Eudice Chong justified her top billing by defeating Japanese qualifier Sakura Hosogi, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3, to win the US$15,000 Prudential Hong Kong Women’s Circuit singles title. Ng Kwan Yau and Wu Ho Ching, meanwhile, combined to beat No. 2 seed Zeel Desai of India and Akari Inoue of Japan, 6-4, 6-4, to lift the doubles.
This was career title number two for Chong after she won the US$15,000 in Anning last summer. Three weeks ago, she reached the semifinal of the US$25,000 Prudential Hong Kong Women’s Circuit before she bowed out to reigning All China Games singles bronze medallist and top seed, Lu Jia-Jing, in three sets, 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
「This week has been a lot of ups and downs, but I’m glad I managed to pull through and get the win. This tournament truly means more because it’s in Hong Kong, and we don’t get to play in front of family and friends that often during the year. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going into the next couple weeks as well,」 said Chong, who will be representing Hong Kong at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta starting August 19.
The 22-year-old, who just graduated from Wesleyan last month, is slated to play the US$15,000 Formosa Cup in Taipei from July 23-29, as well as the US$25,000 in Nonthaburi, Thailand, from August 6-12.
Chong began the final with ruthless efficiency, breaking Hosogi’s first five service games to catapult herself to a 6-0, 3-0, lead. However, in the momentum-shifting fourth game of the second set, Hosogi began to show signs of life and finally managed to capitalize on her fifth break point opportunity in this game to get on the board to peg the score back to 3-1. The Japanese grew in confidence and took advantage of the top seed’s paltry 22% on 2nd Serve Points Won to break back twice more to wrestle the set, 6-4.
In the third, both players started with a service break to make it an even-steven 1-1. Thereafter, the No. 1 seed began to settle down and showed the level of fortitude she applied to maneuver Hosogi so effectively earlier in the match. Chong went on to break in the third and ninth games to run away with the set and the match, 6-0, 4-6, 6-3.
For 18-year-old Japanese, her time in Hong Kong is somewhat of a watershed moment in her fledgling career. Upon arrival at Chek Lap Kok, she competed in just eight pro circuit events in her career and she has yet to qualify for the maindraw. Hence, she has never held a WTA Ranking either.
Yet, something clicked for her this week, as she beat No. 3 seed Kanika Vaidya (WTA 669) in the first round, Ng Kwan Yau (WTA 975) in the second, Australian No. 6 seed Michaela Haet (WTA 861) in the quarterfinals, and then came from a set down to upset No. 5 seed Ayumi Koshiishi (WTA 810) of Japan, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, in the semifinals.
「Her opponent played better in the second set, no question, but Eudice was rushing it a bit and lost her momentum. Third set, she found her calmness and patience again to regain control of the match,」 said HKTA Performance Coach, Karan Rastogi.
In the doubles final played earlier on Friday, No. 4 seed Ng Kwan Yau and Wu Ho Ching stayed solid on serve throughout the match and staved off four break points in each set to beat second-seeded Zeel Desai of India and Akari Inoue of Japan, 6-4, 6-4.
This was a career-first pro circuit women’s doubles title for both Ng and Wu.
US$15,000 Prudential Hong Kong Women’s Circuit
Victoria Park, Causeway Bay
July 9-15, 2018
(1)Eudice Chong (HKG) d. (WC)Justine Leong (HKG) 6-3 1-6 6-1
(1)Eudice Chong (HKG) d. Zhang Ying (CHN) 3-6 6-0 6-1
(1)Eudice Chong (HKG) d. Reina Takahashi (JPN) 7-5 6-4
(1)Eudice Chong (HKG) d. (4)Wu Ho Ching (HKG) 6-3 6-2
(1)Eudice Chong (HKG) d. (q)Sakura Hosogi (JPN) 6-0 4-6 6-3
(4)Ng Kwan Yau/Wu Ho Ching (HKG) d. Ashmitha Easwaramurthi/Li Yuenu (IND/CHN) 6-3 6-1
(4)Ng Kwan Yau/Wu Ho Ching (HKG) d. Michaela Haet/Mimi Levine (AUS/USA) 6-3 6-3
(4)Ng Kwan Yau/Wu Ho Ching (HKG) d. Mitsumi Kawasaki/Ayumi Koshiishi (JPN) 6-2 7-5
(4)Ng Kwan Yau/Wu Ho Ching (HKG) d. (2)Zeel Desai/Akari Inoue (IND/JPN) 6-4 6-4