“Tang/Tse” pair comes from behind to beat second seeds Reaching Hong Kong Open semi-finals again after seven years
VICTOR Hong Kong Open had all its quarter-finals action on Friday with mixed doubles pair Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet taking on second seeds, Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue of France. After finishing the first two rounds both in three games, the home favourites repeated the same feat by coming from behind to beat the opponents, reaching their first semi-finals in the home tournament since 2016.
Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet
The French combination, who ranked seventh in the world, reached the China Open final in Changzhou over the weekend before making their debut in Hong Kong. Coming to the city with such an impressive form, they won the first two rounds in straight games against Indonesia and England pairs. Tang and Tse, however, are ranked only 23rd in the world and needed three games in each of the first two rounds to overcome their opponents, posting a big question mark on their physical strength in their quarter-final clash. The two pairs have met three times before with Tang and Tse winning their encounter at the 2018 World Championships while the French pair prevailed over the last two meetings, including 2022 Indonesia Masters and this year’s Singapore Open.
The home favourites remain a strong attraction with over 5,000 fans attending the match. With the home ground advantage, Tang/Tse once took a four-point lead in the opening stages but the opponents chased hard especially after the interval. After levelling the score three times, the French combination reached the game point first at 20-18 before taking it 21-19. But the second set was a different story as the home pair was in dominance, especially in returning serves. They took an early lead 8-1 and never looked back before winning the comfortable game 21-9, bringing the match into the deciding third game.
In the tie breaker, the two pairs exchanged an early lead until 7-all when Tang and Tse upped the tempo and pulled away to lead 13-7 before claiming the game 21-11 for the victory. This will be the second time they reached the Hong Kong Open semi-finals since the pair last did it in 2016. They will now take on another seeded pair, fourth seeds Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Lai of Malaysia, in the next round for a spot in the final.
Having lost the first game over the last three matches, the home combination said they had suffered a slow start and coupled with the two defeats by their French opponents, they were quite tense in the beginning of the match until they were able to free themselves from the pressure.
“It was very important that we were able to release our burden and played without pressure,” Tang said. “Because of our two defeats by the same French pair before, we considered ourselves the underdog in the match, giving us more power to challenge the opponents. Even if we lost the first game, we were not too concerned but tried to play a better game to win.”
Tse said she was not as tired as the first two matches as she made less run but took more rest before the match. Both players remain upbeat of their chances in the semi-finals as it will be the first time they reach the same stage of the Hong Kong Open since 2016. “The victory brings back all the good memories and passion from before, providing us additional power to start in the semi-finals which we want to achieve a better result.”