Under-16 teams place 11th at JDC, JFC Asia/Oceania Qualifying

Hong Kong's Junior Davis Cup trio of Roger Ng, Jonathan Zhang, and Sunny Yue finished in 11th position at this year's Asia/Oceania Qualifying in New Delhi, while the Junior Fed Cup threesome of Venia Yeung, Claudia Ng, and Cody Wong duplicated the same placing at the regional qualies over in Sri Lanka.

(2)China, (1)Japan, and (5)India qualified for the Junior Davis Cup Finals, while (1)Japan, (7)Thailand, (4)India, and (6)New Zealand qualified for the Junior Fed Cup Finals, which will take place in Budapest, Hungary at the end of September.

At the JDC Asia/Oceania Qualifying in New Delhi, (8)Hong Kong drew (2)China, Malaysia, and Vietnam in Group B.

Although seeded eighth, the HK boys did not enjoy the best of starts when Malaysia ambushed them right out of the gates. After Roger Ng (ITF 576) gave the team an early lead, Christian Chin (ITF 718) beat Jonathan Zhang (ITF 758), who took the place of injured Sunny Yue, 6-2, 7-6(3), at the one spot to draw the Malaysians level at 1-1. In the deciding doubles, Roger Ng and Sunny Yue (ITF 373) fought hard but fell in two very close sets, 7-5, 7-6(4).

The early loss meant Hong Kong must win the remaining round robin matches to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the knockout stage. After seeing off Vietnam 3-0, the team went down against second-seeded China, the eventual winners of this year's A/O Qualifying.

After Mu Tao (ITF 286) beat Sunny Yue in the opening singles, Jonathan Zhang played extremely well to take the first set against Zhao Lingxi (ITF 73) and fought from 4-1 down in the third before his much higher-ranked opponent finally closed it out, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, in almost two hours of play.

Since the start of this year, Zhao Lingxi had already won a pair of Grade 3 singles titles, a Grade 4, and reached the final of another Grade 2.

In the 9-16th place playoffs, Hong Kong began by beating Philippines 2-0 with Roger Ng overcoming a lapse of concentration to beat Benjamin Martin, 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-2 and Sunny Yue winning 6-4, 0-6, 6-2, against Arthur Pantino.

The team then lost a close one against Indonesia when Iswandaru Kusumo Putro (ITF 883) and Muhammad Althaf Dhaifullah (ITF 601) beat Sunny Yue and Jonathan Zhang, 6-2, 2-6, [10-8], in the deciding doubles to steal a 2-1 victory.

In the final playoff tie against Uzbekistan, Roger Ng defeated Azamat Tokhirov (ITF 768), 6-0, 6-2, before Joanthan Zhang eased past Azamat Lukmanov (ITF 915), in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1, to seal a 2-0 win.

"Overall, it was bit of a disappointment, as one match against Malaysia cost us a top-8 finish in the end. I felt the other teams handled the conditions better than our boys and that was the biggest difference," reports Team Captain, Karan Rastogi.

"I hope the boys will learn from this and work on the things they need in order to do well on the ITF circuit. The other teams had a lot more depth than us this year and some of their No. 1s are ranked inside the top-100. The better teams also had a very good doubles combination, which is so important in these team events," he added.

As a junior standout, Karan Rastogi reached a career-high ITF Junior World Ranking of No. 4 in 2004. That year, he made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open Junior Championships before falling to eventual champion, Gael Monfils. In 2003, he reached the semis of the Osaka Mayor's Cup and won the Asian Closed Junior Tennis Championships boys' doubles title together with Somdev Devvarman. On the pro circuit, he reached a career best ATP No. 284 in singles (14 Feb 2011) and No. 217 in doubles (11 Jun 2012).

Hong Kong placed 11th overall behind (2)China, (1)Japan, (5)India, (4)Australia, (7)New Zealand, (3)Korea, (6)Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Syria, but finishing ahead of Uzbekistan, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, and Vietnam.

Elsewhere, over at the Junior Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Qualifying in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong drew (2)Australia, (7)Thailand, and Pacific Oceania in Group B. As if lightning always strikes twice, the opening match, once again, turned out to be the difference maker.

First up against No. 7 seeded Thailand, Claudia Ng was defeated by Thasaporn Naklo (ITF 291), 6-1, 6-3, at number two singles. After opposing number one, Watsachol Sawatdee, lost to Venia Yeung (ITF 482), 5-7, 6-0, 6-1, she teamed up with Naklo to beat Cody Wong and Venia Yeung in a third set super-tiebreak, 1-6, 6-2, [10-6], to secure a 2-1 win for Thailand.

"Venia played a little smarter than her opponent and used the conditions to her advantage," reports Karan. "She has been very good this week. Very stable mentally and played well throughout."

Thailand's Watsachol Sawatdee was a member of the ITF/ATF 14 & Under GSDF Team that toured Europe in 2014.

With the HK team facing a must-win situation in its next two matches, up came the second-seeded Australians the following day. Their numbers two and three, Kaitlin Staines (ITF 212) and Jessica Zaviacic (ITF 464), proved too strong for Claudia Ng and Venia Yeung, as they both succumbed in straight sets respectively.

