Job done: Hong Kong dismantle Iran in Davis Cup to set up Lebanon semi-final

Kevin Wong and Brian Yeung thrash visitors in doubles match as Skyler Butts completes 4-0 win for hosts in Asia/Oceania Group II first-round tie

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 February, 2018, 7:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 1:11pm

Kevin Wong Chun-hun and Brian Yeung Pak-long did not hang around in their Davis Cup doubles rubber as they dispatched Iran in 40 minutes to wrap up the tie for Hong Kong at Victoria Park.

Wong and Yeung beat Anoosha Shahgholi and Ashkan Shokoofi 6-2, 6-0 on Centre Court to give the hosts an insurmountable 3-0 lead in the Asia/Oceania Group II first-round tie before Sunday’s two singles matches had even been played.

“We’re really happy to be able to pull the victory off, winning 3-0 against a team like Iran is not easy, especially when you are playing in front of a home crowd,” said Wong after the doubles. “We were all really feeling the pressure to perform here.

“But we went out there and we did our stuff. We made sure that we stuck to the basics. Just keep your first serve percentage up and get the first ball in on your returns, and then we came out of it pretty well.

“It’s a bonus for us to get the match done so quickly, we just wanted to try to stay focused and do our best out there.”

With the tie already over, Hong Kong No 1 Jack Wong Hong-kit was rested as captain Yu Hiu-tung gave reserve player Skyler Butts a chance to shine in the fourth rubber.

Strong suit: Hong Kong’s pair of Jacks trump Iran’s tennis aces as hosts battle to brink of Davis Cup win

Butts duly stepped up to seal a comprehensive 6-3, 6-0 win in 57 minutes against Amir Hossein Badi, who replaced Iran’s original pick for the rubber, Shahin Khaledan.

Anthony Jackie Tang had been set to take on Mohsen Hosseinzadeh in the fifth and final rubber but the match was not played and Hong Kong had to make do with a 4-0 clean sweep.

Hong Kong team manager Dr David Ho said: “It’s fantastic because this new batch of youngsters is really working hard.

“They are self-disciplined, having been taught by the coaches what to do. They’ve been training hard every day in the morning on the tennis court, and in the afternoon doing gym work and stamina building.

“It’s all going according to schedule. By the end of the last week, the guys really peaked in their form and only needed to build their confidence.

“Luckily they were able to carry out the mission. I think this time the discipline, hard work, commitment and self-confidence were all good, that’s why result is so marvellous.”

Next up for Hong Kong is a semi-final against Lebanon, whose doubles rubber victory gave them an unassailable 3-0 lead against Taiwan on Sunday.

Had Taiwan managed to turn around a 2-0 deficit from Saturday then Hong Kong would have had another home tie, but Yu’s side will now travel to Beirut in April.

“We would prefer to play in a home tie of course,” said Yeung, before Lebanon’s victory was confirmed. “The thing is that Taiwan is a seeded team. So you don’t really want to play the higher-ranked side on paper, but you do want that home court advantage.”

On Saturday at Victoria Park, 19-year-old Columbia University student Tang had battled through against Khaledan for a 7-6(1), 6-4 victory in two hours and 22 minutes in the first singles rubber.

Jack Wong then gave Hong Kong a 2-0 lead with a 6-2, 6-3 victory against Hosseinzadeh in under an hour.