Chan does well in reaching semis
WILLY Chan came within a step of realising her dream of winning a trip to the Australian Open and a coaching session with American tennis star Michael Chang when she reached the girls' semi-finals of the recent Reebok Asia-Pacific Championships.
The Pentecostal Lam Hon Kwong School pupil was seeded second in the event and saw her chance boosted with the early elimination of Thailand's top-ranked Pimpisamai by Taiwanese Huang Yu-chun.
Willy started off her campaign with a convincing 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Indonesia's Lisa Andriyani and then followed it up by beating Atchara of Thailand 6-2, 6-0.
The only teammate to join Willy in the quarter-final round was Island School student Jacklyn Fu Yan-ning, who did remarkably well to beat South Korea's Park Ka-young and Malaysian No 1 Khoo Chin Bee in her opening matches.
Jacklyn's run of success, however, came to an end in the hands of leading Japanese Haraka Inoue, who won 6-3, 6-2 to book her place in the last four against Huang.
But Willy kept the Hongkong colours flying high by beating top South Korean Lee Eun-jeong 6-4, 6-1 for her semi-final berth, just one step away from a trip to Australia - the reward for making the final.
Willy faced South Korea's fast-rising star Jeon Mi-ra, a 14-year-old who is ranked second in her home country but the in-form player of the tournament.
Jeon has not dropped a set going into the semi-final and convincingly crushed Willy 6-1, 6-3. She went on to beat Inoue in the championship match.
''I underestimated Jeon and was being complacent at the start of the match,'' said 15-year-old Willy.
''I thought I should have no trouble beating her after having beaten the Korean No 1 so convincingly only a day ago and I paid for the mistake. I've learnt not to take my opponents lightly from now on.'' Alexandra Kleffel and Lorraine Ng were both first round casualties.
Hongkong also was not disgraced in the boys' competition with Bill Young Tsz-kwan and Rudy Chung Sing-fuk both reaching the quarter-finals.
Bill is the territory's leading under-16 player but was a beaten semi-finalists in the local Reebok Challenger, the qualifier for the Asia-Pacific Championships, by eventual winner John Hui.
He made amends for the disappointment in the domestic event with a sterling performance in the international tournament which included victory over the top seed.
The Diocesan Boys' School student first stopped Japan's Ryo Ohki 6-3, 6-2 and then posted a 6-0, 7-6 triumph over Ekkarine Pisutharnonth, the tournament favourite from Thailand.
Bill, however, squandered a one-set lead and lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 to South Korea's Chung Hee-sung in the semi-finals.
Schoolmate Rudy Chung also scored two good wins against foreign opposition - beating Taiwan's Chien Chin-lun 6-2, 6-0 and China's Li Lekai 3-6, 7-6, 6-2.
But like Bill, he found his South Korean opponent Chung Eui-hyun too good and was beaten 6-1, 6-2 in the semi-final round.
Hongkong International School's Hui, the local Reebok Challenger champion, also bowed out to a South Korean. He was beaten 6-7, 6-1, 7-6 by Chung Hee-sung.
Other Hongkong representatives Jamee Wong and Lau Wing-hung were also first round losers - to China's Zhang Yu and Taiwan's Cheng Hsiao-fong respectively.