Néih hóu! The Squashstars crew will be painting Hong Kong city red with our debut coverage for the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open 2011 (boy, that’s a mouthful!), from the quarter finals onwards. We are elated at the thought of being able to be part of a tournament that has widely sung accolades by players and sponsors alike.
The WISPA Tour has seen some astounding action unfold throughout the year as the girls keep adding new elements to their game and improving their fitness levels. Many seeds have been overthrown in the last few tournaments, showcasing the growing talent among the juniors and reminding the seeds that no one is to be taken lightly. Every match is a challenge on its own.
The qualifying is complete in Hong Kong and we have some new faces making the main draw, adding flavour to the tournament. In the top half of the draw, most seeds are pitted against qualifiers with the exception of Donna v Line, Annie v Gaby, and Rachael playing good friend Latasha. In the lower half of the draw, there are many young and upcoming talents but we predict that all seeds would make it through to the next round without much trouble.
Matches are bound to get more intense in Round 2. Among the potentially interesting games could be the match up between Rachael Grinham and Jaclyn Hawkes, who have not played each other since the Texas Open 2009 where Rach won 3-2 in a close battle. Annie Au and Joelle King have a 1-1 head-to-head so this match could go either way but Annie may be better equipped here with the support of her homies.
Recently awarded WISPA’s Most Improved Player, Raneem El Weleily may have the upper hand in her match against veteran Madeline Perry with a 2-2 head-to-head and having won their last two encounters. Camille Serme has been on the lower swing of things in recent months and could be playing against either Englishwomen – fast improving Emma Beddoes or Sarah Kippax.
Nicol David is expected to meet Laura Massaro in the quarters to possibly avenge her two defeats this year against the newly crowned WISPA Player of The Year. Laura won their last meeting at the Singapore Masters and is currently on a high after winning the US Open and rising up the rankings to No. 4. Having won her 6th World Open title just last week, Nicol is indeed at the top of the world, making this match one not to be missed!
If seedings prevail, Rachael could be meeting hard-hitter Joelle or fellow lobber Annie in the quarters. Kasey Brown v Raneem El Weleily is on the cards in a similar match up from the recently concluded World Open where Kasey won narrowly over the young Egyptian. An in-form Jenny Duncalf should have no problem moving on to the semis to face Emma/Sarah or Camille in the round of eight.
Matches move to the glass court at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza from the semis, providing an amazing backdrop against the skyline of Hong Kong. Nicol is projected to make it through the semis to challenge for her 7th consecutive title in Hong Kong, one of her favourite tournaments on the tour. While Jenny has an impressive win-loss ratio over Raneem and Kasey, both players have been improving tremendously with Raneem having won their last encounter at the Carol Weymuller Open.
A similar line up to last year’s Hong Kong Open final is expected with Nicol v Jenny but there is room for potential upsets as has been the trend over the past months.
We’re looking forward to catch all the live action in Hong Kong and to share the excitement with you on our live blog. Stay tuned!