VICTOR Hong Kong Open continued at the Coliseum in Hung Hom on Saturday with feature match between home pair Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet and Malaysians Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai in the mixed doubles semi-finals. With strong support from a full house crowd, the home pair made no mistake with a straight game victory in 35 minutes to send the fourth seeds home. Tang and Tse now aim to become the first Hong Kong, China doubles champion of the tournament in its 41-year history.
Tang Chun Man/Tse Ying Suet
Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai
The home pair, who is ranked 23rd in the world, lost the first game in all their previous three matches before coming back from behind to win. They first beat compatriots Reginald Lee Chun Hei and Ng Tsz Yau before overcoming sixth seeds Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto and Lisa Ayu Kusumawati in the second round. They then registered another important win over second seeds Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue of France, giving them a strong boost before taking on the world ranked 12th Malaysian couple, who had not dropped a game on their way to reach the semi-finals.
The two pairs met seven times before with Tang and Tse in total dominance with six wins, including the Thailand Open round of 16 tie in January early this year.
Boosted by the presence of the two home players, the Coliseum was packed with a full house 6,500 fans, who chanted “Add Oil, Hong Kong” throughout the match. Tang and Tse got into an early lead before it was levelled at 4-all, but then the home pair pulled away quickly and built a 11-6 lead before the interval. They continued to dominate the match and sealed the victory with a 21-12 win.
The second game was also under their control, leading 5-2 in the early stages before extending it to 11-7 until they won another 21-12 result. After achieving their best result in the Hong Kong Open after they reached the semi-finals in 2016, they will now take on Guo Xin Wa and Wei Ya Xin of China for the precious title.
Tang and Tse last won a silverware in the Korea Masters in November 2019 and also reached the final in the 2021 Indonesia Masters. It will be interesting to see if they can break a 46-month gold medal drought and become the first home players to win a doubles title in the history of 41-year-old Hong Kong Open. Tang and Tse both said the result meant a lot to them. “All local players want to take part in the Hong Kong Open and getting a good result will be even more ideal. If we can win it, it will be one of the best memories of our career,” they said.
Tang added they had met the Malaysian pairs many times before and had a good understanding of the opponents. He was happy they were able to get into the match quickly and took the lead. Tse said she suffered a minor stomach problem before the match and therefore lack the stamina to stay strong. “Fortunately my partner did a good job and covered me well,” she said.
Compare to last year’s performance, Tang said they did a lot to improve their physical condition in 2023 and their form was also getting better and better, gradually building up their confidence. But they would not give themselves any pressure for the Asian Games in Hangzhou later this month, just focusing on next match without thinking too much about the results.