Shuai Zhang of China came through on the promise to herself to make up for finishing second in the first Hawaii Open by winning 0-6, 6-2, 6-3 over Su Jeong Jang of South Korea. Zhang was resilient in overcoming a hot start by Jang.
The estimated crowd of about 400 to 500 were in good spirits and supportive of both participants, there was a slight lean towards Zhang after last years loss. The weather also cooperated with a beautifully sun shiny day although the wind proved to be a challenge periodically at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park. The venue is quaint, not a bad seat in the house and you feel close to the action. Next year with proper promotion and word of mouth the crowd could be standing room only.
Most importantly, to the fans at the Hawaii Open the tournament was a success and looks like it has the potential to stick around. Kyla Goldsmith, CEO, says that getting a title sponsor may be needed to extend beyond the current three year contract.
The WTA 125K series a secondary professional tennis circuit organised by the Women’s Tennis Association, with a total prize fund of $125,000. Even as a second tier tourney, Zhang, ranked 36th still makes for top quality play. New events are slow to develop in Hawaii but given the support they can stick around for the long haul like the PGA Sony Open for example. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is on the right track here.
A day earlier the Taiwanese doubles team of Hsieh Su-wei and her sister Hsieh Shu-ying captured their first ever championship over the duo of Asia Muhammad (USA) and Eri Hozumi (Japan).