Hong Kong Davis Cuppers, Kevin Wong and Jack Wong, captured a bronze medal in men’s doubles at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where tennis is competed for the first time at the event.
The duo beat Indonesia’s Aditya Sasongko and Sunu-Wahyu Trijati, 6-4, 6-2, in the last eight but was met with stiff resistance in the ensuing semifinals where they went down against No. 1 seed Vishnu Vardhan and Vijay Prashanth of India, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Although the HK representatives were unable to progress to the final, their semifinal showing was sufficient to garner them a bronze medal, as there is no playoff for 3rd and 4th place.
Vardhan has won three ATP Challenger and six ITF Futures doubles titles this season alone, and is ranked No. 129 in the world. Prashanth, meanwhile, has thirteen career ITF Futures doubles titles to his name and is currently ranked No. 242 in the world.
“In the second set, we fell behind by a break, but we capitalized on some loose service games and broke them twice to win it. However, we missed a lot of first serves in the decider, and their returns were so consistently high, we were simply put under too much pressure just to hold,” said Kevin Wong.
“It’s very encouraging to have another outstanding result at a multi-sport event after the World University Games. We hope this trend will continue next year, especially with the Asian Games in Jakarta,” remarked Chris Lai, CEO of the Hong Kong Tennis Association.
Vardhan and Prashanth went on to win the gold medal by defeating No. 2 seed Timur Khabibulin and Denis Yevseyev of Kazakhstan in the final, 6-3, 6-4.
In men’s singles, both Jack Wong and Kevin Wong reached the quarterfinals but fell just one win shy of a medal, as they came away second best against No. 1 seed Sanjar Fayziev of Uzbekistan and No. 2 Sumit Nagal of India respectively.
Jack Wong did extremely well to fight off nine break points and a partisan crowd to get past Turkmen number one, Isa Mammetgulyyev, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(1), earlier in the last sixteen. He then took the opening set against the 260th-ranked Fayziev but the Uzbek came back to nail a 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 win.
Kevin Wong had earlier served for the second set leading 5-4 against Nagal only to see the No. 2 seed battle back for a 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory.
Hong Kong’s lone flag-bearer in women’s singles, Katherine Ip, managed to level proceedings before No. 1 seed Ankita Raina pulled away in the third to win their first round match-up, 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.
In the mixed doubles, No. 3 seed Sanjar Fayziev and Arina Folts of Uzbekistan halted Jack Wong and Katherine Ip in the quarterfinals, 6-3, 6-4.
The Asian Indoor Games was previously held as a biennial event from 2005-2009, while the first Asian Martial Arts Games took place in 2009. Beginning in Incheon in 2013, the games were merged into the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, which is then contested quadrennially.
The event is organised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). Athletes from 44 Asian nations competed in a total of 21 sports over 12 days of competition in Ashgabat this year.
5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games
September 17-27, 2017
(1)Sanjar Fayziev (UZB) d. (6)Jack Wong (HKG) 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4
(2)Sumit Nagal (IND) d. (7)Kevin Wong (HKG) 7-6(4) 7-6(4)
(4)Kevin Wong/Jack Wong (HKG) d. Aditya Sasongko/Sunu-Wahyu Trijati (INA) 6-4 6-2
(1)Vishnu Vardhan/Vijay Prashanth (IND) d. (4)Kevin Wong/Jack Wong (HKG) 6-4 3-6 6-1
(1)Ankita Raina (IND) d. Katherine Ip (HKG) 7-5 4-6 6-2
(3)Sanjar Fayziev/Arina Folts (UZB) d. Jack Wong/Katherine Ip (HKG) 6-3 6-4