Repeat HK double still on the cards
The finals are set at Hong Kong Football Club after a semi-finals evening which witnessed no seeding upsets and two home players winning through, setting up the prospect of a repeat of last year’s double home triumph.
The first women’s semi between Nada Abbas and Danielle Letourneau, ranked 34 and 36 in the world, was as close as those numbers would suggest. The first four games were shared with barely a point between them, neither able to establish significant advantage. Only in the fifth did the Egyptian’s more powerful game finally start to pay dividends as Abbas established a winning advantage and duly finished it off.
“Danielle was focused from the start,” said Nada, “she was mixing it up well and I was struggling to know how to cope with it. I’ve played all the other Canadians but never Danielle before!
“I told myself to stay focused and managed to get back into the match. I’m so happy to reach my biggest final to date, I hope I can go one better tomorrow.”
After a strong start from Annie, the Malaysian levelled the match and threatened in the third, but crowd favourite Annie snuffed out that danger and forged ahead in the fourth.
“That was a tough game, we’ve played a few times and it’s always like that. Looking forward to playing another final here.”
The men’s final will also feature a home player after Yip Tsz Fung fended off the challenge of Qatar’s Abdulla Al Tamimi in four games. Yip dominated the first but Tamami levelled with some extravagant play, and after Yip had retaken the lead Tamimi saved four match balls in the fourth before finally succumbing on the fifth.
“I Really had to focus in the fourth,” said Yip. “He came back strongly and I’m happy I could push it over the line. Really happy to make my first final here, since I lost in the semis last year.”
“That was pretty tough despite the scoreline,” said Lobban. “I played well in the first, then he made it very hard in the middle of the second, that was the crucial part of the match and it became easier once I’d got through that.
“Happy to reach my biggest final, I lost a $25k in the states so hopefully I can get through tomorrow.”
The finals start at 15.00 on Saturday.