At the 2018 Junior Davis & Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, the boy’s team of Tim Gauntlett, Coleman Wong, and Lam Chun finished 15th overall, while the girls’ trio of Cody Wong, Jenny Wong, and Sheena Masuda Karrasch claimed 12th place.
Full results: https://bit.ly/2R8StPj
In the round robin stage of the Junior Davis Cup, Hong Kong placed fourth in Group C behind No. 6 seed Spain, No. 4 seed Argentina, and Hungary and therefore had to contend for the 9th-16th place playoffs.
Spain won handily behind the play of ITF No. 124 Carlos Alcaraz, the first player born in 2003 to earn an ATP ranking. Earlier this year, he won through three rounds of qualifying to reach the quarterfinals of the Spain F5 Futures, upsetting ATP No. 292 Federico Gaio along the way.
Alcaraz ranks third in the world among those born in 2003 or after, trailing only Denmark’s 62nd-ranked Holger Rune and USA’s 95th-ranked Toby Kodat.
TeamHK, in fact, had the youngest starting singles line-up among all teams at this year’s finals, with Coleman Wong the youngest (6 Jun 2004) and Tim Gauntlett third youngest (21 Aug 2003).
By sheer luck, Hong Kong drew No. 3 seed USA and No. 8 seed Australia in the opening rounds of the positional playoffs that resulted in identical 2-0 losses.
Then, in the 15th-16th place playoff, Uruguay took a 1-0 lead but was forced to concede the remaining singles and doubles due to injuries to its other two players, effectively handing Hong Kong a 2-1 win.
“At first, our goal was to make the top 8 at the Asia/Oceania qualifying in Malaysia. We exceeded our expectations and made it to the world finals,” explained Gauntlett. “This past week was a very good learning lesson for us because it was such a mental battle every day. I don’t think we had enough experience on clay to compete with the other teams, but it was good for us to play against the best players in the world. Clay is different, and it definitely made us change our mindset with the way we played. But we will be back stronger next year.”
Teammate, Lam Chun, added, “I felt extremely proud to represent Hong Kong in the World Finals. The tournament itself was extremely tough, as we were competing against the very best, ranging from US Open finalists to players with ATP rankings. On top of that, our lack of matches on clay was a major handicap compared to the Europeans and South Americans, who grew up on it. But we fought for every point and I feel that we left everything on the court and finished the tournament with no regrets.”
Both Gauntlett and Lam were most impressed by Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who trailed France’s Harold Mayot by a set and 3-5, 0-40 in the final before storming came back to win the singles and doubles to seal a memorable victory.
Meanwhile, in the round robin stage of the Junior Fed Cup, Hong Kong placed fourth in Group B behind Slovakia, No. 3 seed Russia, and Peru and therefore had to contend for the 9th-16th place playoffs.
It was pandemonium on opening day, as the pair of seeded teams, Hong Kong and Russia, lost to Peru and Slovakia respectively in the group. Although Cody Wong fought valiantly to first draw level at one set all and then from 4-1 down to 4-4 in the third, world No. 89 Dana Guzman stayed tough to win, 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-4, in three hours and twenty-two minutes.
The setback against Peru proved costly, as Slovakia and Russia had deeper rosters that were also strong at No. 2 singles and doubles.
In fact, Slovakia turned out to be one of the outstanding teams of the finals. Though unseeded, world No. 49 Romana Cisovska took the team to top position in Group B before placing third overall, with the lone loss coming against No. 1 seed and eventual champion USA in the semis.
Hong Kong defeated Spain 2-1 in the opening round of the positional playoffs, but then lost to Argentina and Peru again to finish 12th overall.
“It was great to get to the JFC Finals with my teammates. This was another terrific opportunity to play against some of the top players in the world. We didn’t get the results that we want, but it was really a good experience for us,” said Cody Wong.
“Playing on clay is really tough compared to hardcourts. The rallies are a lot tougher obviously, but for me personally, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t perform as well as I’m capable of this week,” she added.
“I love playing for Hong Kong. It’s my second time competing at the world finals after WJT a couple of years ago,” says Jenny Wong. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience to compete against these players at this stage of the competition. I have a better idea where my game is at and it gives me motivation to work harder.”
