23-May, Day ONE:
Trio of upsets for Hong Kong
as Qualifying Begins ...
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
Kobayashi was looking forward to playing Low again:
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
"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