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02-Dec, Day FOUR:  Round One concludes

Yip makes history for Hong Kong

Hong Kong will have a player in the second round for the first time since 1998 - and a local Chinese for the first time ever - after 22-year-old qualifier Yip Tsz Fung outlasted England's Tom Richards in a thrilling five-setter.

Yip led 1-0 and 2-1, and could have one 3-0 as he was leading 5-1 and 9-6 in the second. He regrouped and had four match balls in the fourth before Richards levelled with six points in a row.

Only one match ball was needed in the fifth though as Yip clinched the win to the delight of the packed court nine crowd.

"I was very nervous," admitted Yip, "I wasn't thinking about winning or losing but when I lost those match balls I thought I might have lost the chance. There's no secret to how I won though, it was just hit and run, and I'm delighted it paid off!"

HK head coach Tony Choi was delighted too: "Yip played superbly today, he was more focused and patient than I've ever seen him, and we're all very proud of him."

Yip now meets Egyptian seventh seed Tarek Momen, who beat qualifier Declan James in four tough games.

Hong Kong's other hope, wildcard Leo Au, fell in four games to Gregory Gaultier, but the new world champion and world #1 was made to work hard for his win.

"That was very fast," said the Frenchman, "he made we work hard, and I had to dig deep to win, that's a lot of energy for a first round!"

Gaultier now meets James Willstrop in a repeat of their World Champs semi-final after the Englishman came from a game down to beat Ryan Cuskelly - himself a surprise world series semi-fnalist in Qatar.

Second seed Nick Matthew got past Marwan Elshorbagy in three games, and now meets another Egyptian opponent after qualifier Zahed Mohamed beat compatriot Mazen Hesham in an up and down match which saw Hesham recover from 0-7 and 6-10 in the third to extend the match before falling short in another comeback attempt in the fourth.

"I'm so happy today," said Zahed, "he beat me three times in a row and I didn't want it to be four, and also needed to win to help boost my ranking which dropped this month."

Second seed Matthew was pleased with his performance: "I played really well for two games, and if he'd managed to take the third it would have been difficult so I'm happy to get off in three."

The last sixteen was rounded out by Simon Rosner and Cameron Pilley, who both recorded straight-games wins to finish off the round.

King ends Au hopes as David begins defence

New Zealand's Joelle King ended hops of Hong Kong progress in the womens' draw as she beat home favourite and seventh seed Annie Au in four games.

"It's always difficult playing Annie in HK, and especially on this court," said King. "I started well bet she came back into it to take the third, so it was good to get a lead in the fourth."

King now meets Joshna Chinappa, one of two Indians to progress, Chinappa beating qualifier Megan Craig while Dipika Pallikal took advantage of a less than fully fit Habiba Mohamed. Pallikal meets France's Camille Serme, the third seed who beat Tesni Evans in three close games.

Former champion Rachael Grinham (back in 2002), competing in her fourteenth consecutive Hong Kong Open, beat local qualifier Ho Tze Lok, who was playing in the first round after losing out in the qualifying rounds in the last seven events.

The Australian veteran now meets familiar opposition in the form of Omneya Abdel Kawy -herself a former finalist competing in her 13th HK Open - , after the Egyptian got past qualifier Amanda Landers-Murphy in four games.

A Malaysian quarter-finalist is guaranteed after defending champion Nicol David beat local wildcard Liu Tsz Ling in three games - although David had to save eight game balls in the third - to notch up her 51st straight Hong Kong win, and Delia Arnold squeezed past Nicolette Fernandes 12-10 in the fifth after seeing her first four match balls go begging.

"I wasn't feeling at my best today, and Nicolette was playing well," admitted Delia, "so in the end I just had to try to make it a case of who could last the longest!"

David was naturally pleased to be back in Hong Kong, where she has won for the last ten years:

"I felt quite comfortable being back on this court at the start, but at the end Liu was really finding her range, going for everything and hitting some good winners, so in the end I was relieved to get through in three!"


Round One, Women's bottom half:  Draws & Results

[3] Camille Serme (Fra) 3-0 Tesni Evans (Wal)
           11-9, 13-11, 11-6 (38m)
Dipika Pallikal (Ind) 3-0 Habiba Mohamed (Egy)
           11-9, 11-2, 11-2 (19m)

Rachael Grinham (Aus) 3-0 [Q] Ho Tze Lok (Hkg)
           11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (28m)
[5] Omneya Abdel Kawy (Egy) 3-1 [Q] Amanda L-Murphy (Nzl)
          11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (26m)

Joelle King (Nzl) 3-1 [7] Annie Au (Hkg)
                11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 11-6 (43m)
Joshana Chinappa (Ind) 3-0 [Q] Megan Craig (Nzl)
                11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (25m)

Delia Arnold (Mas) 3-2 Nicolette Fernandes (Guy)
                 3-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10 (69m)
[2] Nicol David (Mas) 3-0 Liu Tsz Ling (Hkg)
                11-3, 11-6, 16-14 (35m)

