A top-ranking squash official has called on Chinese players to believe in themselves more, after Max Lee and Joey Chan bowed out of the opening-round of the Hong Kong Open on Tuesday.
Lee, who is ranked 32nd in the world, took the first game against eighth seed Tarek Momen, before the Egyptian fought back to win 6-11, 11-8, 14-12, 11-4. Meanwhile, Chan (pictured above in black) gave world number seven Jenny Duncalf a brief scare, before eventually wilting 11-9, 12-10, 6-11, 11-8 in 45 minutes.
Their performances caught the eye of David Mui Ying-yuen, the chairman of Hong Kong Squash, who reckons the Chinese duo have the potential to beat the top seeds; provided they start to believe in their own ability.
“They played great squash today against top-ranked players and were very close to pulling off upsets. They just need a bit more confidence so they can beat the top players,” Mui told the South China Morning Post.
Lee had to progress through the qualifiers to earn a spot in the first-round at the Hong Kong Squash Centre but despite seeing his challenge end abruptly, the Buler Challenge Cup champion believes he can learn a lot from Momen’s composure.
“The third game was crucial as I was leading 9-5, but [he] was then very consistent and did not commit any mistakes before coming back to take the game. I have a lot to learn from him,” said the 25-year-old.
Lee’s honestly was also reflected by Chan, who was left to rue employing a cautious approach at the end of the first and second games.
“I really had chances to beat Duncalf today, but lacked the confidence when it came to the big points to finish her off,” admitted the 2012 Hong Kong Open quarter-finalist.
“[But] I am getting better and better in the second half of the year. I hope to return to the top 16 [in the world rankings] next year for a more favourable draw in the tour and a better seeding at the 2014 Asian Games.”
Source: South China Morning Post; Picture by Steve Cubbins (SquashSite)