA tour matches against Czech Republic’s Karolina Muchova and Holland’s former world junior number one, Arantxa Rus, at the 2017 Korea Open last month.

She bowed out in the quarter-finals, but wins against much higher ranked players have given her confidence to cause an upset this week.

“I try not to think about who the higher seed is. I just go out there, play my best, and hopefully get the result.”

ORDER OF PLAY

Centre court: start 3 pm

S. Stosur (Australia) v [WC] Y. Lee (Taiwan)

K. Nara (Japan) v [8] Zhang (China)

Not Before 7pm

K. Chang (Taiwan) v Q. Wang (China)

Court 1: start 3:00 pm

[Q] V. Grammatikopoulou (Greece) v N. Gibbs (US)

[Q] S. Aoyama (Japan) v L. Cabrera (Australia)

[WC] K. Ng (Hong Kong) / H. Wu (Hong Kong) v [WC] K. Ip (Hong Kong) / L. Zhang (Hong Kong)

Court 2 start 3pm

S. Jang (South Korea) v S. Rogers (US)

L. Kumkhum (Thailand) / P. Plipuech (Thailand) v J. Namigata (Japan) / R. Sawayanagi (Japan)