Local hero reaches second round in Hong Kong
By NATHAN CLARKE in Hong Kong
The 22-year-old Tsz Fung Yip became the first local player in more than 15 years to reach the second round of the Men’s Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, PSA World Series tournament, after upsetting the odds to defeat Englishman Tom Richards in a gripping first round encounter today (Dec 2).
The World No.59 put in the performance of his career as he controlled the court against Richards, the current No.23 who previously ranked as high as No.12, dominating proceedings throughout a thrilling five-game encounter that saw him become the first local player to reach the second round since Faheem Khan in 1998.
Yip, who earned his place in the main draw after defeating Mahesh Mangaonkar in the final round of qualification, could easily have taken the match in straight-games but saw nerves get the better of him as he squandered commanding leads in the second and fourth games – including wasting three match balls in the fourth. But he managed to regain his composure in the fifth to seal the biggest win of his career 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 10-12, 11-9.
“Of course I am very happy to win today as it wasn’t something I expected to happen,” said Yip.
“To win a match in a big tournament like thais against such a good player is a huge win for me – iIt’s a great day and I can’t wait to play in the second round now.
“I had match ball at 10-7 in the fourth and I got very nervous. I wanted to win as fast as possible and I got too excited. I needed to go back to the game plan in the fifth and it was very tough to refocus but I tried to play it one shot at a time and thankfully it worked out for me.”
Yip will now face Tarek Momen in the second round after the Egyptian saw off English qualifier Declan James while Hong Kong national champion Leo Au’s competition came to a close despite impressing in defeat as he fell to a 3-1 loss to World Champion Gregory Gaultier on a day that saw all other home hopes crash out of the PSA World Series tournament.
In the women’s draw all three local representatives were halted out at the first hurdle, with World No.10 Annie Au the biggest casualty as she fell to a disappointing 3-1 defeat to New Zealand’s Joelle King, the former World No.4.
King was composed and controlled throughout the encounter as she executed a perfect game plan, preventing the dextrous Au from using her range of drop shots and lobs, hitting with power and precision to record a 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 and move into the second round to face Indian Joshna Chinappa.
“When you play Annie here you always have to play the crowd as well and that’s tough,” said King.
“She’s so dangerous, especially on this court, but I think my game plan worked really well. I managed to keep the ball away from her weapons and I got off pretty unscathed in the end so I’m happy with that, I think it was a solid performance, and I’m feeling fresh for tomorrow and looking forward to the second round.
“I had the injury and missed a lot of time on tour but that’s all put to bed now. I’m trying to get back to where I was, if not better, and I feel like I’m on the way top doing that and I feel like it’s all starting to come together.”
Former World No.1 Rachael Grinham defeated another local player, Ho Tze-Lok, while defending champion Nicol David began her bid to win a incredible 10th consecutive Hong Kong Open title with a straight forward victory over wildcard Liu Tsz-Ling.
David, who dropped to a ten year low of World No.3 in the December rankings, was in sublime form to see off the spirited challenger in just 35 minutes and will now line up with national compatriot Delia Arnold (right) for a place in the quarter-finals.
“I have so many memories here in Hong Kong from winning my first World Championship title here to when I played my first junior event when I was 11 so I always get a good buzz being here,” said David.
“I always want to bring my best game to the front when I’m here and I enjoyed the match today, there was a good buzz from the crowd and I felt like I played well. She upped her game in the third but I managed to stick to my game plan and get off in three in the end.
“I’m enjoying playing at the moment and I’m trying to work on my performances. If I feel good and play well then results will come. I’m happy to be in the second round and I’m looking forward to another good game tomorrow.”
2015 Men’s Hong Kong Open, PSA World Series.
Results – First Round (Bottom Half):
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt [WC] Leo Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-3, 5-11, 11-6, 11-7 (53m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 13-15, 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 (60m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Rex Hedrick (AUS) 3-0: 11-2, 11-5, 11-2 (34m)
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Olli Tuominen (FIN) 3-0: 11-9, 11-9, 11-3 (34m)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-1: 12-10, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6 (52m)
[Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-2: 11-6, 9-11, 11-1, 10-12, 11-9 (63m)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Mazen Hesham (EGY) 3-1: 11-9, 11-3, 10-12, 11-8 (49m)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) bt Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0: 11-4, 11-4, 11-9 (38m)
Draw – Second Round:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Omar Mosaad (EGY) v [Q] Lucas Serme (FRA)
Chris Simpson (ENG) v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v James Willstrop (ENG)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Nick Matthew (ENG)
2015 Women’s Hong Kong Open, PSA World Series:
Results – First Round (Bottom Half)
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt Tesni Evans (WAL) 3-0: 11-9, 13-11, 11-6 (38m)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Habiba Mohamed (EGY) 3-0: 11-9, 11-2, 11-2 (19m)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt [Q] Ho Tze-Lok (HKG) 3-0: 11-9, 11-8, 11-7 (28m)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL) 3-1: 11-6, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3 (27m)
Joelle King (NZL) bt  Annie Au (HKG) 3-1: 11-6, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6 (43m)
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) bt [Q] Megan Craig (NZL) 3-0: 11-8, 11-9, 11-6 (26m)
 Delia Arnold (MAS) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 3-2: 3-11, 11-6, 4-11, 11-8, 12-10 (70m)
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [WC] Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) 3-0: 11-3, 11-7, 16-14 (35m)
Draw – Second Round:
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v  Low Wee Wern (MAS)
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) v  Emily Whitlock (ENG)
 Heba El Torky (EGY) v  Laura Massaro (ENG)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v  Dipika Pallikal (IND)
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
Joelle King (NZL) v  Joshna Chinappa (IND)
 Delia Arnold (MAS) v  Nicol David (MAS)
Picture courtesy of Hong Kong Open