Hong Kong's Zhang clinches first pro title

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

Hong Kong's Zhang Ling clinched her first professional title with victory in the US$10,000 International Tennis Federation series tournament in Wellington, New Zealand, at the weekend.

The 17-year-old, who started playing on the senior circuit a year ago, defeated Kairangi Vano of New Zealand 6-1, 6-1 in the final.

Zhang ousted top seed Chen Yi of Taiwan (ranked 398th in the world) and Song Shanshan (451) of China on her way to the final. Her coach, Stan Tamura, said it was a solid week's work for the SAR player, who is ranked 689th.

'She has taken her first title in convincing style. The score tells it all,' said Tamura. 'Chan dominated her opponents throughout the tournament.'

Another HK player, Venise Chan Wing-yau, was beaten in the second round when she lost to Mari Tanaka of Japan 6-2, 6-2. Chan also lost in the doubles after she and her South Korean partner, Lee Yi-ra, went down in three sets to Japanese duo Tomoko Dokei and Etsuko Kitazaki in the semis.

Despite the result, tennis is still likely to be axed from the Sports Institute's elite programme next month after failing to make the selection standards for two consecutive reviews.