Tang/Tse lose to Chinese combination but still achieve their best result at home tournament

  • 2023-09-17

VICTOR Hong Kong Open came to a conclusion with five finals taking place at a full house Coliseum in Hung Hom on Sunday. Mixed doubles pair Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet took to the stage to feature in their first ever final at the Hong Kong Open. Despite huge support from the fans to the home favourities, Tang and Tse fell short in the final as they lost to Guo Xin Wa and Wei Ya Xin of China in two games. Although they failed to become the first doubles pair from Hong Kong to win the title, they still earned their best ever result in the home tournament.

Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet 

Tang and Tse, who currently ranked 23rd in the world, have won six BWF world tour titles since 2016. Their last champion, however, has to date back to the 2019 Korea Masters. Although they also reached the Indonesia Masters final in 2021, they lost the title to their Thailand opponents.

The two left handers suffered some poor results over the last two years and were finally able to return to the spot light in the home tournament. They won the first three matches at the Coliseum, all coming back from one-game down before winning 2-1. First they beat compatriots Lee Chun Hei/Ng Tsz Yau in the opening round before sending home sixth seeds Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati of Indonesia home. They then upset second seeds Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue of France before another crucial win over Malaysian couple Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Lai in the semi-finals to reach the final and the opportunity to end their 46-month title drought.

Their mainlander opponents was a new partnership and it was a match contested by all left handers. Wei’s original partner was Jiang Zhen Bang and the pair once ranked eighth in the world but she combined with Guo in the Hong Kong event and did well to reach the final.

With support from the home crowd, Tang and Tse took a 4-1 lead in the opening stage which they extended it to 7-3. The mainlanders, however, gradually regained the control with their high pressure game and came back to lead 11-8 before the interval. They easily took the first game 21-13.

The second game was fiercely contested between the two pairs. Both pairs exchanged the lead until 15-all but the home combination lack the momentum to break through as they lost the game 21-19 and the title. But already it was their best result in the Hong Kong Open since they joined forces in 2016.

Guo Xin Wa and Wei Ya Xin

Both players expressed disappointment after the match, saying “Win or lose is not the main issue as we should have done better. Today my return serve was not as good as the opponents as they could easily take the initiative and as a result we didn’t have too many attacking opportunities”.

Tang said he was a bit tense in the first game as he was too eager to win. “Some of my shots were not accurate which has affected our confidence. Although we could go into a small lead, the opponents could easily take it back.”

Facing the new Chinese combination, Tang said they did watch the opponents’ video footage the day before to get a better understanding. “The main problem was our tactics, we did not execute well and gave the chance to the opponents very often. Of course when we were too eager to win, we made more mistakes,” he said.

Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet with former Hong Kong mixed doubles pair Amy Chan and Chan Chi Choi. The two Chans clinched a bronze medal at the 1998 Olympic Games when badminton was a demonstration programme at the Olympics. 

Although they were not happy with their performance, the Hong Kong pair was still delighted to clinch a medal in the world tour after winning their last medal in 2021 in Indonesia.

“It’s nice to play again in Hong Kong as the home tournament has been suspended for three years,” Tse, 31, said. “I have even thought if I could play at home again before my retirement and now I am so happy I can stand at the podium in front of the home crowds before I retire.” Both players thanked the support of the home fans. “Many of my friends, family members and fans came to support us from the first match. No matter we were leading or trailing behind, they cheered for us helping us win back match by match. We are so thankful for their support.”