Diehard Manchester United football fan Angus Ng Ka-long says he’s been inspired by the Red Devils’ recent FA Cup success and hopes to go further than he has ever gone when he kicks off his HSBC World Tour Finals campaign in Bangkok on Wednesday. “I watched the match live in my hotel room and the result has definitely lifted my spirits,” said the Hong Kong number one, who stayed up late to watch United beat Liverpool 3-2 in their fourth-round FA Cup clash. “I have been in the Tour finals twice before but never have I reached the semi-final stage. Hopefully I can make it this time in Bangkok.” Ng is Hong Kong’s sole representative in the lucrative US$1.5 million tournament, where the top eight tour men’s singles players will be vying for the biggest purse in world badminton. The men’s and women’s singles champion will go home with a US$120,000 cheque. Ng has been drawn in group B, where he will meet Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, Taiwan’s Wang Tzu-wei and Srikanth Kidambi of India. Group A features top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, and Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting. “Axelsen may be the hottest player at the moment with two successive [title] wins in Bangkok but the other players are more or less on similar par [with him] as only the best players can book their places in the finals,” said 26-year-old Ng, the fifth seed. “It does not make much difference playing in either group A or B as any player can win if he is in form. “I might have lost a bit of match fitness after reaching only the round of 16 in the second tournament in Bangkok with other players reaching the later stages, but at the same time, it has given me more time to recover after a tense first week when I reached the final. It would definitely be good experience playing in three consecutive tournaments with a lot at stake.” Hong Kong’s Angus Ng bolsters his World Tour finals bid With Covid-19 throwing the world sporting calendar upside down, the World Tour finals was postponed from December when it was relocated from Guangzhou, China to the Thai capital as the last of the three back-to-back Badminton World Federation restart series under a safety “bubble”. Players have to stay in their hotel rooms when they are not playing under strict quarantine measures. The 2020 World Tour had been shortened to only nine tournaments due to the pandemic outbreak with Ng earning his finals spot thanks largely to his title triumph at the Thailand Masters in January and reaching the final at the Yonex Thailand Open a fortnight ago when he lost to Axelsen 21-14, 21-14. Angus Ng to play first match in 10 months following pandemic outbreak that hobbled world tour “Unlike the tour which plays in a knockout format, players will contest the finals by first playing a single round- robin group stage before we play the knockout stages. My experience from two previous [World Tour finals] should help me,” said the Hong Kong ace. Ng came close to reaching the knockout round of the 2017 finals in Dubai. He was on the same number of points as former world number one Lee Chong Wei, of Malaysia, and South Korea’s Son Wan-ho were after two matches following the withdrawal of Chinese star Chen Long due to injury. But Ng was eliminated among the trio on a countback after taking the number of games that the players won. Hong Kong’s best result in the World Tour Finals came in 2008 when now retired Zhou Mi defeated fellow teammate Wang Chen in the women’s singles final.