Hong Kong’s Angus Ng crashes out of the Hong Kong Open against ‘much more serious’ Lin Dan
Local star’s reign at the tournament ends after losing a hard-fought second round match against the two-time Olympic champion who is back at his best
Angus Ng Ka-long’s reign as Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open champion came to a dramatic and thrilling end when he crashed out in the second round to the game’s greatest player.
Twelve months ago, Ng was on top of the world, becoming the first local men’s singles champion in the history of the local tournament, but he will have to watch the rest of the action as a spectator after losing to two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China.
Despite vociferous support from a pro-Hong Kong crowd at the Coliseum in Hung Hom, the home favourite started off brilliantly but later succumbed to the mastery of the former world No 1 who notched a hard-fought 17-21, 21-18, 22-20 victory.
Ng, who had beaten Lin Dan before in 2015 in Hong Kong, was left disappointed by his defeat but proud that he put up a good fight against the five-time world champion.
“Of course I am disappointed with the result as I now have been consigned to watching the rest of the tournament in the spectator stands,” said the Hong Kong number one.
“I still lack the determination to handle the big points. I’m not as experienced as Lin who is a very classy player. However, it also proved I am playing very close to the level of these world-class players and there is just a small step to make before I bridge the gap. It may take one year or two years to do it, no one knows. It depends on how I manage my game.”
Two years ago at the same stage, Ng easily sent Lin home with a 2-0 win but the mainlander was much more solid in his approach – and much more serious.
“You can tell from his eyes that his fighting spirit was back,” said Ng. “He pumped his fists every time he won a point in the third game and shouted to himself for motivation. He did give it 100 per cent compared to two years ago. He was much more serious.
“There is no pressure for me to play Lin as I don’t think any player can say they can beat Lin before the match.”
Lin said the Hong Kong player, who beat Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia to reach the semi-finals at last week’s China Open, is playing with a lot more confidence and has improved in leaps and bounds.
Lin will meet another mainlander, Shi Yuqi, in the quarterfinals after the sixth seed defeated Hong Kong’s Vincent Wong Wing-ki in a match that lasted over an hour. Shi prevailed 21-19, 16-21, 21-19.
It was a bad day in the office with another Hong Kong player, Wei Nan, falling by the wayside in the second round. Wei was beaten by Malaysian Lee Chong Wei with the eighth seed prevailing 21-23, 21-11, 21-12 in another three-game tussle.
In the mixed doubles, high-flying Tang Chun-man and Tse Ying-suet reached the quarter-finals where they will face a tough battle against mainlanders Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping, the fourth seeds. They thrashed their Korean opponents in two identical 21-13 games in just 30 minutes of their second round tie. The Hong Kong pair won the Denmark Open last month when they defeated the 2016 Olympic champions and the world number one pair to capture gold.
Meanwhile veteran Yip Pui-yin believes she can play at the highest level despite her second-round exit from women’s singles.
“My performance has revitalised my hopes,” said the 30-year-old, who squandered a game point against Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea before losing to the third seed 24-22, 21-11 in 45 minutes. “I have been losing a lot this year but I also reached the quarter-finals in the Korea superseries and my performance in the two matches of the Hong Kong Open was quite impressive. If I can keep it the way like I played here, I can still stay competitive.”
Yip is targeting to secure one of the two singles spots for Hong Kong for next year’s Asian Games in Jakarta. She won a silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha before capturing a bronze in the Guangzhou Games four years later.