Adnan and King claim HKFC crowns
Two new champions were crowned today as the fifth edition of the HKFC International came to a close with two hard-fought finals in front of a packed, involved and appreciative crowd at Hong Kong Football Club.
The women’s final – the third, as the equal-prize-money event was added after two years of men-only events – pitted top-seeded New Zealander Joelle King against Joshna Chinappa, the third seed from India.
Chinappa had survived two five-game encounters in the previous rounds, while King had had a slightly easier passage to the final. Neither showed any signs of fatigue as they pair played out four hotly contested games with little to choose at any point in the match.
The second was a carbon copy, King holding a slender advantage early on, Chinappa levelling at 7-all and leading 9-7 but King once again – as she has all week – got the better of the endgame, this time taking four points in a row to double her lead.
The third went point for point to 8-all but this time it was Chinappa who finished better, forcing two strokes out of the last three points to reduce the arrears.
The fourth was again point for point, to 8-all. King edged ahead, moved to match ball with a crisp volley drop, and the title was hers as Chinappa scuffed her service return.
“Joshna had come through a couple of tough matches but she didn’t back down at all. I went two nil up but she just kept coming back at me and didn’t let go so I’m just glad I was able to finish it off in four!
“Really happy to come here and win this tournament, there’s always a lot of pressure when you’re top seed.
“It’s been a good week here in Hong Kong, looking forward to defending my title next year.”
After a series of upsets in the men’s draw the final pitted third-seeded Malaysian Nafiizwan Adnan against another New Zealander, fifth-seeded Paul Coll, who had come back from match ball down in the third game in his semi-final. Adnan, like King, had enjoyed a less troubled route to the final having ended home interest by beating Leo Au in straight games in his previous match.
Coll made the better start, leading 4-1 in the opening game, but Adnan quickly recovered to lead 7-4, taking the game 11-6 after 13 minutes of play. There was little between them in the second, only a point in it until 7-all with plenty of long, tactical rallies. From 8-all though Coll was outmanoeuvred three times, resulting in three strokes to Adnan and a two-nil advantage.
The Malaysian took that momentum into the third to take a 5-2 lead, and despite Coll’s strenuous efforts including a few slips, trips and dives, he couldn’t quite close the gap.
A trio of backhand volley crosscourt nick winners – similar to those of Ivan Yuen in yesterday’s semi – did nothing to harm Adnan’s cause, and he reached 10-8 match ball on a stroke then claimed the title as Coll tinned in the final rally.
“Really happy to win this tournament, it’s my biggest yet and a great way to finish the season. Thanks to Kenny Fu, who was there in my corner all week.
“It’s been a great event, really well organised and the facilities at the club are fantastic.
“I hope I can take this and come back stronger next season.”