The Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships 2018 concluded last Sunday with Stephen Wong winning the B18 title after an injured Tim Gauntlett retired while trailing, 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 4-1. Meanwhile, in a battle between the top seeds, Avril Look defeated Sheena Masuda Karrasch, 6-4, 7-5, to take home the G18 honours.
The B18 singles final turned out to be a titanic tug of war between No. 1 seed Stephen Wong, who was a member of last year’s Junior Davis Cup team, and No. 3 Tim Gauntlett, who played the one spot on the 2017 World Junior Tennis squad.
Wong was a finalist in the B16s in 2017 and a runner-up in the B14s in 2015, but he had not lifted an age group singles title since the B12s in 2013. Gauntlett, on the other hand, is riding hot on a recent wave of success having captured the B14s in 2017 and bagging this year’s B16 trophy already.
In the first set, Gauntlett was quick off the blocks and produced two breaks to move ahead 3-0. Wong, however, had other ideas and engineered two consecutive service breaks to grab a 4-3 lead.
The third seed’s riposte was swift, as he broke Wong to get back on serve, 5-4. Servers then dominated the rest of the way to move proceedings on to a tiebreak. The tussle continued and after swapping two mini-breaks to take the score to 5-4 in favour of Gauntlett, the No. 3 seed conjured a pair of successive mini-breaks to wrap up the set, 7-6(4).
Amazingly, set two unfolded in the exact manner as the first. Gauntlett began with a 3-0 advantage only to see Wong bounce back to lead 4-3. The reigning 16U champion broke again in the eighth game to get back on serve until the inevitable tiebreak presented itself.
On this occasion though, the top seed managed to stamp his authority in the early going and bolted to a 5-0 lead before securing this breaker in the end, 7-6(3).
In the third, the players exchanged breaks to take the score to 1-1, but after Wong propelled himself to a double break 4-1 lead, Gauntlett was forced to retire with leg cramps, as his movements appeared to be slowing down since the start of the set.
The G18 final was also a topsy-turvy affair that featured a plethora of breaks. After the top seed broke Sheena Masuda Karrasch for the third time to go up 5-2 in the opening set, the No. 2 seed returned the favour to pull back to 5-4. Avril Look then saved two break points in a row before she held serve to close it out, 6-4.
The two players then exchanged a pair of breaks to begin the second before Look broke twice to go up 4-1. However, Masuda Karrasch again responded in kind and grabbed the next four games to establish a seemingly momentous 5-4 lead.
The No. 1 seed finally halted the runaway rut by holding to love to force a 5-5 stalemate. In the pivotal eleventh game, Masuda Karrasch’s serve was under siege and after warding off three break points, Look finally broke through to reach 6-5. The top seed capitalized on her opportunity this time round and held at 30 to secure a 6-4, 7-5, victory in two hours of play.
Avril Look was a runner-up finish to Venia Yeung in this age group last year.
Earlier in the week, Gauntlett swept the B16s by beating Coleman Wong, 6-2, 6-4, in the singles and teamed up with Chan Man San to defeat top seed Lam Chun and Kyle Tang, 6-7(7), 6-3, [15-13], for the doubles title.
Sheena Masuda Karrasch also took both singles and doubles in the G16s. She saw off Lin Wing Ka, 6-4, 6-3, to lift the singles crown and then the pair collaborated to beat Fung Tak Yu and Kaye Au-Yeung, 6-3, 6-0, for the doubles title.
Top seeds ruled the under-14 age group, with Ethan Leung defeating No. 6 Malhar Rajpal in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, in the boys’ singles final and Candy Wai winning the girls’ equivalent with a 6-2, 6-3, decision over No. 4 Shek Cheuk Ying.
In the B12 singles final, second seed Eren Cheung managed to jump out to a 4-0 lead against No. 1 Lau Hong Kiu before finishing with another service break to take the opener, 6-1. Games then went with serve in the ensuing set until the eighth game when Cheung broke gain to lead 5-3. Lau then fought back to take eight of the next nine points to force a 5-5 stalemate. However, Cheung’s swift response saw him produce a match-clinching break in the twelfth game to register a 6-1, 7-5, victory.
Number one seed Ophelia Tang, who represented Hong Kong in last year’s ITF Asian 12 & Under Team Competition at the East Asia Regional Qualifying in Shenzhen, saw off No. 2 Yeung Tsz Lam in straight sets to capture the G12 singles title.
In the B10 singles final, fourth seed Tam Sin Hang defeated No. 3 Andreas Foong, 4-2, 4-1, to take home the title, while the G10 crown went to top-seeded Rosalyn Chan, who recovered from a set down to beat No. 3 Wilva Chan, 0-4, 4-1, 4-1.
Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships
Victoria Park Tennis Stadium, Causeway Bay
Jan 25-Feb 25, 2018
(1)Stephen Wong d. (3)Tim Gauntlett 6-7(4) 7-6(3) 4-1 Retired
(1)Issac Chan/Arthur Chau d. (2)Jason Chan/Stephen Wong 6-2 6-3
(1)Tim Gauntlett d. (8)Coleman Wong 6-2 6-4
(2)Tim Gauntlett/Chan Man San d. (1)Lam Chun/Kyle Tang 6-7(7) 6-3 [15-13]
(1)Ethan Leung d. (6)Malhar Rajpal 6-2 6-4
(2)Max Kwok/Chan Tsz Him d. (1)Ethan Leung/Maxwell Heward 6-7(3) 6-3 [10-7]
(2)Eren Cheung d. (1)Lau Hong Kiu 6-1 7-5
(2)Eren Cheung/Lucas Mock d. (1)Lau Hong Kiu/Oscar Leung 4-6 7-6(4) [11-9]
(4)Tam Sin Hang d. (3)Andreas Foong 4-2 4-1
(1)Avril Look d. (2)Sheena Masuda Karrasch 6-4 7-5
Avril Look/Jacqueline Lam d. (2)Alicia Yue/Justine Leong 2-6 7-6(7) [10-4]
(4)Sheena Masuda Karrasch d. (3)Lin Wing Ka 6-4 6-3
(2)Sheena Masuda Karrasch/Lin Wing Ka d. Fung Tak Yu/Kaye Au-Yeung 6-3 6-0
(1)Candy Wai d. (4)Shek Cheuk Ying 6-2 6-3
(1)Chloris Li/Shek Cheuk Ying d. (2)Candy Wai/Noelle Vanasse Wilbert 4-6 6-0 [10-8]
(1)Ophelia Tang d. (2)Yeung Tsz Lam 6-0 6-0
(4)Sydney Stark/Yeung Tsz Lam d. Rosalyn Chan/Fung Tak Sum 6-0 6-4
(1)Rosalyn Chan d. (3)Wilva Chan 0-4 4-1 4-1