Second seed Kevin Wong held off No. 3 Brian Yeung in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, to claim his maiden HK National men’s singles title. Earlier, teenager Lin Wing Ka shocked top-seeded defending champion Maggie Ng to snatch her first ladies’ singles crown, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
After winning last year’s SCAA and CRC Open titles, Wong is now in possession of all three local majors, but the last player to win all three in the same calendar year was Phillip King, who collected the Triple Crown in 2013.
“I managed to play smart under the circumstances and used the width of the court to my advantage. I was patient and waited for the right ball to attack, and it worked out well for me today. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank TA for its continued support,” said Wong.
“It was a match of who can hold serve. He made use of the opportunities that I squandered on my serve and broke in both sets. He stepped up at the right times and I barely had any chances to break because he was able to control the rhythm and the pace. I felt good with my service games, but it wasn’t enough. Overall, he played better today,” said Yeung.
Both players started well on serve, with Yeung in particular throwing down a pair of aces in each of his two opening service games. Out of nowhere, however, he struggled to find his first deliveries in the fifth game and although he saved two break points to force deuce, Wong produced several stinging forehands to break for a 3-2 lead.
Servers then dominated proceedings until 5-3 when Wong hung around long enough to sneak in a second break for the set after the third seed failed to convert three successive game points from a 40-15 lead.
Yeung struggled to make inroads into his opponent’s service games and after Wong saved the only break point he faced in the third game of the ensuing set, the No. 2 seed secured a late break and held swiftly for a decisive, 6-3, 6-3, victory.
It was a far tighter affair when these two met for the CRC Open title last December, when Wong had to fight off his opponent’s relentless serving onslaught before finally collaring Yeung with clinching breaks at the end of the second and third sets to post a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, win.
Wong also defeated Yeung, 6-3, 6-3, last November to take the SCAA Open title.
Top-seeded Jack Wong was attempting to become the first player to win three straight HK National titles since Colin Grant (1984-86) but he ran into trouble in his semifinal against the No. 3 seed. Yeung managed to save a pair of set points to snag the opening set in a tiebreak before closing out a tough, 7-6(7), 6-3, victory on his fifth match point against the two-time defending champion.
In the ladies’ singles final, unseeded Lin Wing Ka, a member of the 2016 WJT girls’ team that placed sixth at the World Finals, caused a huge upset by beating No. 1 seed and defending champion, Maggie Ng, the only player with a WTA singles ranking in this year’s field.
Initially, however, Ng held the upper hand, as she broke serve to go up 4-1, saved the only break point she faced to reach 5-2, and then added an insurance break to clinch the set 6-2.
Although Lin had a dream start in the second and broke Ng twice to jump out to a 3-0 lead, the No. 1 seed responded immediately and fought back to a more manageable 3-2. Unforced errors then began to impact Ng and the less mistake-prone Lin took advantage of the situation to grab the next three games to draw even at a set apiece.
After exchanging a break each to start off the third, Ng squandered a game point and lost serve to trail 2-1. In the pivotal fourth game, the top seed fended off Lin’s four consecutive game points but failed to capitalise on her own break point opportunity to allow the teenager to hold for a 3-1 advantage. Lin then ran off the next three games to complete a 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, win to capture her first local major.
Ng claimed her maiden title last year after finishing runner-up in 2012, 2014, and 2016.
In the men’s doubles final, Brian Yeung and Lee Hsin-Han won here for the first time with a 6-7(3), 6-3, [10-8], victory over No. 1 seed Jack Wong and Kevin Wong, who also finished runners-up to Yeung and Lee at SCAA and CRC Open in 2018.
“It was only a matter of a few points here and there, really,” said Brian Yeung. “They played a couple of points extremely well in the first set tiebreak, while we started off the third set breaker pretty good ourselves. Credit to them because they were serving and finishing the points off with no hesitation. We had to dig deep and pounce on the only opportunities we had since they were few and far between. We just had to win those that mattered most.”
Top seed Maggie Ng and Sher Chun Wing successfully defended their ladies’ doubles title when they overcame the loss of the opening set to beat No. 2 seed Ki Yan Tung and Jacqueline Lam, 2-6, 6-3, [10-6], in the final.
Third seed Lee Hsin-Han and Chattida Thimjapo never faced a break point, as they saw off Vincent Chau and Lin Wing Ka in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, to capture the mixed doubles title.
A milestone was achieved this year after the announcement was made back in 2017 to target equal prize money by 2019. The reward for both the men’s and ladies’ singles champion was HK$42,000 respectively.
Wimbledon is the last of the four Grand Slams to adopt equal prize money policy in 2007, following the US Open in 1973, Australian Open in 2000, and the French Open in 2006.
“We hope this will also encourage girls who want a career in sport to choose tennis as their best option. This is a natural step in the right direction complimenting the overall women’s sports development in Hong Kong,” says CEO, Chris Lai.
Prudential Hong Kong National Tennis Championships 2019
Victoria Park Tennis Stadium
Feb 25-Apr 7, 2019
(2)Kevin Wong d. (3)Brian Yeung 6-3 6-3
Lin Wing Ka d. (1)Maggie Ng 2-6 6-2 6-1
(2)Brian Yeung/Lee Hsin-Han d. Jack Wong/Kevin Wong 6-7(3) 6-3 [10-8]
(1)Maggie Ng/Sher Chun Wing d. (2)Ki Yan Tung/Jacqueline Lam 2-6 6-3 [10-6]
(3)Lee Hsin-Han/Chattida Thimjapo d. Vincent Chau/Lin Wing Ka 6-1 6-2
(1)Timothee Lux d. Jeroen Boer 6-2 6-4
(4)Shek Cheuk Ying d. Jane Wong 6-4 6-0
(2)Li Ka Chun/Poon Shui Wing d. Timothy Chow/Colin Law 7-5 6-2
(2)Chan Yee Ting/Shek Cheuk Ying d. (1)Lau Hiu Wai/Sher Yat Sze 2-6 6-3 [10-1]