MEML HKFC International  International 3's  23-29 May 2016

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26-May, Day FOUR:
Quarter Finals 

Ivan does it again as
Au siblings make the semis

Malaysian qualifier Ivan Yuen followed up yesterday's win over the top seed and defending champion with another marathon victory to reach the semi-finals, while Hong Kong's Annie and Leo Au kept home interest alive in both draws as they both survived five-game encounters.

Defending champion Annie opened proceedings in the women's draw and quickly went two games up against Jenny Duncalf, but the Englishwoman upped the pace of the game and fought back to force a decider which went point for point up to 9-all. Annie had a match ball at 10-9 but tinned it, then at 11-10 put in a dropshot which the referee decided Duncalf couldn't reach.

"That was another really tough match," said Annie. "I started well but Jenny changed her game, attacked more and came back well. In the fifth it was more about fighting to stay in it rather than hitting shots, I feel happy and a little lucky to reach the semis."

She'll play Donna Urquhart who created a minor upset in beating fourth-seeded Malaysian Delia Arnold. The Australian started off at great pace taking the first two games with something to spare. Arnold made the third tough and saved a match ball before reducing the deficit 13-11, but Urquhart was on top again in the fourth to close out the win.

"I started really well," said Donna, "stuck to my game plan and I felt in control even in the third. I tried a few different things and made some bad choices, so I knew that in the fourth I had to come out firing and go back to the plan that had been working. I played here two years ago and made the quarters, so it's good to go further, and always nice to exceed your seeding."

Top seed Joelle King beat India's Dipika Pallikal in straight games, but was never in complete control as the sixth seed made it tough for the Kiwi.

"It's a good performance to beat a qualify player like Dipika in three," said Joelle, "last time we played I lost a really tough five-setter so I'm more than happy with that. It was a bit like yesterday, I managed to stay solid at the end of each game and shut down her attacking opportunities. That's two good days, but tomorrow is another day ..."

King will meet more indian opposition after third seed Joshna Chinappa came through a five-setter against Rachael Grinham. Chinappa needed six game balls to win the first, but after losing the second Grinham took the next two to force a decider. The momentum swung one final time as Chinappa pulled clear in the fifth, taking it 11/4.

"She played really well," said Joshna, "there wasn't much I could do in the third and fourth, in the fifth I jsut needed to keep the ball deeper for longer - I'm just glad I managed to pull through."

Yuen finished off the men's matches with a second successive five game upset as he stopped Australia's Rex Hedrick from completing a second successive comeback from two-nil down.

The young Malaysian was on fire in the first two games, but Hedrick "just kept on grinding me down" in the third and fourth. Those four games took over 70 minutes but Yuen quickly established a good lead in the fifth and held onto it to reach probably his biggest semi-final.

"I started well, but I began to feel tired in the third and he just kept grinding away," said Ivan. "In the fifth I just had to give what I had and luckily got off to a good start and built on it from there. It's been a great tournament for me so far, I hope I can keep going."

He'll face fifth seeded Kiwi Paul Coll, who beat Adrian Waller, the fourth seed who plays above Coll in the Leicester PSL team in the UK, in four games. Coll took the first with something to spare and held off Waller's comeback in the second. After the Englishman had pulled a game back Coll was quickly back into his stride in the fourth, closing out the match in just over the hour mark.

"It's the first time I played Adrian, but I knew what to expect having seen him play a few times," said a delighted Coll. It's always tricky playing left-handers, and his reach is incredible, but sometimes you can use that to your advantage."
Leo Au, seeded two like his younger sister Annie, also came through a five game battle, recovering from 1-2 down to deny Egypt's Mohamed Reda. "I had a good chance to win that at 9-8 in the fourth," said Reda, "but I had to win it in four as I pulled something in that game and knew I couldn't win a fifth."

Leo took the final three points of the fourth and eased through the fifth to join Annie in the semis, but he too was suffering: "I still have some problems with my shoulder and was struggling to get too much power on my shots," he said. "I just had to dig in, and fortunately he faded at the end. I just hope I can play better tomorrow."

Leo will face third seed Nafiizwan Adnan for a place in the final. The Malaysian put in an impressive performance in beating Egyptian qualifier Mazen Gamal in straight games, including an 11-0 'bagel' in the second.

"I was very positive today," he said, "I was clear in what I needed to do and played some very good shots - sometimes they go in and today all of mine were working!"

The semi-finals start at 18.00 tomorrow, with the 10th Anniversary HKFC 3's kicking off half an hour later.

Dallas Reports - wins for Au, Au and Chinappa

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