Chen sets up meeting with idol

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 January, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 January, 1993, 12:00am

TAIWAN'S Chen Wei-ju took the first steps to emulating his hero Michael Chang when he won the Reebok Asia-Pacific Championships boys' singles crown at Victoria Park yesterday.

Chen, born in the same city as American-Chinese Chang's parents, defeated Lee Jung-min of South Korea 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the final, and like his idol, was mobbed by autograph hunters after his victory.

''This is definitely the biggest moment in my six-year career,'' said the 14-year-old left-hander, who earned a trip to the Australian Open next month which includes a coaching session with Chang.

''I never thought I could win this tournament because all the top junior players in the region were competing. And I've never won an under-16 title before, let alone at international level.'' Chen suffered the early jitters and dropped the first set in a tiebreak, 8-6.

A solitary service break in the eighth game was good enough to give Chen the second set as he served out to love for a 6-3 win.

He broke Lee's service in the third game of the decider but showed hints of nervousness on serve when leading 4-3.

Mistakes crept into his game but he survived three break points and held serve on two consecutive errors by Lee.

The 16-year-old Korean seemed to have lost heart after his failure to square the score and dropped service in the next game to set up a 6-3 win for Chen.

South Korea's Jeon Mi-ra continued to impress with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-1 girls' singles triumph over Haruka Inoue of Japan.

Jeon, who on Wednesday dashed the hopes of a local winner when she humbled Hongkong's Willy Chan in straight sets, took less than an hour to topple Inoue.

Chan made amends for her semi-final loss by beating Taiwan's Huang Yu-chun 6-3, 6-4 in the play-off for third place.

The third-place play-off for boys was cancelled because South Korea's Chung Eui-hyun was ill. Teammate Chung Hee-sung won on a walkover.


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