Wong has nightmare but Chiu dreams on

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 January, 2007, 12:00am

Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin realised her dream of winning the Buler Challenge Cup after defeating Kasey Brown of Australia in the women's final at the Hong Kong Squash Centre yesterday.

Having lost in the two previous finals, Chiu went one step further, the top seed beating the second-seeded Australian 9-6, 9-1, 9-2.

However, it was a different story for Wong Wai-hang in the men's final.

After failing to take four match points in the deciding game, the Hong Kong number one finally surrendered the title to Stephen Coppinger of South Africa in a gruelling five-game match when he lost 11-6, 6-11, 5-11, 11-2, 17-14.

A delighted Chiu said she had not expected to win so easily, adding that her opponent, who is just two places behind in the world rankings, seemed to be feeling the effects of her semi-final victory.

'I played very well from the beginning with a lot of length shots, giving her trouble at the back of the court,' said Chiu, who wrapped up the final in just 22 minutes. 'It seemed that she lacked the knowhow to respond to my shots, and everything went very well in the second and third games for me.'

Chiu said that while she was happy for this to be third-time lucky in this tournament, the victory also came as a timely boost in her bid to break into the world's top 10 this year. 'This is my first tournament in 2007 and winning the title has given me a perfect start,' said the 28-year-old, who is currently ranked 15th in the world.

'I will focus on the professional tour this year as there are no major multi-sport events. I have been on the tour for many years and it's time to reach another level.'

Chiu's next event will be the Kuala Lumpur Open in Malaysia in March, a tournament that should attract the world's best players.

Top seed Wong said he had only himself to blame after losing the men's title to the unseeded South African, who is ranked outside the world's top 200. 'I had many chances in the fifth game, but failed to take them when they came my way,' said Wong, currently ranked 96th in the world.

'The court was slippery when it came to the fifth game because both of us were sweating a lot and that affected my game a bit. But it was still a very good tournament for me to reach the final. I gave it my best and put up a good performance for the fans who came here today.'

Champion Coppinger said he expected to get into the world's top 200 after winning his first title since joining the tour last September.