Men’s top seed Mohamed ElSherbini had to come from two games and 4-6 down to deny Henry Leung, and Sarah-Jane Perry was twice behind before overcoming Melissa Alves, but elsewhere it was the top seeds all the way.
Top seeded Englishwomen Gina Kennedy and Sarah-Jane Perry progressed to the semi-finals in contrasting fashion, Kennedy seeing off home favourite Tomato Ho in three games in just under half an hour, while Perry twice fell a game behind to Melissa Alves before maintaining a lead throughout the decider.
Second seed Perry faces a rematch of her Singapore quarter-final with Siva Subramanian after the Malaysian got the better of third seeded Sabrina Sobhy in four games. Subramaniam raced into a big early lead and took the first two games before the American fought back to take the third, but the Malaysian clawed back an early deficit in the fourth and stayed ahead to seal the win.
“I feel really good right now,” said Siva. “I only played Sabrina once in college, but she has been improving and playing really well so I’m just really happy. In the fourth, I told myself that I had to get it back together, because if it went to a fifth it would be really tough for me mentally. I just told myself to play it point by point, to increase the pace a bit and reset and refocus, and I’m pleased with how I did that.”
Kennedy’s opponent will be World Junior Champion Amina Orfi in what should be a fast and furious encounter. The 16-year-old Egyptian was tested by unseeded Malaysian Rachel Arnold though, losing a close first game and sneaking the third in extra points but dominating the second and fourth games to advance.
The men’s semis will be contested by the top four seeds, but for the second day in a row top seed Mohamed ElSherbini needed all five games to seal his progression. Hong Kong’s Henry Leung was on the verge of a mammoth upset as he took the opening two games with the Egyptian struggling to find any sort of rhythm.
Leung was on top in the early stages of the third too, leading 6-4 and thinking he had a stroke which turned out to be a no let. That proved to be the turning point as ElSherbini put aside his frustrations and started playing as he can. Henry didn’t get much of a sniff after that.
“I was being very passive in the first two games and I’m still a little bit jet lagged at the moment, ElSherbini said. “The crowd was with him, but I kind of liked that, got annoyed and used it to my advantage so it’s a good experience. I’m lucky to be alive and to fight another day.”
ElSherbini now faces fourth seeded Spaniard Iker Pajares, who recovered from a game down to beat Nathan Lake. Also recovering from losing the opening game was third seed Eain Yow Ng, who was impressive in his last three games against Gregoire Marche.
The final match saw the packed crowd willing Alex Lau on to yet more heroics, but second seeded Aly Abou Eleinen was just too steady, as well as being able to pick up many of Alex’s deceptive shots that earlier opponents had struggled with. The Egyptian held a lead throughout the first, fought back from 4-6 in the second and got a quick start to the third which quietened the crowd, winning in 36 minutes.
Semi-finals start at 17.00 on Friday.
It’s quarter-final day at HKFC, with eight cracking matches on two all-Glass courts from 17.00.
There’s home interest in three of the matches after stunning upsets from Henry Leung and Alex Lau last night, with Tomato Ho up against top seed Gina Kennedy in the women’s draw. The HK men have a tough task too as Henry and Alex take on the Egyptian top seeds Mohamed ElSherbini and Aly Abou Eleinen.
There isn’t much history to go on for these matches – two stand at 2-0 and three are first meetings.
You can watch both courts live, follow on Live Scoring and our Social Feeds, and we’ll have reports and reaction right here.