Round One, Men's bottom half:   Draws & Results

[7] Tarek Momen
(Egy) 3-1 [Q] Declan James (Eng)
            12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 (52m)
[Q] Yip Tsz Fung (Hkg) 3-2 Tom Richards (Eng)
             11-9, 9-11, 11-1, 10-12, 11-9 (63m)

[2] Nick Matthew (Eng) 3-0 Marwan Elshorbagy (Egy)
              11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (38m)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (Egy) 3-1 Mazen Hesham (Egy)
              11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 11-8 (49m)

[3] Gregory Gaultier (Fra) 3-1 [wc] Leo Au (Hkg)
                11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 (53m)
James Willstrop (Eng) 3-1 Ryan Cuskelly (Aus)
                13-15, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (60m)

Cameron Pilley (Aus) 3-0 [Q] Rex Hedrick (Aus)
                11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (34m)
[5] Simon Rosner (Ger) 3-0 [Q] Olli Tuominen (Fin)
                11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)

What they Said

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Draws & Results

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What they Said
"I had a big lead in the first but she came back, and the second was close all the way she got a game ball first, but I managed to find my marks better at the end of those two games. There were a few funny decisions in the third, but they evened out!"

"I was happy top get on court at last, I've been here for five days and my brother has played three matches already, and very happy to get through to the next round."

Camille Serme
"I find it a bit unsettling to play all these youngsters, you just don't know how they're going to play and what to expect, at least with someone in the top sixteen I know what's going to happen, I don't think my body is ready for all that uncertainty!

"I was 5-0 down in the first, I was a bit lucky to take that one and that probably didn't help her confidence, but I could never manage to get more than a couple of points ahead so I'm pleased to be able to take that in three."

Rachael Grinham
"I wish all my matches were that quick! I knew she was injured in Qatar, but it's been a month so I didn't know what to expect but she's still not right.

"In the first I was thinking too much about where to put the ball to trouble her rather than just playing my game, but in the second and third I managed to do that.

"Happy to get through and looking for a good match against Camille, she's a great champion and I got chopped last time in the British, so hopefully I can do better tomorrow!"

Dipika Pallikal

"From the second game she played very well, she was attacking everything and I was a bit flat. It was close, but she took the game.

That carried on as she was leading in the third, so I had to change my game, get her to the back and take the T away from her before playing my shots. That was important, it worked for me and gave me confidence going into the fourth.

"It's Rachael next, we've played so many times but not so much recently, it should be interesting!"

Omneya Abdel Kawy

"Every first match it's hard to get into the mood, and here you have to get used to the colours and the movement on the court too.

"He played really well today, and I played quite well too, overall I'm happy despite a few lapses but it was a good performance , not an easy match so hopefully that will set me up for the next round."

Tarek Momen
"I'm very happy today, we played each other a lot and he won the last three, I really didn't want it to be four in a row! I was pleased to break into the top 30 last month but now my ranking dropped to 34, so that was another reason I wanted to win, I want to push into the top twenty so getting as far as I can in this tournament will help.

"At 10-6 in the third I started to think about winning the match and he came back, and it almost happened again in the fourth."

Zahed Mohamed
"I played really well for two games, it was going to be hard to keep that level up so the third was always going to be tougher. If he'd managed to take the third it could have become trick so I'm relieved to finish it in three.

"This court is a hard one to get used to, but you just have to get used to it. I made the final in 204, and then it took me another ten years to reach the semis and get off it - I thought I was doomed to play on it because when I did reach the harbour two years ago it was rained off and we were back on here, so this year I hope I can get through to play on the glass in the Sports Centre!"

Nick Matthew
"It's always tough to play Annie in Hong Kong, especially on this court which she's so used to.

"I'm very happy with how I played, I started well and even in the third I had a lead but let her back into it and the crowd started to get involved, so I was happy to get a lead in the fourth which settled things down again.

"Joshna next, she's in a good run of form so I need to be as ready as I can be for that one ..."

Joelle King
"I didn't feel at my best today, my movement wasn't great and my shots weren't going in and I stated to feel tense and nervous.

"She was playing really well, and in the end I had to just keep it going and see who could last longer.

"I had a great opportunity on my first match ball but tinned it, then she came back so I was very relieved to finally win it!"

Delia Arnold
"That was a very fast game, he's in a good run of form with some great wins behind him and he really made me work hard and I had to dig in to win that. I knew I had to be right onto it from the start but he came back well and that was a lot of energy for a first round.

"The crowd was very good, they were mainly behind him of course, but there were a lot of French too and they were very generous and knowledgeable.

"We're all tired at the end of a long season but everyone wants to finish on a high, so let's see how it goes ..."

Gregory Gaultier
"It was a very fast match, I struggled to find my rhythm in the first two but started to feel more comfortable in the third.

"Looking forward to tomorrow's match now, even though I have to move to the upstairs court ..."

Simon Rosner
"It was a very high quality first game, really tough, but it's hard to keep up that level of play for five games.

"After that there were a few more opportunities as the court opened up, and the ball went quite dead which suited me more.

"We're both in good form so that was a tough first round match, I'm pleased to get through that."

James Willstrop

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