Business as usual for Whittington as he caps Hong Kong F3 Futures title

At the Hong Kong F3 Futures, number one seed Andrew Whittington of Australia saw off 936th-ranked Japanese teenaged qualifier Jumpei Yamasaki in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, to win the men's singles title for the third consecutive week. At present, he is ranked at a career-high No. 260.

The men's doubles final featured a pair of unseeded teams, with the duo from Japan, Shintaro Imai and Arata Onozawa, outlasting Taiwanese combo, Hung Jui-Chen and Wang Chieh-Fu, in a third set super-tiebreak, 6-4, 4-6, [10-5].

The men's singles final again saw the top-seeded Whittington pounce on his opponent's service games in the early going, as he broke to swiftly grab a 2-0 lead. Similar to his play in the previous two finals, he consolidated the advantage without fail and quickly took control of the set.

The 22-year-old Melbourne native's business-like approach proved a little too difficult to break down, as he took the opener, 6-3, without facing a single break point.

Despite a 10am start, and a mere thirty-seven minutes to finish the set, the energy-sapping conditions have seemingly skyrocketed to another level as the players changed ends.

However, Whittington's motivation remains unaffected and his dominance never wavered in the second set. The Aussie wasted no time and went straight for the jugular, just as the starting bell sounded.

He conjured successive breaks in games one and three to jump out to a monstrous 4-0 lead.

Again, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way for Whittington, as the 18-year-old Yamasaki failed to produce any break opportunities against the world No. 260. Untroubled in his final two service games, he easily held to take the set and the match, 6-3, 6-2.

The No. 1 seed was superior in every statistical category, and one of the most compelling analytics was Total Points Won, in which Whittington enjoyed a whopping 64-39 upper hand.

Whittington has captured three titles in any many weeks - Hong Kong F1, F2, and F3. He had never sat on a 15-match winning streak previously and by the time the ATP releases the latest rankings early next week, the Aussie will once again reach a new career-high.

Given his ranking of No. 286 when arriving in Hong Kong, his current 15-match winning streak is the longest in his career so far. By virtue of his ATP Ranking, he is clearly the favourite. The question is whether he can cope with the hot and humid surroundings.

Yet it was not his power game that Whittington showed, instead it was his consistent, high percentage tennis that seemed to have thrived in these three weeks, while the other high-ranked players seem to have set off on a walkabout.

Although he is a player that exhibits a double-handed backhand, Whittington has no problem switching to a single sliced backhand hit with depth and heavy spin, be it down-the-line or crosscourt.

In fact, the forehand he hit for winners, usually wrong-footing ones, were almost never done so with real venom or power. Hong Kong's Davis Cup Captain, Yu Hiu Tung, and local wildcard entrant, Kelvin Lam, who played the Australian in the first round of the F3, echoed the same sentiments.

Whittington seems to possess a second gear in reserve in that he is capable of more power if indeed warranted by changing circumstances. At the same time, the Australian's sliced backhands were generally kept extremely low with heavy backspin, and reaching good depth, which complicates proceedings for his opponents who are accustomed to mundane topspin backhand exchanges instead.

Throughout the three finals he contested, F1 presented the toughest opponent, with ATP No. 500 and No. 3 seed He Yecong of China. In the F2 final, his opponent was a 19-year-old, 837th-ranked qualifier from Melbourne. Then, in the F3 Final, the top seed faced another 19-year-old, 936th-ranked Japanese qualifier Jumpei Yamasaki.

While the other seeded players quickly fell by the way side due to Hong Kong's stifling summer heat and humidity, Whittington, on the other hand, continued to progress with straight-set wins.

Interestingly, he went up against three local players – Kevin Wong in the first week, Jackie tang in the second week, and Kelvin Lam in the third week. The only set of tennis the Australian conceded here in Hong Kong came against Jackie Tang, who did well to win the first set, 7-5, before yielding the last couple of sets, 6-3, 6-2, to the eventual winner.

The closest any HK players came to reaching a final during the three weeks occurred in F3 where Kelvin Lam and Jackie Tang collaborated to reach the semis before going down against Taiwanese combo, Hung Jui-Chen and Wang Chieh-Fu, 6-3, 6-3.

In singles play, only two players from Hong Kong managed to win a round in the maindraw, with Jackie Tang upsetting No. 8 seed Hung Jui-Chen of Chinese Taipei in the F1 and Kevin Wong beating Chinese qualifier Lin Wei-De, 6-3, 6-2.

The last player from Hong Kong to win a title on the men's pro circuit was Brian Yeung, who captured the 2015 Hong Kong F1 Futures doubles with Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Cheng-Peng when they beat Yi Chu-Huan and He Yecong in the final, 4-6, 6-4, [10-5].

The Hong Kong F3 Futures is the last of three consecutive ITF Pro Circuit men's events scheduled for Victoria Park this year. The ITF Hong Kong Junior Tournament will take place next week, followed by two weeks of ITF Pro Circuit women's US$10,000 events.

Next month, the Hong Kong Davis Cup team travels to Tehran for this year's Asia/Oceania Zone Group III against the likes of Cambodia, Iran, Lebanon, Pacific Oceania, Qatar, Singapore, Syria, and Turkmenistan where two promotional spots are up for grabs to Group II in 2017.

The territory last competed in Asia/Oceania Zone Group II back in 2012.

Hong Kong F1 Futures
Victoria Park Tennis Court
June 6-12, 2016

Men's Singles Final
(1)Andrew Whittington (AUS) d. (6)He Yecong (CHN) 7-5 6-3

Hong Kong F2 Futures
Victoria Park Tennis Court
June 12-18, 2016

Men's Singles Final
(1)Andrew Whittington (AUS) d. (q)Daniel Nolan (AUS) 6-3 6-0

Hong Kong F3 Futures
Victoria Park Tennis Court
June 18-24, 2016

Men's Singles Final
(1)Andrew Whittington (AUS) d. (q)Jumpei Yamasaki (JPN) 6-3 6-2

Official Ball 指定網球