Top-seeded USA, with world No. 4 and reigning French Open junior champion, Cori Gauff, and No. 10 Alexa Noel at its disposal, needed a third set super-tiebreak in the deciding doubles to overcome No. 2 seed Ukraine’s world No. 26 Dasha Lopatetskaya and Lyubov Kostenko, 5-7, 6-4, [11-9], to lift this year’s Junior Fed Cup.
Junior Davis & Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals
Sep 25-30, 2018
Spain(6) d. Hong Kong 3-0
R1 Mario Gonzalez (ESP) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 6-2 6-2
R2 Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-1 6-0
R3 Carlos Alcaraz/Pablo Llamas (ESP) d. Coleman Wong/Lam Chun (HKG) 6-1 6-1
Argentina(4) d. Hong Kong 3-0
R1 Juan Bautista Torres (ARG) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 6-1 6-3
R2 Roman Burruchaga (ARG) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-1 7-5
R3 Roman Burruchaga/Santiago De La Fuente (ARG) d. Coleman Wong/Lam Chun (HKG) 6-0 6-1
Hungary d. Hong Kong 3-0
R1 Peter Fajta (HUN) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 4-6 6-1 6-2
R2 Zsombor Velcz (HUN) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-0 6-2
R3 Zsombor Velcz/Dominik Buzonics (HUN) d. Tim Gauntlett/Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-2 6-3
USA(3) d. Hong Kong 2-0
R1 Martin Damm (USA) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 4-6 7-5 6-4
R2 Alexander Lee (USA) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-0
Australia(8) d. Hong Kong 2-0
R1 Tai Sach (AUS) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 7-5 6-4
R2 Cooper White (AUS) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-1
Hong Kong d. Uruguay 2-1
R1 Juan Martin Fumeaux (URG) d. Tim Gauntlett (HKG) 6-0 6-2
R2 Coleman Wong (HKG) d. Franciso Llanes (URG) Walkover
R3 Coleman Wong/Lam Chun (HKG) d. Ezequiel Passarino (URG) Walkover
Peru d. Hong Kong(6) 3-0
R1 Camila Soares (PER) d. Jenny Wong (HKG) 7-6(3) 6-4
R2 Dana Guzman (PER) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 7-5 6-7(5) 6-4
R3 Camila Soares/Romina Ccuno (PER) d. Jenny Wong/Sheena Masuda Karrasch (HKG) 6-4 6-1
Slovakia d. Hong Kong(6) 3-0
R1 Eszter Meri (SVK) d. Jenny Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-0
R2 Romana Cisovska (SVK) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 7-6(4) 6-0
R3 Eszter Meri/Nina Stankovska (SVK) d. Jenny Wong/Sheena Masuda Karrasch (HKG) 6-2 4-6 6-3
Russia(3) d. Hong Kong(6) 3-0
R1 Polina Kudermetova (RUS) d. Jenny Wong (HKG) 6-1 6-3
R2 Oksana Selekhmeteva (RUS) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 6-3 6-3
R3 Oksana Selekhmeteva/Polina Kudermetova (RUS) d. Cody Wong/Jenny Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-2
Hong Kong(6) d. Spain 2-1
R1 Ane Mintegi Del Olmo (ESP) d. Jenny Wong (HKG) 2-6 6-0 6-0
R2 Cody Wong (HKG) d. Leyre Romero Gormaz (ESP) 6-2 2-6 6-3
R3 Cody Wong/Jenny Wong (HKG) d. Leyre Romero Gormaz/Alba Rey Garcia (ESP) 6-2 6-2
Argentina d. Hong Kong(6) 3-0
R1 Julia Riera (ARG) d. Jenny Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-1
R2 Ana Geller (ARG) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 6-3 6-4
R3 Julia Riera/Juana Larrañaga (ARG) d. Cody Wong/Jenny Wong (HKG) 1-6 6-1 [10-5]
Peru d. Hong Kong(6) 2-1
R1 Sheena Masuda Karrasch (HKG) d. Camila Soares (PER) 6-2 6-3
R2 Dana Guzman (PER) d. Cody Wong (HKG) 6-2 3-6 7-5
R3 Dana Guzman/Camila Soares (PER) d. Jenny Wong/Sheena Masuda Karrasch (HKG) 4-6 6-3 [14-12]