Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open

Eudice Chong flies flag for Hong Kong; Tara Moore also one win away from Open main draw place

The 20-year-old beats Japan’s Shuko Aoyama in three sets and will now meet fifth-seeded Czech Teresa Martincova

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 October, 2016, 10:25pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 October, 2016, 12:29am

Eudice Chong carries local hopes in the Prudential Hong Kong Open at Victoria Park on Sunday after she scored a shock victory over Japan’s Shuko Aoyama in the qualifiers on Saturday.

The world number 999 fought back from a set down to beat Aoyama 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 and is only one victory away from a place in the main draw.

Standing in her way is Czech Republic’s Teresa Martincova, seeded fifth in the qualifiers. The 21-year-old Martincova is ranked 166 in the world and will be a heavy favourite to progress. The match will be played on Centre Court at 4pm.

Hong Kong-born Briton Tara Moore also progressed, beating China’s Lu Jingjing 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) to take a step closer to the main draw.

Hong Kong teenager Claudia Ng Hei-ching’s hopes of making the main draw at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open were dashed in the opening round of the qualifiers at Victoria Park yesterday when she was beaten 0-6, 3-6 by mainlander Zhu Lin.

The youngster was aiming to make the first round of the competition proper, which begins tomorrow when the top seeds join the action.

In the biggest match of her young career, the 16-year-old Ng took a while to adapt to the environment on Centre Court swiftly going down 0-6. However, she moved into a 3-0 lead in the second set, before her more experienced opponent, the world number 148, recovered to wrap up the win in just under one hour.

“I think I could have played better,” said Ng afterwards. “I’m just not used to handling her fast shots and I think that my movement could have been better, because she made me run a lot.”

Ng, who won a bronze medal at the 1st National Youth Games in Fujian last October, had earlier said she would “faint from shock” if she progressed to meet one of the star names in the main tournament. And it was clear the youngster was struggling to control her nerves at the beginning of the match.

“I just need to get used to the environment,” she said. “At the start I was so nervous because there were so many people watching. I need to remember to keep my focus. My coach, family, even my classmates and teachers came. I’m really happy they came, but there were so many people. They clapped for me and my opponent and it was quite distracting.”

Two other Hong Kong players were also eliminated at the first stage yesterday. Fourteen-year-old Cody Wong Hong-yi went down 6-3, 6-2 to Russia’s Polina Leykina, and Katherine Ip was defeated 6-3, 6-1 by Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic.