Hong Kong duo Annie Au and Leo Au are hoping to benefit from partizan home support at the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open later this month when the siblings compete at the PSA World Tour Platinum event.
The Hong Kong Open is the third Platinum tournament of the season and will take place at the Hong Kong Squash Centre between November 19-22 before moving to the Hong Kong Park Sports Centre between November 23-25.
It’s the biggest professional squash tournament to take place in Hong Kong and both Annie and Leo are hoping to channel the support of their home crowd as they look to reach the latter stages of the tournament.
“When you see a lot of familiar faces and hear their cheers during the match, it feels amazing and inspires you to push even harder,” said Annie.
“It’s an opportunity to play in front of the home crowd besides the national [championships]. I’m really looking forward and I’m ready to play my best.”
Leo echoes his older sister’s thoughts and believes that playing on home soil helped inspire him to a stunning upset of defending champion Ramy Ashour at last year’s tournament.
He said: “It was amazing to have a good performance in front of the home crowd and also in a big tournament. Ramy Ashour is one of the legends in squash and people always enjoy watching him play, so I hope he can stay injury-free and bring more good squash to us.
“I’m always excited to play in my home country, it is the biggest PSA tournament in Hong Kong, so I'm really looking forward to that.
“I feel great playing in Hong Kong because there are always lots of people to support the local players. At the same time, the Hong Kong government, Hong Kong Sports Institute and Hong Kong Squash also contribute a lot to the local squash players, so I think these are the factors that improve my performance.”
Leo wrote his name into the history books in July when he broke into the world’s top 20 alongside compatriot Max Lee, marking the first time in history that two male players from Hong Kong have achieved that milestone at the same time.
World No.12 Annie, a 15-time PSA Tour title winner, has featured in the top 10 on a number of occasions and highlighted the support that Leo has given her over the years, saying: “Every time when I’ve wanted to give up, especially after a hard training session, he has always been out there with me and encouraged me to push until the end.”
Annie receives a bye into the second round where she will come face to face with either United States No.1 Amanda Sobhy or New Zealand’s Amanda Landers-Murphy, while Leo faces Spain’s Edmon Lopez in round one.
A win for the World No.22 would see him face World No.8 Paul Coll in the last 32 where he will aim to cause yet another upset on home soil.
Glass court fixtures from the Hong Kong Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV (Rest of World) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will be shown by major broadcasters around the world, including BT Sport beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
This year’s Hong Kong Open is a historic edition of the tournament, with equal prize money on offer for the first time ever. $329,000 will be split between the men’s and women’s draws and the winners of the tournament will also qualify for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals.
2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open – Men’s Draw
 Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) [bye]
[9/16] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) [bye]
[17/32] Alan Clyne (SCO) v Campbell Grayson (NZL)
Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) v [17/32] Tom Richards (ENG)
[17/32] Joel Makin (WAL) v [WC] Chi Him Wong (HKG)
[9/16] Ramy Ashour (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Leo Au (HKG) v Edmon Lopez (ESP)
 Paul Coll (NZL) [bye]
 Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) [bye]
[WC] Henry Leung (HKG) v [17/32] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS)
[17/32] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v Ben Coleman (ENG)
Joshua Masters (ENG) v [17/32] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[9/16] Raphael Kandra (GER) [bye]
Todd Harrity (USA) v [17/32] Cesar Salazar (MEX)
[17/32] Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Rex Hedrick (AUS)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) [bye]
 Simon Rösner (GER) [bye]
Peter Creed (WAL) v [17/32] Adrian Waller (ENG)
[9/16] Nicolas Mueller (SUI) [bye]
[9/16] Omar Mosaad (EGY) [bye]
[17/32] Zahed Salem (EGY) v Karim El Hammamy (EGY)
Eain Yow Ng (MAS) v [17/32] Greg Lobban (SCO)
[9/16] Max Lee (HKG) [bye]
 Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) [bye]
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) [bye]
Nathan Lake (ENG) v [17/32] Lucas Serme (FRA)
[17/32] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
George Parker (ENG) v [17/32] Declan James (ENG)
[9/16] Saurav Ghosal (IND) [bye]
[9/16] Diego Elias (PER) [bye]
[17/32] Gregoire Marche (FRA) v Arturo Salazar (MEX)
 Ali Farag (EGY) [bye]
2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open – Women’s Draw
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) [bye]
Liu Tsz-Ling (HKG) v [17/32] Nele Gilis (BEL)
[17/32] Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Amanda Landers-Murphy (NZL)
 Annie Au (HKG) [bye]
 Tesni Evans (WAL) [bye]
Julianne Courtice (ENG) v [17/32] Mariam Metwally (EGY)
[17/32] Zeina Mickawy (EGY) v Low Wee Wern (MAS)
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) [bye]
 Joelle King (NZL) [bye]
Milou van der Heijden (NED) v [17/32] Mayar Hany (EGY)
[17/32] Hania El Hammamy (EGY) v Sivasangari Subramaniam (MAS)
 Olivia Blatchford Clyne (USA) [bye]
 Joshna Chinappa (IND) [bye]
[WC] Lee Ka Yi (HKG) v [17/32] Dipika Pallikal Karthik (IND)
[17/32] Fiona Moverley (ENG) v Tong Tsz-Wing (HKG)
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) [bye]
 Camille Serme (FRA) [bye]
Tinne Gilis (BEL) v [17/32] Rachael Grinham (NED)
[17/32] Millie Tomlinson (ENG) v Nada Abbas (EGY)
 Nicol David (MAS) [bye]
 Alison Waters (ENG) [bye]
Danielle Letourneau (CAN) v [17/32] Nadine Shahin (EGY)
[17/32] Emily Whitlock (ENG) v [WC] Vanessa Chu (HKG)
 Nouran Gohar (EGY) [bye]
 Laura Massaro (ENG) [bye]
Haley Mendez (USA) v [17/32] Yathreb Adel (EGY)
[17/32] Joey Chan (HKG) v Alexandra Fuller (RSA)
 Salma Hany (EGY) [bye]
 Victoria Lust (ENG) [bye]
Hollie Naughton (CAN) v [17/32] Coline Aumard (FRA)
[17/32] Rowan Elaraby (EGY) v Rachel Arnold (MAS)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) [bye]