Zhou puts injury woes behind her as she looks to rejoin world elite

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Zhou Mi is expected to break back into the world's top 10 soon despite returning to the court only six months ago.

Zhou, who was ranked number one in the world when representing China, had dropped out of the top 200 when she first donned Hong Kong's colours in April, four months after she arrived under the government's Quality Migrant Admission Scheme.

But according to the latest ranking list released this week, Zhou is already back to 18th after grabbing three titles on the world circuit.

'So far, she has [only] won at three minor events which means she has yet to regain her best form. But we are very happy with her progress,' said Hong Kong coach Chan Chi-choi. 'If she can keep herself injury-free, it won't take too long before she breaks into the world's top 10 again.'

Zhou, 27, stopped playing for more than two years because of injuries, but is on the way back after intensive treatment in Hong Kong.

'We all know she is a quality player, and once she has fully recovered from her injuries, she is definitely a force to be reckoned with. She needs time to adjust to the scoring system which was introduced during her absence,' said Chan.

Zhou had been troubled by a nagging knee injury after winning a singles bronze at the Athens Olympics. It forced her to quit international competition last year.

However, a determined Zhou moved to Hong Kong after learning of the government's new immigration scheme in an attempt to keep alive her dream of playing at the Beijing Olympics.

She will join Wang Chen and Yip Pui-yin - world numbers five and 11 - for two events in Europe next week.

'These are two important tournaments which carry a lot of world ranking points,' said Chan. 'Top players from all over the world will be there so it is going to be tough for everybody.'

Zhou will take on Yao Jie, of the Netherlands, in the opening round at the Denmark super-series event, while Yip will face Maria Kristin Yulianti, of Indonesia. Wang, the highest-ranking player among the trio, only needs to play a qualifier in the first round.

They will then move to Paris for the French Open super series the following week.

Returning to the top

The world ranking that adopted Hong Kong star Zhou Mi has already achieved in her comeback: 18