Classy show takes HK lads on to Japan

THE Hong Kong boys' under-14 tennis team, led by Island School student Jason Sankey, did the territory proud by qualifying for the NTT World Finals to be held in Japan later this year.

After a disastrous start to the Asian Zone qualifiers in Thailand, when they lost 3-0 to Australia, the Hong Kong team bounced back with triumphs over the Philippines, Jordan, Thailand and China to finish second in their preliminary group.

That put Jason, Wayne Wong and Desmond Chan into the semi-finals and only a step from winning a ticket to Japan before the top three teams go through to the World Finals.

Jason, 14, gave Hong Kong a confident start in the semi-final against Taiwan by beating Cheng Wai-jen 6-1, 7-5. Wayne wrapped up the tie with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 triumph over Fu Hsiao-wei.

Coach Michael Walker fielded Desmond and Wayne for the dead doubles rubber and they did not disappoint with a 6-4, 6-2 demolition of Fu and Chiu I-chung to complete the rout over the Taiwanese.

They were again whitewashed by the Australians in the final, but Walker was still extremely pleased with the overall performance by his charges throughout the event.

''Jason, Wayne and Desmond played brilliantly all week,'' said Walker. ''They've produced the best tennis I've ever seen from Hong Kong players in this age group.

''This is the first time we have ever reached the World Finals. There is a very bright future with these boys.'' Meanwhile, teenage professional Willy Chan Lee is certain to improve on her world rankings by making the quarter-finals of a satellite event in Brunei.

Willy, 17, recovered from a first set deficit to outlast Thailand's Sirilak Mingnolee 6-7, 6-4, 6-1.