Hong Kong teenager Claudia Ng Hei-ching’s hopes of making the main draw at the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open have been dashed. Claudia lost to China’s Zhu Lin 0-6, 3-6 in the opening round of the qualifiers at Victoria Park last Saturday.
The 16-year-old local tennis star was aiming to make it through to the first round of the competition, which began yesterday when the top seeds joined the action.
Claudia took a while to adapt to the environment on the main court in the biggest match of her young career, and she lost the first set without winning a game. Claudia moved into a 3-0 lead in the second set, only for her opponent to recover and wrap up the win in just a little less than one hour.
“I think I could have played better,” said Claudia. “I’m just not used to handling her fast shots and I think that my movement could have been better. She made me run a lot.”
Claudia, who won a bronze medal at the first National Youth Games in Fujian last October, had earlier said she would “faint from shock” if she progressed to meet one of the star names in the main tournament.
She told Young Post that the key to losing the match against Zhu was her inability to control her emotions.
“It was my first game in a major WTA [Women’s Tennis Association] event with such a big crowd. My coach, family, teachers and friends all came here to support me. I was not used to this pressure. I was also eager to show them that I deserved the wild card,” she said.
By the time Claudia became more focused and got used to the environment, it was too late. Her more experienced opponent dominated the rest of the second set and won. Claudia said she hoped to become more consistent. “Hopefully I can cope with players at a higher level when I get more experience and can play an aggressive game. I’m sure I will improve with more intensive training.”
Claudia said she is now preparing for a junior tournament in Nonthaburi, Thailand, which begins on Saturday.