Chan stuns favourite to assure Hong Kong of girls' title

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong are guaranteed the girls' singles title at the Asian Junior Championships for the first time in 10 years after two SAR players reached the final.

Joey Chan Ho-ling will meet compatriot Annie Au Wing-chi at the Hong Kong Squash Centre today after easy semi-final wins.

The last time Hong Kong won this competition was in 1997 when Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin, now the city's top player, claimed the title.

Playing in her last major junior event, Chan, who will turn 19 in August, upset top seed Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in great style, scoring a 9-3, 9-3, 9-0 victory yesterday in just 32 minutes.

'With the home court advantage, she [Chan] was outstanding today, allowing her opponent few chances of scoring points. It was one of her best games,' said Hong Kong coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan.

'She has shown strong determination to reach the final. Perhaps she has got extra impetus because this will be her last chance to win another major junior title.

'Also, the Malaysian girl had a tough game against another Hong Kong player in the previous round [Chiu ka-kei] and seemed to be running short of stamina in the early stages [against Chan].'

Pre-tournament favourite Au, however, gave local fans a scare when she needed to go to deuce in the second game before defeating Misaki Kobayashi of Japan. The second seed and losing finalist two years ago eventually won in straight games, 9-2, 10-8, 9-0.

'Au suffered a lapse of concentration after taking the first game easily. But she fought back in the second after trailing 6-1 and deserved to win,' said the coach.

In the boys' event, Abdullah Mezayen of Kuwait prevented an all-Pakistan final when he defeated Waqar Mehboob 9-1, 9-7, 9-4 in semi-finals. He will meet another Pakistani, Farhan Mehboob, in the final after Mehboob beat compatriot Farzan Rashid 9-7, 9-7, 9-1.