The first-ever edition of the Prudential Hong Kong Open kicked into full swing on Tuesday with no less than 12 singles matches scheduled across three courts.
To give the first full day of main draw play at the brand new tournament a worthy setting, thousands of fans flocked to the tennis center in Victoria Park, helped by the fact that Tuesday was not just blessed by exceptional weather but also happened to be a national holiday in Hong Kong.
While the complete absence of rain was welcomed both by the fans and the players, the sunny Hong Kong day lead to even higher temperatures out on the courts as the ice towels quickly became the player’s most needed accessory.
The soaring heat was especially affecting those players who had the questionable pleasure of having to play in the mid-day sun, including Karolina Pliskova & Polona Hercog who opened play on center court.
Following the entertaining duel between the Czech & the Slovakian, local favorite Zheng Jie took the stage. Zheng won her match against Japan’s Misa Eguchi in straight sets, much to the delight of both the fans and the local media, as the 31 year-old is undoubtedly one of the star players of the event.
On the outer courts, Jarmila Gajdosova continued her great week in Hong Kong, after fighting through qualifying, the Australian got past Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum, joining several other winners today, including Monica Puig, Yanina Wickmayer and WTA legend Kimiko Date-Krumm who advanced in straight sets over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.
Meanwhile on center court, French Open champion Francesca Schiavone and Christina McHale played one of the most entertaining matches of the day as a two-and-a-half-hour three-set epic unfolded thanks to McHale’s gutsy performance late in the second set. In the end, the American’s fighting spirit wasn’t enough, as Schiavone finally closed the deal in the third set, advancing to the second round.
With Schiavone & McHale playing a lengthy match, top seed Sabine Lisicki needed quite a lot of patience before kicking off her 2014 Prudential Hong Kong Open campaign, as the German Wimbledon finalist was the last player to play her match on center court, facing off with Monica Niculescu.
Whether or not the long wait played a part, the tournament’s top seed had a rather slow start into the event as Liscki’s first serve was absent, giving Niculescu plenty to work with.
After dropping the first set, it took all the way into the second-set tiebreak for the German to take control of the match, being watched by her long-term boyfriend, German TV personality Oliver Pocher.
Lisicki will continue her quest for the 2014 Prudential Hong Kong Open title tomorrow, playing Grace Min. Wednesday will also see the first match of Daniela Hantuchova who will take on local hero Ling Zhang.
As usual, Women’s Tennis Blog will be right there to cover all the action for you so keep checking back for more from the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open!
Big first round scare for Lisicki, can only get better from here on 🙂 Somehow Sabine Lisickis coach was not there today, instead the guy in the red shirt (sitting next to boyfriend Oli Pocher in one of the pictures) came down to talk to her. Sabine is that type of person who needs a strong coach to motivate her, hope she’ll get some support in the next matches. Otherwise Oli has to go down and cheer her up if things are not going well 😀