Off-form Hy fails to achieve her ambition

PATRICIA Hy failed to fulfil a lifelong ambition when she was knocked out in the semi-finals of the US$100,000 Hong Kong Open tennis tournament at Victoria Park yesterday.

But the former Hong Kong player has vowed to make another attempt to win her first tournament on local soil.

Canadian Hy, top seed in the Digital-sponsored tournament, was beaten 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 by lanky American Marianne Werdel, who enters the final against Taiwanese Wang Shi-ting, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over another American, Caroline Kuhlman.

''I don't play in Asia very often and I love the opportunity to play here,'' said Hy, who lived in Hong Kong for 17 years before emigrating to Canada in 1988.

''One of my biggest ambitions is to win a tournament here. I haven't been able to do that, but that does not mean I will not be coming back.'' Hy, ranked 57 in the world, was never able to get the upper hand in an erratic match that saw eight service breaks in the first set.

''I was not up to form and was very disappointed with my performance,'' Hy added.

''I didn't move well and that is normally one of my strengths. But against Marianne, I was just too late getting to shots.'' Werdel was not surprised by her victory.

''We know each other pretty well and have played doubles together,'' said Werdel. ''So I went into the match knowing I had every chance to win.'' Wang, although making several unforced errors, was too strong for Kuhlman and is looking forward to her first appearance in a major tournament final.

''I think Hong Kong people wanted a final between myself and Patricia,'' said Wang, the Asian champion and world number 42.

''But I'm very happy to reach the final. It is the biggest match of my career.'' Wang's previous best was a semi-final appearance in a US$150,000 tournament in Brisbane this year.