A virtuoso display from tournament wildcard Tsz Fung Yip brought the capacity crowd inside Hong Kong Squash Centre to their feet as the un-fancied World No.50 stunned World No.5 Miguel Angel Rodriguez in an enthralling first round encounter at the 2016 Cathay Pacific Sun Hing Kai Financial Hong Kong Open.
Playing with composure and control from the off the 22-year-old, who announced his potential here in 2015 with an impressive first round victory over Tom Richards, dictated the early exchanges to take the first game 13-11.
Yip continued to attack in the second but it was Rodriguez who responded, upping his game to level and when the Colombian took the third in four minutes for the loss of just two points it looked like the writing was on the wall for Yip.
But the Hong Kong national champion steeled himself for a huge fightback and stepped up the court, again dictating the play to reel off two consecutive games and inflict a major upset on Rodriguez which will make an early dent on his hopes to qualify for the season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals.
“I’m very, very happy to have won – to beat a top five player is a big moment and a great result,” said Yip.
“I think I played quite well in the match and I have worked very hard in the last two months, so it is really pleasing to see that pay off and have something to show for it.
“I maintained the pace well in the first two but in the third he changed his game plan. To come back in the fourth and not get frustrated was important. I just tried to keep playing my own game.
“Hopefully I can come back and play well again in the next round. If I can perform I will be happy.”
Yip will face Ryan Cuskelly in the second round after the Australian saw off Egyptian qualifier Omar Abdel Meguid 3-0 while there were no first round issues for defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy as he began his defence with a 3-1 win over Chris Simpson.
Playing with his trademark ferocity ElShorbagy successfully blasted Simpson off court but it was an error-strewn performance hat saw the dominant man on Tour admit to mental lapses.
“It feels great to be back,” said ElShorbagy. “We all had a good summer break and it’s exciting to be back and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens this season.
‘The first match of every tournament is tough but especially so because this one was the first of the season and I was mentally switching on and off.
“You sort of forget the mental aspects of it being a proper match and not a practice match. I just need to get used to it again, but everyone is in the same situation and I think we’ll all get better from the first round.
“All credit to Chris, he played well – a lot better than when we played here two years ago – and made me work hard for it but I’m pleased to come through.”
James Willstrop reaches for a ball during his battle with Tom Richards
ElShorbagy will now face Cameron Pilley, the hard-hitting Aussie who lost out to the Egyptian here in last year’s final, after he beat local player Leo Au while Mazen Hesham, Tarek Momen, Karim Abdel Gawad and James Willstrop rounded out the winners on day one.
2016 Hong Kong Open – Men’s First Round, Top Half Results:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 11-8, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8 (40m)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt Leo Au (HKG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 11-5 (35m)
Mazen Hesham (EGY) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-8, 11-7 (45m)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt Borja Golan (ESP) 3-0: 11-4, 11-5, 11-9 (29m)
Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 3-0: 16-14, 11-9, 11-9 (49m)
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-1: 15-13, 11-5, 9-11, 11-4 (61m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt [Q] Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-0: 12-10, 11-7, 11-2 (58m)
[WC] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) bt  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) 3-2: 13-11, 10-12, 2-11, 11-3, 11-6 (69m)
2016 Hong Kong Open – Men’s First Round, Bottom Half Draw:
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v [Q] Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) v Simon Rösner (GER)
[Q] Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER)
Max Lee (HKG) v [Q] Joe Lee (ENG)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY)
[Q] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v  Gregory Gaultier (FRA)