• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:42am

Yan's coming of age thwarted by Danish upstart Wozniacki

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 January, 2007, 12:00am

The Silver Group final - a competition for first-round singles losers - was supposed to be Yan Zi of China's first shot at the big time, but Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki hadn't read the script and beat the home favourite 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in just under two hours.


Ranked 166th in the world, Yan, 22, claimed the biggest scalp of her career when she beat world number 10 Nicole Vaidisova 7-5, 6-3, on Friday night.


The question was could she do it again against a similar European opponent, albeit not as strong a player as she should have played in the decider.


Yan was originally to face world number four Svetlana Kuznetsova, but the Russian had to withdraw, leaving 16-year-old Wozniacki to step into the breach.


In a closely contested game last year's junior Wimbledon champion raced into a 6-3 lead after playing some impressive ground strokes. Yan, roared on by a partisan crowd, fought back to win the second set 6-4, but it was Wozniacki who played the more solid tennis in the deciding set to win 6-4.


Could it be the case that like when Maria Sharapova first played here at the age of 15 we could have seen a prospective star of the future? Wozniacki, who had just been in Hong Kong as a tennis ambassador and was not in the main draw, was just glad to get the run out and the win.


'I'd like to thank Yan Zi for allowing me to play against her as she could have taken a walkover in the final, because Svetlana was too sick to play,' Wozniacki said.


'Hopefully I will play here next year in the main competition. I'd love to come back.'


For Yan it was one match too far. 'It's disappointing to lose in a final. I didn't play consistently enough. But I've gained a lot of confidence playing here and it's been a great experience,' she said.


In the doubles final, Yan and her partner Zheng Zie were beaten 8-6 (pro-set) by Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters.


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