Open setback for tennis ace
LOCAL tennis ace Willy Chan Lee missed a golden opportunity for double honours in the Hong Kong Open Junior Championships when she lost in both the singles and doubles final to Japanese rival Saori Obata.
Willy, seeded number one in the singles draw on the strength of her 575th Women's Tennis Association world ranking, was in magnificent form in the early rounds as she breezed past her opponents.
The 17-year-old showed signs of cracking up in the semi-final against Indonesia's Wynne Prakusya, who is 27th on the International Tennis Federation junior rankings and 23 places above her, and scrapped through in three sets.
Willy dropped nine service games in an erratic performance and had to claw back from 1-3 down in the deciding set for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
The bubble finally burst on Willy in the title match against second-seeded Obata, who prevented an all-Hong Kong final by stopping Island School student Jacklyn Fu Yan-ning 6-3, 6-2 in the other semi-final.
Obata completely overran a hapless Willy by cruising to a 6-0, 6-3 victory.
Willy also made it to the doubles final with Jacklyn but again it was Obata, and partner Ayami Takese, who prevented a home victory by beating the Hong Kong combination 6-3, 6-3.
Hong Kong coach Mark Bailey was happy with Willy's results and said: 'It's sad that she lost in both finals but she did a tremendous job going all the way in the tournament.
'It's been ages since we have had players in an ITF final in Hong Kong and Willy's overall performance showed we [Hong Kong] are back at a competitive level.
'Jacky has also done very well to have made the singles semi-finals. She started the year without an ITF and now she should be in the top 150s.' Jacklyn has accumulated 80 ITF points in three tournaments, having collected 30 points for reaching the final in Bangladesh and 50 for making the semi-finals in Hong Kong. She did not get any points for the first round defeat in Sri Lanka.
South Korea's Kim Dong-hyun lived up to his top billing by edging unseeded compatriot Kwon Oh-hee 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 for the boys' singles crown.
The two Koreans also clinched the doubles title with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over India's Vikrant Chadha and Aditya Chippy Mehta.