Big sister is watching: Leo Au scores massive upset at Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong star given little chance but manages to pull off an improbable win over the three-time world champion in his opening match at the Squash Centre
Local star Leo Au Chun-ming pulled off a major upset at the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, defeating three-time world champion Ramy Ashour in a result his elder sister couldn’t believe at first.
After sister Annie Au Wing-chi cruised to a 3-0 win over teammate and qualifier Tong Tsz-wing in her women’s opener, she dashed off to watch her brother thinking the match will be over quickly in favour of the Egyptian, the former world number one at the Squash Centre. Ashour is also defending Hong Kong Open champion.
“I don’t know if he [Leo Au] can get a point against Ashour so I have to get to the match quickly,” she said before settling in her seat to watch her brother.
After Leo stunned Ashour 6-11, 11-7, 11-7, 10-12, 11-4, big sister was grinning ear to ear, amazed Leo had completed victory against one of the sport’s most established stars.
“We never played before but I never ever imagined I would beat such a big name in squash,” said Leo Au. “I just wanted to play a good game but in the end it became one of my biggest wins.”
Au is not about to rest on his laurels as he faces another intriguing battle in the next round, where he meets fourth seed Ali Farag, also from Egypt.
His sister Annie, meanwhile, is also looking for an upset victory of her own as she clashes with women’s great, Nicol David, in the second round on Thursday.
Au defeated the Malaysian great at the US Open last month, her first-ever victory over David, a 10-time consecutive Hong Kong champion. That was her first win against the eight-time world champion in 25 encounters. And she’s desperate for another victory in front of the home crowd.
“I really want beat her here. That would be massive,” said Au, who is ranked 11th in the world, five places above the 34-year-old Malaysian.
Au’s compatriot Joey Chan Ho-ling also got off to a flying start in the women’s event, defeating Emily Whitlock, of England, 11-9, 11-2, 11-9. Chan, who also beat David for the first time at the World Games semi-finals this summer, paid tribute to their new head coach Chris Robertson, who arrived in Hong Kong in August to replace Tony Choi Yuk-kwan, now deputy chief at the Sports Institute.
Chan will now take on Camille Serme, the Frenchwoman who beat her at the World Games final.
“She is very powerful and speedy on court. I need to deliver my best to have a chance [of beating] her,” she said.