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Coleman Wong hauled in another Grand Slam title when he teamed up with Bruno Kuzuhara to beat Aldolfo Vallejo and Alex Michelsen to capture the Australian Open boys’ doubles title.  Trailing 2-1 in the second set tiebreak, the HK-American duo turned it up a notch to win the next five points in a row to pull away before settling for a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory on Margaret Court Arena.

“Thank you to all the Hong Kong fans who came to watch me, those back home and here this week who supported me, my mom and dad. You know who you are! I would like to thank my sponsors as well. They really helped me a lot because I didn’t play for one year and two months.  I’m very happy to win my second Grand Slam.  The first one is US and now in Australia, it was unbelievable!” said Wong after receiving the trophy on court.

HKTA President, Philip Mok, enthused: “It’s great to see him win his second junior slam title.  Obviously, he has the potential and right attitude to succeed and all the tennis fans would love to see him make a push for the pro circuit, ATP Tour, and compete in the men’s Grand Slams and make some big waves for Hong Kong tennis.”

Wong and Kuzuhara, the No. 2 seed, took the first set with a lone break of serve and threatened to run away with the match when they secured an early break to lead 2-1 in the second.  It appeared to be plain sailing until Wong was serving for the title with a 5-4 lead in hand, but Michelsen produced a forehand winner on break point to force a 5-5 stalemate to stay afloat.  Vallejo and Kuzuhara then both held to take proceedings into a tiebreak.  Yet, Wong and Kuzuhara were able to raise their game when it mattered most, and they conjured four mini-breaks in all to take command of the breaker.

Last year, Wong partnered Max Westphal of France to lift the US Open boys’ doubles title and thus became the first player from Hong Kong to win a Grand Slam title since Patricia Hy’s triumph in girls’ doubles at Wimbledon back in 1983.  With the victory here today at Melbourne Park, Wong, currently ranked at a new career-high No. 15, is now Hong Kong’s only multiple Grand Slam winner.

Paraguay’s Vallejo, world-ranked No. 5, had gotten the better of Kuzuhara in the final to win the Orange Bowl B18 singles title just last month.  The American, however, avenged that defeat earlier this morning by beating Vallejo in the boys’ singles semifinals.

Wong partnered Kuzuhara for the first time only a week ago at the Grade 1 Traralgon where they finished runners-up.  The Paraguayan is no slouch in doubles play either for he has previously reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2021 and the final of the Orange Bowl in 2020.  Vallejo and Michelsen had earlier upset Czech No. 7 seed Jakub Mensik and Hynek Barton en route to today’s final. 

Earlier in the semifinals, Wong and Kuzuhara held their service games with authority and never faced a break point from start to finish.  They shrewdly broke third-seeded Frenchman Gabriel Debru and Swiss Kilian Feldbausch once in either set to advance with a no-nonsense, 6-4, 6-4, victory.

In the onset of the quarterfinal against 60th-ranked Daniele Minighini and 119th-ranked Niccolo Ciavarella, Wong and Kuzuhara were uncharacteristically lackadaisical in the early going and ended up dropping the opening set 6-4 against the Italians.  As it turned out, that was the wake-up call they needed and the HK-American duo responded swiftly to right the ship by dominating the second to send matters to a deciding super-tiebreak.  They proceeded to engineer five subsequent winners, with Wong throwing down a 127mph flat T bomb from the deuce court to end the contest emphatically, 4-6, 6-0, [10-7].

The most challenging encounter for Wong and Kuzuhara was unquestionably against Cypriot Constantinos Koshis and Turk Togan Tokac in the first round where they battled to string points adequately together to break their opponents’ serve.  They were forced to save three crucial break points in the second set and weathered the storm long enough before digging deep to carve out a tough, 2-6, 7-6(2), [10-6] win that was in the end facilitated by a double-fault on match point.

Seeded 12th for the boys’ singles, Wong thoroughly outplayed his lower-ranked opponents in the first couple of rounds, beating Aussie wildcard Amor Jasika, 6-0, 6-2, and 69th-ranked Togan Tokac of Turkey, 6-2, 6-2.  However, against No. 7 seed Edas Butvilas of Lithuania in the third round, Wong was unable to convert four early break point chances and ended up conceding the first set in a tiebreak, 7-4.  On the contrary, Butvilas managed to capitalise on a pair of break opportunities to break serve twice in the ensuing set to forge a runaway 7-6(4), 6-1, victory.

Australian Open Junior Championships
Melbourne Park
January 22-29, 2022

Boys’ Doubles
First Round
(2)Coleman Wong/Bruno Kuzuhara (HKG/USA) d. Constantinos Koshis/Togan Tokac (CYP/TUR) 2-6 7-6(2) [10-6]

Second Round
(2)Coleman Wong/Bruno Kuzuhara (HKG/USA) d. Matthew Donald/Jakub Nicod (CZE) 6-3 6-4

(2)Coleman Wong/Bruno Kuzuhara (HKG/USA) d. Niccolo Ciavarella/Daniele Minighini (ITA) 4-6 6-0 [10-7]

(2)Coleman Wong/Bruno Kuzuhara (HKG/USA) d. (3)Gabriel Debru/Kilian Feldbausch (FRA/SUI) 6-4 6-4

(2)Coleman Wong/Bruno Kuzuhara (HKG/USA) d. Adolfo Vallejo/Alex Michelsen (PAR/USA) 6-3 7-6(3)

Boys’ Singles
First Round
(12)Coleman Wong (HKG) d. (WC)Amor Jasika (AUS) 6-0 6-2

Second Round
(12)Coleman Wong (HKG) d. Togan Tokac (TUR) 6-2 6-2

Third Round
(7)Edas Butvilas (LTU) d. (12)Coleman Wong (HKG) 7-6(4) 6-1

Photo: @arckphoto