Memories keep rushing back in as I arrive in this buzzing city. A familiar place for the last 15 years—since I played the Hong Kong Junior Open up to my first World Open title and now, four Hong Kong Open titles later. There’s always something new to discover in this city. Every player makes it a point to play this tournament and the draw this year looked like one at the World Open, having all the top players participating in this event. The players do also rave about the breakfast buffet at our accommodation—Renaissance Harbour View Hotel. We love our perks!
Played on the 3-sided glass wall court with Sarah Kippax at the Hong Kong Squash Centre. It was not the easiest court to play on if it’s your first time and Sarah was finding it difficult to begin with on that court. I had more hits there in previous years and took that advantage. We got the rallies working in the 2nd and 3rd games but a lot of it went my way and I won the match 3-0.
Meeting Rebecca Chiu for the third year in a row in this tournament at her home court—it always becomes an interesting battle. The first game went point-for-point til 7-7 and I capitalised on the momentum to take the game. It carried on through the 2nd game but when the 3rd game came along, Rebecca started playing some amazing winners that came off and she won that game. Another close game in the 4th and at 9-9, she made her first error after a while to give me match ball and a chance to take the match 3-1.
Laura Massaro was in her element in the 1st game—coming out with attacking shots everywhere and without a single error. She seemed more comfortable while I was finding my footing on court. After being a game down, I made it a point to keep her from attacking the way she did by imposing my game on her instead. My focus and movement came together and from that game onwards, I kept that mode til I won the match.
We moved to the Plaza Hollywood and played on the 4-sided glass wall court for the semis. It’s always exciting playing Rachael Grinham in Hong Kong as we’ve had big matches here. She kept her own flow of the game in the beginning of both the 1st and 2nd games but the intensity was still very high with hardly any errors. I too worked the court well and kept with her right through. Up til the end of each of those games, I took it on further and she made some errors that gave me a 2-0 lead. In the 3rd game, I was keeping it more consistent and she made more mistakes by going for some attacking shots that hit the tin. I got a good lead and managed to win 3-0.
Jenny Duncalf again in another final and I knew she was going to give it her all here. Both of us played very clinical squash with consistent depth and drives, and taking the opportunities that arose. There were some rallies that I thought would not have stopped because neither of us wanted to let up. I won the 1st game after getting a roll of points from 5-5. Somehow afterwards, I found myself having to fight back being down in the 2nd and 3rd, and it was hard work to keep it going. She started to make a couple of errors and I won both games at 12-10 to win in 3 games.
A great week in Hong Kong and snuck in a bit of food and shopping to fulfill the true Hong Kong experience. Thanks for keeping up on the squash and for your support. Be ready for an exciting World Open in Sharm El Sheikh soon!