The second round of the 2014 Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open finished on Thursday as half of the tournament’s top seeded players enjoyed a much-welcome day off to recover from playing in the extreme climate.
A lighter schedule on Thursday meant players were able to escape the mid-day heat thanks to matches being scheduled later in the day, a slight cloud cover and some wind helped to ease the much-discussed conditions as well.
The first match of the afternoon saw Karolina Pliskova & Monica Puig go head to head. The Czech world #42 had some extra support as twin sister Kristyna watched her sibling play, even offering some coaching advice between sets!
The twin sister’s encouragement obviously worked out well, as Pliskova clinched quite a comfortable two-set win to make the Hong Kong Tennis Open quarterfinals.
Next up was the all-Chinese match-up between Zhang Kai-Lin & crowd favorite Zheng Jie. Zhang, who fought her way through to qualifying to make the tournament’s second round, seemed a bit overwhelmed by both the occasion and her much more experienced countrywoman.
Following a lengthy discussion about a line call with both the umpire and the WTA supervisor after the fifth game of the second set, Zheng closed a two-set win that will keep the tournament’s crowd favorite in contention for the first ever Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open title.
Meanwhile, another Chinese qualifying player ended her run as #7 seed Jana Cepelova won her match over Zhu Lin in straight sets.
The day was rounded out by the night session match between Daniela Hantuchova & Alison van Uytvanck and the day’s final match-up had the biggest surprise in store.
After complaining about the mid-day heat yesterday, Hantuchova now got to play under the lights at slighter lower temperatures, but the different setting did not help the Slovak against the Belgian newcomer.
The world #112 offered stiff resistance from the very beginning of the match and, despite dropping the first set against the 31-year old WTA veteran, Van Uytvanck kept her fighting spirit up to clinch a very surprising three-set win.
Van Uytvanck’s performance will earn her what is just her third-ever WTA quarterfinal, following a quarterfinal at the 2012 Brussels Open and her title win at the WTA challenger in Taipeh in 2013.