VICTOR Hong Kong Open continued its second day with first round matches in action at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Two former men’s singles champions, Angus Ng Ka Long and Lee Cheuk Yiu, both of Hong Kong, China, started respectively in the round of 32. Lee made no mistake with his straight game win over Weng Hong Yang of China with a full house at the Hung Hom venue while Ng lost to Jonatan Christine of Indonesia, the fifth seed, after taking the first game but losing the two next. Elsewhere, another home player, 19-year-old Jason won his match against an Israelis in his Hong Kong Open debut while Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet reached the mixed doubles second round after beating their fellow teammates.
Lee Cheuk Yiu
Ng was the 2016 champion while Lee claimed the title after defeating Anthony Ginting three years later. In June, Lee reached the Thailand Open final, only his second final after winning the 2019 home tournament. With the home ground advantage, Lee received a strong support from the fans when entering the courts. Against world ranked 19th Weng, Lee took six successive points in the early stages and added to his tally with strong smashes one after one. Lee took the first game 21-13 with the cheering of ‘Hong Kong Add Oil’ throughout the venue before winning the second 21-15 win.
Returning to the tournament which had been suspended over the last three years, Lee said he had no pressure of defending his title. “It has been a long time since I won here and I do not feel the pressure as the defending champion,” he said. “After winning in Hong Kong, I haven’t captured another title for four years. I would not think too much about it this time.”
Lee said his results in the first half of the year were acceptable but then a series of off the court issues made him lost and affected his performance. But returning to the home venue made him very excited. Although he was a bit tense in the opening stages of his match, he was able to overcome it and got better and better with the support of the fans.
Ng Ka Long Angus
Ng broke his title drought in March when he won the German Open and reached the semifinals in the Taipei Open three months later. Now ranked 18th in the world, he has met Christie 10 times before the match with each of them winning five times.
He won the first game 21-16 before losing the next 21-17 as the match had to be decided by a third. The Indonesian once built up a lead of five points but Ng fought hard to get back until the score levelled at 16-all. Christie then upped the tempo and sealed the victory with another 21-17 win in the third and will meet Lee in the next round.
In another men’s singles match, Jason sent his opponent Misha Zilberman of Isarel home with a 21-15, 27-25 win, setting up a clash against Rasmus Gemke of Denmark for a place in the last eight.
Tang Chun Man (Left) and Tse Ying Suet
Lee Chun Hei Reginald (Right) and Ng Tsz Yau
In the mixed doubles, two Hong Kong pairs faced each other with Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet, who ranked 23rd in the world, taking on Reginald Lee Chun Hei and Ng Tsz Yau, who are just one place behind their teammates in the world rankings. It was also the first appearance for Lee and Ng in the home tournament since joining forces in 2019.
Although they won the first game 21-18, they could not maintain the momentum in the next two as Tang and Tse responded quickly with two games 21-13, 21-16 to reach the second round. Both pairs were given a big hand by the spectators at the end of their match.
Tang and Tse said it was a difficult match as both pairs knew each other well but they were able to hang in there for the victory. They also felt the support of fans at the home venue and would thank them. “We have looked forward to playing in Hong Kong again for a long time, making us a bit nervous in the match. We know many fans come to support us after finishing their work and it’s their support that makes us continue to play on the courts and fans’ support is also a big encouragement to Hong Kong athletes.”
The pair reached the semifinals at the 2017 Hong Kong Open and winning a medal this time will be their biggest target. A small target is to give their best in each match.