Qualy R1

MEML HKFC International  International 3's  23-29 May 2016

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 TODAY :  daily updates and reports from the HKFC International ...

23-May, Day ONE:
Trio of upsets for Hong Kong
as Qualifying Begins ...

The fifth edition of the HKFC International got under way today with men's and women's qualifying - sixteen matches to determine the players who will contest tomorrow's qualifying finals.

For the most part the seeded players progressed as expected, but there were four upsets, three of them providing unexpected home winners.

In the men's draw the top four seeds Ivan Yuen, Mazen Gamal, Tayyab Aslam and James Huang all progressed comfortably.

The only upset produced the only home winner as Tsz Kwan Lau came from two games down and match ball in the third to beat Malaysia's Addeen Idrakie in the longest match of the day, an entertaining 62 minutes.

"I lost to him 3-2 last month in Malaysia, so to be able to get revenge here in HK today was great," said a relieved Lau, who now meets Egyptian Gamal, winner of last week's Armenian Challenger.

England's Robert Downer was also relieved, as he beat Harley Lam in four games, the HK youngster putting on a great show including several diving recoveries.

"That was tough, but enjoyable," said Downer, "he played very well and his attitude on court was exemplary, especially for his age, "I' pleased I could find enough to squeeze through that one."

In the women's draw there were three upsets, two of them guaranteeing a home qualifier as Lee Ka Yi and Vanessa Chu set up a meeting in the finals.

Lee prevailed in a see-saw five setter against Kiwi Amanda Landers-Murphy while Chu recorded a fine straight-games win over Australian Christine Nunn.

"That was tough but my short attacks were working well and I managed to cut out the mistakes in the fifth," said Lee.

On Chu's part, "We've played twice before and it was one-all so I knew it would be tough," she said. "But I was pleased with how I managed to stay in control and happy with how I played. It should be a good match tomorrow, I'll just try to put the crowd and the expectation out of my mind."

The other upset result saw Egyptian teenager Hania El Hammamy - last week's Jersey finalist - come from a game down to beat Belgium's Nele Gilis.

"I knew it would be a tough and close match," said Hania, "she's very skilful and very fit so I had to take it seriously and keep up the pace. I'm happy I was able to do that today."

She'll meet second seed Salma Hany for a place in the main draw.

"We've played in national competitions of course, although I injured myself in a few of those matches, but this will be our first meeting on the Tour," said Salma who was taken close in the first two games before easing through the first against Ho Tze-Lok.

In the only all-HK match of the day top seed Liu Tsz-Ling eased through in 17 minutes and now meets New Zealand's Megan Craig.

Third seed Misaki Kobayashi was first on court today and finished the quickest, in just 16 minutes, but the third seed faces a tough challenge tomorrow in Malaysia's Low wee Wern, the former world #5 who is returning to action after injury.

Low beat Tong Tsz-Wing in straight games, but had to fight back from 1-7 and game ball down in the second to do that.

"It's great to be back competing again," said Low, "and fighting back to take that second was important for me. Tomorrow will be the first time I've played matches two days in a row for over a year!"

Kobayashi was looking forward to playing Low again:

"I was nervous at the start, but that's the first time I've ever won a match at this club," she said, "so I'm happy with that.

"When I saw that Wee Wern was in qualifying I was glad to see her back and just knew I'd get to play her again, we played a lot in juniors but never since then."

Match Reports on the Blog, by Azhar Rafee

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