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2022-07-18

COLEMAN WONG A JUNIOR WIMBLEDON QUARTERFINALIST

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COLEMAN WONG A JUNIOR WIMBLEDON QUARTERFINALIST

Competing in his last Wimbledon as a junior, Coleman Wong arrived at the All England Club in relative good form, having just made the semifinals of the ITF Grade 1 Roehampton a week earlier.  The 18-year-old managed to produce his best showings at Wimbledon by reaching the last eight in both boys』 singles and doubles.   All the while, he was busy filming a multimedia production by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) called All on the Line, which takes viewers behind the curtains for a glimpse of life on the tennis tour of a top junior with aspirations to becoming a full-time professional player.

Watch on YouTube: All on the Line: Coleman Wong

In defeating No. 9 seed and Roland Garros semifinalist Dino Prizmic of Croatia, 7-5, 6-2, en route to the boys』 singles quarterfinal at this year’s Wimbledon, Wong cemented his place as the first player from Hong Kong to reach that stage of the championships, bettering Sven Koehler’s effort back in 1992 when the southpaw dismissed Mahesh Bhupathi of India on the way to the third round.  Kester Ng and Rolf Harrison’s semifinal in 1985, however, remains Hong Kong’s best result in the boys』 doubles at SW19.

Against 70th-ranked American qualifier Jonah Braswell, 12th-ranked Croatian Dino Prizmic, and 26th-ranked Peter Privara of Slovakia in the first three rounds, Wong was able to overcome some tricky situations to grab the opening set to set himself up for the win.  Against 24th-ranked Michael Zheng, however, break point opportunities were few and far between and even though his opponent’s first serve percentage was not overly impressive, the American managed to come good on 67% of his second deliveries compared to just 41% for the HK rep, while committing fewer unforced errors (16 versus 28).  Both held three break points against one another overall, but Zheng took advantage of one in each set, and that in the end was the difference that resulted in a 6-4, 6-3 victory for his opponent, who would go all the way to the final.

The most eye-catching result from Zheng this year had been his effort at the M15 Orange Park in Florida where, as a qualifier, he won six consecutive matches before falling to Chinese No. 2 Wu Yibing, 7-6(4), 7-5.   The American is a blue-chip, five-star recruit from New Jersey and ranked 4th on tennisrecruiting.net’s College Recruiting List, who is expected to head to Columbia University this Fall.

Contrarily, Wong has enjoyed a spectacular past 10 months, having collected two Junior Grand Slam doubles titles, the first Hong Kong boy to do so.  The maiden victory came at the US Open 2021 where he teamed up with Max Westphal of France to beat No. 8 seed Viacheslav Bielinskyi of Ukraine and Petr Nesterov of Bulgaria 6-3, 5-7, [10-1] in the finale.  Remarkably, the HK-French duo won every round courtesy of a third set super-tiebreak.  Then, at the Australian Open Junior Championships 2022, he partnered with American Bruno Kuzuhara to capture his second Junior Grand Slam boys』 doubles title, defeating Alex Michelsen/Daniel Vallejo (USA/PAR) 6-3, 7-6(3), in the title match.

Wong had experienced quite a rapid progression up the ranks, winning back-to-back under-12 boys』 singles titles at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships in 2015 and 2016.  In 2017, he became the first player from Hong Kong to reach the Longines Future Tennis Aces final in Paris and was a point away from winning the title.  In 2018, he beat American No. 1 Victor Lilov, the then reigning Les Petit As winner, 7-6(3), 6-4, to become the first player from Hong Kong to capture the Junior Orange Bowl B14 singles title.  He 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. 

Related Story: Boys garner maiden top 8 finish at World Finals

In 2019, he became the youngest player to represent Hong Kong in the Davis Cup at age 15 Years and 100 Days when he suited up for the opening singles in the Group II tie against Chinese Taipei.  Two months later, he defeated No. 2 seed Brian Yeung, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1, to become the youngest-ever CRC Open men’s singles champion.  In March 2020, he picked up his first Grade 1 title in Thailand and cracked the ITF top 20.  However, his progress was hampered by the pandemic and forced to sit out for over a year before returning to competition in May 2021 after the ITF World Tennis Tour resumed.

In January 2022, Wong captured his first pro circuit title when he teamed up with 18-year-old Spaniard Marc Ktiri to capture the M15 Manacor men’s doubles title, and joins John Hui, Yu Hiu Tung, Brian Yeung, Kevin Wong, and Jack Wong as the only men’s pro circuit titleholders from Hong Kong.

Shortly after the US Open in 2021, he started to train full-time at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain.  Returning to Hong Kong for the first time in almost a year, he said to a group of local reporters at Chek Lap Kok: 「I’m so happy and excited to see my family. I haven’t seen them in a while and I haven’t spoken Cantonese for a long time!  I never thought I’d be out on the road for such a long time at first, but I am thrilled to have captured two Grand Slam doubles, which was unexpected.  I hope I can continue to work hard for good results.」

He was originally nominated to represent Hong Kong at the Hangzhou Asian Games in September 2022 but the quadrennial event was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19.  He also expressed to the media that after taking a short break here in Hong Kong, he will get back to competition in September and hopefully make a concerted push for the US Open, the last Junior Grand Slam event of his career.  Then, he will move on to the pro circuit full-time.

Results
The Championships, Wimbledon
All England Club, London SW19
July 2-10, 2022

Boys』 Singles
First Round
Coleman Wong (HKG) d. (q)Jonah Braswell (USA) 7-6(4) 6-2

Second Round
Coleman Wong (HKG) d. (9)Dino Prizmic (CRO) 7-5 6-2

Third Round
Coleman Wong (HKG) d. Peter Privara (SVK) 7-5 7-5

Quarterfinal
Michael Zheng (USA) d. Coleman Wong (HKG) 6-4 6-3

Boys』 Doubles
First Round
Coleman Wong/Michael Zheng (HKG/USA) d. (3)Nishesh Basavareddy/Rodrigo Mendez (USA/MEX) 6-3 6-2

Second Round
Coleman Wong/Michael Zheng (HKG/USA) d. Luca Pow/Henry Searle (GBR) 6-3 6-7(11) [12-10]

Quarterfinal
(6)Jakub Mensik/Olaf Pieczkowski (CZE/POL) d. Coleman Wong/Michael Zheng (HKG/USA) 6-3 1-6 [10-6]

Photo: @arckphoto / arckimages.com