Fast rising shuttler Angus Ng Ka-long says his past glories at the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open will count for nothing as he has another crack at the men’s singles title at this month’s tournament at the Coliseum in Hung Hom.
Last year, Ng sent double Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan of China packing to earn a semi-final spot – his first-ever at a superseries event – before being stopped in his tracks by world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
“My performance at last year’s Hong Kong Open really gave me a confidence booster because it gave me the belief that I could beat anyone,” said the 22-year-old, who also upset China’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Chen Long of China at the Singapore Open, also a superseries tournament, in April.
“But all these good results are history and I have to look forward. I must keep my form as I am targeting to reach the year-end grand finals in Dubai. I have to do reasonably well in the last two superseries tournaments of the year , the China Open next week and then our home event to have a chance of playing in Dubai.”
Ng currently ranks sixth on the road to Dubai which comprises the top eight players/pairs in each of the five categories of badminton. He also reached his third superseries semi-finals at last week’s French Open before losing to veteran Lee Hyun-iI of South Korea.
“He’s a lot more mature now compared to a year ago,” said coach Liu Zhiheng of Ng. “Winning semi-final berths in two other superseries tournaments proves this, but he’s still young and has plenty of room for improvement. We have high hopes on him.”
The Hong Kong tournament, which takes place on November 22-27, will bring together the Rio Olympic Games gold and silver medallists contesting the US$400,000 event.
Chinese superstar Lin Dan will be a notable absentee, however, as he gives the Hong Kong Open a miss after 11 consecutive appearances.
“We have extended the invitation to Lin, but as far as we understand, he won’t be playing outside China after the Rio Olympics as his wife is having a baby,” said Hong Kong badminton chief Tong Wai-lun. “Despite Lin’s absence, we have assembled the strongest possible line-up that fans can be excited about.”
Four-time Hong Kong men’s singles champion Lee, who missed the French Open due to injury, will out for revenge against Chen at the Coliseum after losing to the mainlander in the Rio Olympic final, while women’s Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain will be defending her Hong Kong title, with Pusarla V Sindhu of India and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, the silver and bronze medallists in Rio respectively, posing her biggest challenges.
Home favourite Yip Pui-yin will be the oldest competitor in the women’s singles but Yip, now 29, hopes she will be able to win medals in her mid-30s just like the top men.