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Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open

Hong Kong Tennis Open results: Wang Qiang has ‘nothing to lose’ against Elina Svitolina in quarter-finals

China No 1 will go for broke against the world No 5 and top seed when they clash in the Hong Kong Open quarter-finals at Victoria Park on Friday

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 9:40pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 October, 2018, 1:18pm

Wang Qiang plans on going for broke when she tackles top seed Elina Svitolina in the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open quarter-finals on Friday.

China’s No 1 continued her sparkling form with a 7-5, 6-1 win against American Christina McHale on Centre Court on Thursday, but knows she next faces a different beast altogether.

“I think I played really well tonight, I have nothing to lose for tomorrow so I will just try my best,” said world No 24 Wang, who admitted she is hoping to crack the top 20 next year.

World No 5 Svitolina cruised into the last eight with a 6-0, 6-3 destruction of Japan’s Nao Hibino. Asked if she had a game plan to nullify the Ukrainian’s strengths, Wang laughed and said: “Not really.”

She added: “Svitolina’s a really good player and I played against her at the US Open. So I think I need more patience to play against her.”

“I’ll just try my best, I have no idea,” Wang added.

That last 32 match at Flushing Meadows was a fairly one-sided affair, with Svitolina winning 6-4, 6-4.

“I remember that match, I was playing well, striking the ball really good,” Svitolina said. “I’ve played her a couples of times so I know what to expect.

“I’m just gonna try to bring my best game, try to play mean as I played today. That’s the way forward.”

China No 2 Zhang Shuai also kept home hopes rolling, beating Lesley Kerkhove of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-7 (7-4), 6-1 on Court One to reach the quarter-finals.

“For me it’s a really good match today, she played really well in the second set,” Zhang said. “I played a lot of winners, but I played really well in the first set and third set.

“I got a lot of confidence from the third set. I came here not feeling so good, but after this match I feel like I’ve got everything coming together.

“Always keep the positives, even the second set I felt it was so tough, she made everything a winner. I was thinking, ‘How can I play, I don’t know’ – I just tried my best, tried something different and everything was feeling much better.”

Zhang has been in good form over the last four weeks, reaching the semi-finals at Hiroshima and the last eight in Beijing.

“For me it’s very good, I like playing in Asia,” she said. “I like playing in China, Hong Kong and Japan. I’m feeling happy here, my singles and doubles can help each other very much.”

Zhang will face Daria Gavrilova on Friday, after the Australian battled to her second three-set win of the week, beating Monica Niculescu 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(3).

Gavrilova headed off to have a massage after speaking to reporters, but denied she was feeling the strain after spending another two hours and 51 minutes on court.

“If I get my recovery in I should be good!” the 2017 finalist said, laughing. “I always play long matches so I’m kinda used to this.

“She [Niculescu] does not make it easy for you, her forehand slice you never see it. I was just losing concentration, I was probably more mentally tired than physically. She’s very good at the net, that’s her strength.

“She’s a fighter, and I had to respect that. I was probably getting a bit too emotional and frustrated. I felt like I was dictating but I was making too many errors.

“It was very much up and down. At the end I finished on a high. I probably hit a lot of winners. That tiebreaker was pretty good for me, I stepped up my game but I was not overly happy with the way I was going from super good to not great.”

Friday’s quarter-finals line-up also sees Dayana Yastremska face Kristina Kucova, with former world No 1 Garbine Muguruza taking on Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum.