Rising seventeen-year-old Coleman Wong and Max Westphal of France combined to beat the 8th-seeded Roland Garros Junior Championships semifinalists Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine and Petr Nesterov of Bulgaria 6-3, 5-7, [10-1] to lift the US Open boys’ doubles title on Sunday at Flushing Meadows. The only other Junior Grand Slam winner from Hong Kong was Patricia Hy, who captured the girls’ doubles crown at Wimbledon in 1983 together with American Patty Fendick. The furthest a Hong Kong boys’ doubles pairing has gone previously in a Junior Grand Slam was Kester Ng and Rolf Harrison’s semifinal showing at Wimbledon in 1985.
Wong said after the final: “I want to thank my family and all the fans back home for supporting me. I faced some very tough opponents here this week and all five matches were decided by a third set super-tiebreak. I want to thank the HKTA for sending a coach, who’s been travelling with me for the past 3 months helping me with my training and preparations to get back on track after the long layoff. I’m very happy with the win today.”
Wong and Westphal dominated the opening set, as they produced an array of winners to break their opponents three times while committing just four unforced errors. In the second set, Bielinskyi and Nesterov improved their first serve percentage dramatically and managed to break the Hong Kong-French duo twice to even proceedings at a set apiece. However, Wong and Westphal dominated play in the third set, capitalising on 5 of 6 mini-breaks in all to run away with the super-tiebreak by the score of 10-1.
Wong and Westphal have collaborated once before when they reached the semifinals at the J1 College Park a week prior to the US Open. Westphal, who reached a career-high No. 24 in January, reached the final of the J1 Roehampton with world No. 2 Samir Banerjee earlier this summer. Wong, on the other hand, was a finalist at the JB1 Seogwipo Asia/Oceania Closed Junior Championships at the tail end of 2019, won the J1 Nonthaburi in 2020, and peaked at No. 16 on the ITF junior world rankings before the global pandemic hit.
Wong and Westphal were set to face No. 1 seed Jerome Kym and Jack Pinnington Jones in the second round but their opponents withdrew due to injury and in came American alternates Ryan Colby and Aidan Kim, who still took the Hong Kong-French duo to a third set super breaker. Earlier in the first round, Wong and Westphal dug deep to eliminate reigning Wimbledon boys’ doubles champion Edas Butvilas of Lithuania and Alejandro Manzanera of Spain with a hard-fought come from behind victory, 3-6, 7-6(1), [10-4]. Both Manzanera and Butvilas are amongst the top 25 in singles on the ITF junior world rankings.
From 2015-2016, Coleman won back-to-back under-12 boys’ singles titles at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships. In 2017, he was the first player from Hong Kong to reach the Longines Future Tennis Aces final in Paris since the event’s inception back in 2010. In 2018, he beat American No. 1 Victor Lilov, 7-6(3), 6-4, to become the first player from Hong Kong to capture the Junior Orange Bowl B14 singles title. Lilov was the then reigning Les Petit As winner and the 2016 Junior Orange Bowl B12 champion. Coleman also featured prominently in singles and doubles on the Hong Kong Junior Davis Cup teams that came 4th and 2nd respectively in Asia/Oceania in 2018 and 2019 that qualified for the World Finals both years. In 2019, at 15 Years and 100 Days, he became the youngest player to represent Hong Kong in the Davis Cup when he played opposing No. 1 Jason Jung in the opening singles in the Group II tie against Chinese Taipei.
He is currently on his way to Jordan to join the Hong Kong Davis Cup team where the Asia/Oceania Zone Group III Qualifying is taking place this year. Hong Kong, China, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pacific Oceania, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Syria, and Vietnam will vie for three places to contest the 2022 World Group II Play-offs.
US Open Junior Championships
Flushing Meadows, New York
September 6-11, 2021
Coleman Wong/Max Westphal (HKG/FRA) d. (8)Viacheslav Bielinskyi/Petr Nesterov (UKR/BUL) 6-3 5-7 [10-1]
Coleman Wong/Max Westphal (HKG/FRA) d. Bruno Kuzuhara/Mili Poljicak (USA/CRO) 6-4 4-6 [10-4]
Coleman Wong/Max Westphal (HKG/FRA) d. (WC)Jack Anthrop/Benjamin Kittay (USA) 4-6 6-3 [10-7]
Coleman Wong/Max Westphal (HKG/FRA) d. (A)Ryan Colby/Aidan Kim (USA) 4-6 7-5 [10-6]
Coleman Wong/Max Westphal (HKG/FRA) d. Edas Butvilas/Alejandro Manzanera (LTU/ESP) 3-6 7-6(1) [10-4]
Photo: arckphoto / arckimages.com