Wang's chances hit by illness

Chicken pox has forced Wang Chen out of the Hong Kong Open, dealing another blow to her attempt to qualify for next year's Olympics.

Wang, racing against time to qualify for Sydney, must now rest for at least two weeks.

The former Chinese national player and world junior champion, now playing for Hong Kong, will have another shot at the Korea Open in January, but it is doubtful whether she will be fit enough. The final field for Sydney will be finalised in May.

National coach Chan Chi-choi said: 'We're very disappointed as she had good chances of winning medals in both the singles and doubles [in which she partnered teenage star Ling Wan-ting], but we can't do anything about it.

'The bad thing is that her world ranking points will be deducted as she has pulled out after the event started.

'She must not engage in intensive sports activities as she will harm herself. We even have to keep her away from other Hong Kong players, especially those who haven't had chicken pox before.' Wang, 23, joined the Hong Kong team in July after having an operation on her ankle. She had to start accumulating ranking points from scratch as she had not competed for more than a year.

Ling, the tournament's third/fourth seed, flexed her muscles in her 11-1, 11-2 first-round win over Italy's Petra Schrott.

Her next opponent is Japan's Kyoko Komuro but her first big test will come from China's Dong Fang in the quarter-finals.

Other Hong Kong players also fared well yesterday.

Koon Wai-chee, another third/fourth seed, defeated Thailand's Nucharin Teekhatrakul 10-13, 11-1, 11-5 to set up a second-round clash with Singapore's Luxi Xiao.

Men's singles third/fourth seed Tam Kai-chuen also progressed after beating China's Zhang Yi 15-12, 15-6.

The one-star event moves from the Sha Tin Sports Institute to the Queen Elizabeth Stadium today.