Hong Kong make it back to group one of Fed Cup Asia/Oceania with gutsy win over Uzbekistan

Yu Hiu-tung’s team overcome an early deficit to post a 2-1 victory in trying conditions in Tajikistan

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 2:47pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 7:42pm

Hong Kong won their way back into group one of the Fed Cup Asia/Oceania zone with a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan in the group two final in Tajikistan.

Hong Kong fought their way back after dropping the opening singles rubber and captain Yu Hiu-tung praised his side’s preparation.

“Conditions this week, with the courts and high altitude, it was tough for everyone,” he said. “We were one of the earliest teams to arrive and acclimatised perhaps a little better.

“However, the girls did extremely well to come through, especially having dropped the first set against much higher-ranked opponents, so all credit to them.”

Hong Kong’s Eudice Chong lost 6-2, 6-4 to Akgul Amanmuradova in the opening singles before Zhang Ling posted a 6-4, 6-1 win over world number 145 Sabina Sharipova to send the tie to a deciding doubles.

“I was super nervous while I was watching Eudice’s match, but once I got on court, I felt good to go,” Zhang said.

“I just tried to fight for every ball and focused on what I had to do. I think overall we had great team spirit and all the players really enjoyed playing together.”

Chong teamed up with Katherine Ip to land the killer blow for Hong Kong, with the pair seeing off Amanmuradova and Nigina Abduraimova 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-3 to secure victory and a return to group one for the first time since 2015.

Although the towering pair of Abduraimova and Amanmuradova took the opening set, Chong and Ip never let up and pulled away in the final set after the score was locked at two games apiece.

“We just played smart today and gave them different looks,” said Ip.

Chong concurred: “We made the right plays at the right time, poaching well, going down the line and lobbing them when they least expected us to. We didn’t miss a whole lot and it was fun.”