Hylo Open: Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk-Yiu offered early shot at revenge
- His first opponent in men’s singles will be Rasmus Gemki, only days after he lost to the Dane in the French Open semi-finals
- Last tournament of 2022 for Hong Kong contingent, with US$180,000 prize pot up for grabs in Saarbrucken, Germany
French Open semi-finalist Lee Cheuk-Yiu hopes to end his season on a high note in this week’s Hylo Open in Germany, where he will face Rasmus Gemki of Denmark for a chance of gaining revenge in the first round.
The 26-year-old Lee ended a 12-month semi-finals drought last week in Paris’ BWF Super 750 tournament by defeating Chin’s Lu Guangzu in the quarters, but Gemki, the world No 16, stopped him in the semis by a 21-18, 21-14 scoreline on Saturday.
“To be honest, I beat my opponents in the first three rounds all in three sets,” Lee said. “I was a bit exhausted and actually lost concentration and was unable to execute what I wanted on the court [in the semi-final].”
In those earlier rounds, the Hongkonger had upset Taiwan’s world No 4 Chou Tien-Chen in a taxing encounter lasting one hour and 23 minutes, before defeating another Taiwan player, Wang Tzu-wei, followed by Lu, both in matches lasting over an hour.
World No 15 Lee, who is expected to move up in the World Badminton Federation’s latest rankings list this week, hopes to exact revenge on Gemki, who went on to lose the French Open final to Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen.
“I’m happy with my performance in France and it’s a good start for me,” said Lee, whose previous semi-final appearance had been at the Denmark Open in October 2021 – when he lost to the eventual winner Axelsen.
The Hylo Open in the German city of Saarbrucken has been downgraded from Super 500 to 300 status.
But it still has US$180,000 in prize money riding on it, and will be the Hong Kong team’s final competition this year. As such, Lee said he was motivated to put in a good showing.
Lee has lost all of his previous meetings with Gemki, but Hong Kong coach Tim He Yiming said he had faith in his player to turn things around.
“The semi-final finish in Paris boosted him a lot in terms of confidence, and we appreciate his fighting spirit and determination. It all depends on his physical side this week.”
Hong Kong No 1 Angus Ng Ka-long is also in action and will take on Lakshya Sen of India, the world No 8.
Yoyo Ng Tsz-yau will have a busy week. Besides partnering Reginald Lee Chun-hei in the mixed doubles, she will compete in the women’s doubles with partner Tsang Hiu-yan.
Ng and Tsang have been handed a first-round clash with their fellow Hongkongers, Lianne Yeung Nga-ting and Yeung Pui-lam.