Hong Kong aim for second spot after shocking Uzbekistan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's Fed Cup team have set their sights on a second-place finish in pool A when they take on South Korea in the Asia/Oceania zone group one tournament in Christchurch, New Zealand, today.

The SAR team have enjoyed mixed results so far with a 3-0 loss to pool top seeds Thailand in the opening match, but bounced back for a brilliant 2-1 victory over Doha Asian Games team bronze medallists Uzbekistan.

'We still have to play South Korea and Singapore in the group stage and the Koreans remain tough opponents,' said Bianca Luk, corporate affairs manager of the Hong Kong Tennis Association.

'If we can beat them, we should be able to finish second in the group because Singapore are easier to handle.'

The victory over the former Soviet state was crucial and was kick-started by Hong Kong's number one singles player, Venise Chan Wing-yau, who upset 2006 Asian champion Iroda Tulyaganova - a player once ranked as high as 16th in the world.

'Chan is currently 606th in the world and, in terms of ranking, it was definitely a big win for our girl,' said Luk. Chan won 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

Inspired by her teammate, Hong Kong's second singles player, Zhang Ling, kept up the momentum with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Akgul Amanmuradova, who ranks 208th in the world.

Lam Po-kuen and Tong Ka-po lost in the doubles to Albina Khabibulina and Dilyara Saidkhodjaeva 6-2, 5-7, 3-3 retired, but it made no difference to the overall outcome.

Despite the setback, Uzbekistan still lead the pool with two wins and one loss.

Chan could also hold a psychological edge over the Koreans, as she defeated their number one, Yoo Mi, at the Asian championships last year.

'If she [Chan] can continue her good form, she has a great chance to beat Yoo again and then we will see how Zhang does in the second singles,' said Luk.