With the outcome of the tie a foregone conclusion, the doubles, on the contrary, took on a life of its own. The Aussies, seeking a rampant confidence booster ahead of their showdown against the Thais, were stonewalled by a pair of HK girls hell bent on denying their counterparts a whitewash.

Lin Baijing (ITF 48), a semifinalist at this year's Australian Open Junior Championships and a member of their under-14 girls squad that came fourth at the 2014 WJT Finals, teamed up with Kaitlin Staines to bag the opening set before Claudia Ng and Cody Wong fought tooth and nails to win the second in a tiebreak, 7-5.

Though superior in rank and experience, the Australians could not shake off the pugnacious Hong Kong duo, as Claudia Ng and Cody Wong ultimately outlasting their opponents to take the super-tiebreak, 13-11.

"Both teams wanted it just as bad. It was an excellent effort from our girls," said Karan Rastogi. "I try and make sure the girls know every match is important, whether the tie is alive or not. And they compete just as hard in every match. Long-term development is always the most important."

Hong Kong then dismissed Sri Lanka and Pacific Oceania with 3-0 victories before falling to Indonesia 2-1 in the 9-12th place playoffs. Hong Kong then faced Uzbekistan in a faceoff for outright 11th position overall where Cody Wong was given her first start in singles this week.

She duly did not disappoint, beating Yasmina Karimjanov, 6-3, 6-1, before seeing teammate Venia Yeung notching her fifth win at the one spot in this year's regional qualies by defeating Fitriani Sabatini, 6-4, 6-2, to seal a 2-0 decision to conclude the current campaign.

Hong Kong came in 11th place behind (1)Japan, (7)Thailand, (4)India, (6)New Zealand, (2)Australia, (8)Korea, (5)China, (3)Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, but finished ahead of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pacific Oceania, and Sri Lanka.

JDC Asia/Oceania Qualifying
New Delhi
Apr 4-9, 2016

Draws & Results

JFC Asia/Oceania Qualifying

Sri Lanka
Apr 11-16, 2016

Group B

(7)Thailand d. Hong Kong 2-1
Thasaporn Naklo (THA) d. Claudia Ng (HKG) 6-1 6-3
Venia Yeung (HKG) d. Watsachol Sawatdee (THA) 5-7 6-0 6-1
Thasaporn Naklo/Watsachol Sawatdee (THA) d. Cody Wong/Venia Yeung (HKG) 1-6 6-2 [10-6]

(2)Australia d. Hong Kong 2-1
Jessica Zaviacic (AUS) d. Claudia Ng (HKG) 6-3 6-1
Kaitlin Staines (AUS) d. Venia Yeung (HKG) 6-3 6-4
Claudia Ng/Cody Wong (HKG) d. Lin Baijing/Kaitlin Staines (AUS) 2-6 7-6(5) [13-11]

Hong Kong d. Pacific Ocean 3-0
Claudia Ng (HKG) d. Vienna Kumar (POC) 6-1 6-1
Venia Yeung (HKG) d. Carol Lee (POC) 6-4 6-2
Claudia Ng/Cody Wong (HKG) d. Guitton/Lee (POC) 60 75

9-16th Place Playoffs
Hong Kong d. Sri Lanka 3-0
Claudia Ng (HKG) d. Anika Seneviratne (SRI) 6-2 6-4
Venia Yeung (HKG) d. Anya Gunawardena (SRI) 6-1 6-4
Claudia Ng/Cody Wong (HKG) d. Janali Manamperi (SRI) 6-1 6-1

9-12th Place Playoffs
Indonesia d. Hong Kong 2-1
Fadona Kusumawati (INA) d. Claudia Ng (HKG) 6-2 6-3
Venia Yeung (HKG) d. Fitriani Sabatini (INA) 7-5 6-4
Kusumawati/Sabrina (INA) d. Claudia Ng/Cody Wong (HKG) 7-5 6-2

11-12th Place Playoff
Hong Kong d. Uzbekistan 2-0
Cody Wong (HKG) d. Yasmina Karimjanov (UZB) 6-3 6-1
Venia Yeung (HKG) d. Milana Maslenkova (UZB) 6-4 6-2
Doubles - Did Not Play

About the Junior Davis Cup & Junior Fed Cup

In 1985, the ITF launched the "World Youth Cup", the international team competition for players aged 16 & Under, with NEC becoming the title sponsor from 1988 to 2001. In 2002, the ITF re-branded the boys' competition as part of a new partnership to "Junior Davis Cup by BNP Paribas", followed by the girls' competition to "Junior Fed Cup by BNP Paribas" in 2005. In 2015, a total of 169 teams from 96 countries took part in all regional qualifying, resulting in 15 boys and 15 girls' teams that joined hosts Spain in the Finals.

Hong Kong's Participation in the Finals

Over the years, Hong Kong qualified for the Junior Davis Cup Finals four times (2001, 2011, 2014, 2015) and the Junior Fed Cup Finals three times (1985, 2005, 2006). Seeded No. 1 for the Asia/Oceania Qualifying, Jack Hui and Brian Hung ultimately secured the 2001 contingent a maiden passage to the Finals held in Santiago. In 1985, Paulette Moreno led the team to a sixth place finish ahead of traditional powerhouses such as Japan and West Germany at the Finals in Kobe.

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