Life at the top is not easy. SAR ace Rebecca Chiu learned that the hard way as the local presence at the 2001 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Open came to an abrupt end yesterday. Chiu, a wild card into the main draw of the women's event, was easily brushed aside by England's world number 10 Stephanie Brind 9-6, 9-3, 9-1. The match finished in 24 minutes. As it wore on, Brind's passage into the second round began to turn into a cakewalk. Chiu admitted that Brind was too good for her. 'She was in a different league. My power, my fitness could not compare to hers. The pace of the game was too fast for me,' said Chiu. A worrying revelation from Hong Kong's number one player. Chiu has designs on making a living on the professional WISPA circuit. Yesterday, she learned that she will have to beef up her game, her physique and her mental attitude if she is to make any headway against the best of Britain, Australia and New Zealand. 'I began strongly but as the match went on I started to get more tired. I couldn't play longer rallies. My fitness dropped. She was too good for me,' said Chiu. The 23-year-old, playing her second year on the circuit, is Hong Kong's top hope for a gold medal at next year's Asian Games in Pusan, South Korea. Her main rival, Malaysian Nicol David, was an interested spectator yesterday. David defeated Chiu for the gold in 1998 at the Bangkok Games. Chiu is determined to make amends when Pusan comes around next October. Hong Kong coach Tony Choi was upbeat despite the defeat, saying a lot could be learned from it. 'Rebecca performed to her limit. There is a big gap between her and the top 10 players in the world and she knows it. But I think she played creditably.' Choi pin-pointed Brind's defence as a key factor behind the easy victory. 'The English girl's defence was very good. She used the lob very effectively when Rebecca attacked her.' The power of Brind was also effective. When she hit the ball, Chiu had a hard time chasing it down. On numerous occasions, pin-point volleys left Chiu stretching vainly. In reverse, when Chiu was on the attack, her strokes lacked any bite, leaving Brind plenty of time to retrieve the position. 'Brind's ball speed was superior. Anyone could see that she was physically much stronger than Rebecca. But I'm pleased with Rebecca. She has a lot of room to improve but I don't think she was outclassed by any means.' Chiu, ranked 33 in the world, will now aim at making the main draw of the World Open in Melbourne in October. The big gap between the top 10 players and the rest was also highlighted by world number three Sarah Fitz-Gerald's emphatic 9-1, 9-0, 9-2 win over Tricia Chuah of Malaysia. The Australian breezed past in 15 minutes into the second round. 'It was comfortable. But you must remember that she is just a junior and she was nervous. It is a big jump for girls like Tricia and Rebecca to make. The gap between the top eight or 10 girls and the rest is big,' said Fitz-Gerald, who is president of WISPA, the world women's governing body. 'It will take some time before players like Rebecca can come through. They are still learning. The more she plays the better she will become,' said Fitz-Gerald. Unbeaten this year, having won seven out of seven, Fitz-Gerald is one of the hot favourites to win in Hong Kong. She will meet Rebecca Macree of England in the second round. If everything goes according to form, expect a clash of the titans in the semi-finals for in the same half of the draw is world number one Leilani Joyce of New Zealand.