Bad day at the office as Au siblings crash out of Hong Kong Open
Annie Au narrowly loses to Malaysian great Nicol David, while younger brother Leo’s second-round match lasts just 16 minutes after a shoulder injury forces him to retire
Siblings Leo Au Chun-ming and Annie Au Wing-chi suffered agonising exits from the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open in the second round on Thursday night.
Annie Au was hoping to get another one over former world number one, Nicol David, but despite vociferous home support, she came up short before losing 11-9, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-7.
Less than an hour later, Annie Au saw her younger brother crashing out of the second round of the men’s competition after he was forced to retire from his match against Ali Farag of Egypt.
— HK Squash (@HKsquash) November 16, 2017
A recurring right shoulder injury – first sustained two years ago – was to blame for Leo’s quick exit after he left the court after just 16 minutes while trailing 11-5, 6-2. Leo Au had caused a sensation on Wednesday night by dumping three-time world champion and Hong Kong title holder, Ramy Ashour, out of the first round in five gruelling games.
Annie Au was hoping to register her second victory against eight-time world champion David after her groundbreaking win at the US Open last month, but despite putting up a superb performance for much of the way, she was unable to close out victory against the Malaysian great.
— Nicol Ann David (@NicolDavid) November 16, 2017
David, who was ranked number one for more than 100 consecutive months, isn’t playing her best these days. At 34, she was vulnerable against hungry players such as Annie Au, but she still proved she had something up her sleeve when it came down to fighting qualities.
Despite the narrow defeat, Au remained positive she came away with something after losing the 55-minute encounter at the Squash Centre.
“I am not too disappointed with my performance as it all came down to five tough games, the second time in a month,” said the home favourite, who is ranked 11th in the world.
“It proves we are on similar par and it’s difficult to predict the result until the final point is played. This is something good. In fact, my fitness level is also getting better. Before I would easily run out of stamina after four games but now I can still hang in there until the decider against a top player such as David.”
It was the end of the road for all home players in the US$305,000 tournament after Joey Chan Ho-ling also crashed out in the second round.
Chan managed to take one game off world number three Camille Serme of France before losing 11-6, 7-11, 11-6, 11-8. The Frenchwoman will meet David in the quarter-finals. Also through to the last eight was top seed Nour El Sherbini, of Egypt, who will take on fellow countrywoman Nouran Gohar, the defending champion.