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2021-03-29

Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships 2021

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Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships 2021

The blue riband events of this year’s Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships 2021 went to Ethan Leung and Ophelia Tang, with the former defeating Dasson Chan 6-3, 6-1 to lift the under-18 boys』 singles title, while the latter beat Hannah Shen 6-3, 6-2 to capture the under-18 girls』 singles crown.  Meanwhile, Walter Tam, the under-10 champion from 2017-19, beat Takuto Matsuo in straight sets to win the under-12 boys』 singles title for the second year running.

Ms Blanche Wong, General Manager, Public Relations of Nissin Foods HK Co Ltd, presided over the prize presentation ceremony following Sunday’s finale at Victoria Park Tennis Stadium.

「I’m satisfied with my performance this week. Last year, Dasson played amazing, and he was the better player.  This time, I played more sensible, tried to make less mistakes and not giving away the point easily, but also being aggressive at the same time,」 said Leung.

Last year, Ethan Leung finished runner-up to Dasson Chan in the B16 final. This is the second year in a row Chan has made the B18 final following his runner-up finish to Oscar Wai in 2020.  Over on the girls』 side, Ophelia Tang, having already captured the G10 title in 2016, G12 in 2018, and both G14 and G16 in 2020, has now completed the full set of age group wins by adding the G18 crown to her collection.  She is the first player to accomplish this feat since the introduction of under-10 singles at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships in 2001.

In the B18 final, No. 4 seed Dasson Chan was unable to make any inroads on his opponent’s service games, as the second seed did not face a single break point from start to finish.  Instead, Leung produced breaks midway through the first and added another right at the end to pocket the opener, 6-3.  In the second, Leung strung together a three-game run in the beginning and then added another towards the end that was highlighted by an ace on match point to complete a 6-3, 6-1 victory.

In the B18 doubles final, No. 2 seed Ethan Leung/Malhar Rajpal and Caymus Choi/Johnny Lee, the top seed, split the opening two sets to arrive at the third set super-tiebreak.  Lee served first and conceded a mini break right away.  Then, a period of seesawing took place, as the next four servers also coughed up a mini break each to take the score to 5-4 in favour of Leung/Rajpal.  From there, they wrestled the next five points, including two mini breaks off Choi, to win 6-3, 2-6, [10-4].

In the G18 final, No. 2 seed Ophelia Tang began her quest with urgent intent, as she swiftly established a no-nonsense double break, 4-0 lead against 4th-seeded Hannah Shen.  Although her opponent managed to break back when Tang served for the set leading 5-1, it was not enough to curtail the second seed’s attempt to wrap up the opener 6-3 in the ninth game.  After the players exchanged a service break to start the second, Tang won five games on the trot to exert a 5-1 stranglehold on proceedings.  A couple of games later, even though she had to save two break points from 15-40 down, she held serve to register a 6-3, 6-2 victory.

「It’s amazing.  I’d never make it without my family, coaches and friends.  Sometimes, it’s not about winning, it’s about not giving up,」 Tang remarked matter-of-factually.

In the B16 singles final, No. 7 seed Eren Cheung served for the first set leading 5-4 but top-seeded Dasson Chan managed to produce a love break to force a 5-5 tie.  Then in the tiebreak, Chan conceded three mini breaks, while Cheung held all his serves to win it 7-2.  Chan, the defending champ, fought back to give himself a double break 3-0 lead in the second only to see his opponent give up just 3 points on serve to run off with the next six games to seal the upset win 7-6(2), 6-3. 

Cheung already had prior success at the Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships, as he claimed the B10 and B12 titles in 2016 and 2018 respectively, and was a runner-up in the B14s last year.  Qualifier Bryan Hui notched his best outing at the HK Nationals when he knocked out No. 3 seed Max Kwok in the last sixteen and 6th-seeded Wang Sui Lun in the quarters before No. 1 seed Dasson Chan upended him in the semis.

In the B16 doubles final, Joshua Kim/Wong Tsz Fu, having taken out No. 1 seed Max Kwok/Curtis Tan in the semis, were deadlocked at a set apiece with No. 2 seed Dasson Chan/Wang Sui Lun.  In the ensuing super-tiebreak, the unseeded duo broke Wang twice in the early going to jump out to a morale-boosting 5-0 lead that gave them a sufficient cushion to ward off a potential fightback from the No. 2.  Although Kim and Fu yielded a service break each midway through, they did well enough to force a pair of mini breaks off Chan to extend their advantage to the end, winning it 10-4.

In the G16s, top seed Ophelia Tang, the defending champion, faced off with 2nd-seeded Chloris Li in a repeat of last year’s final.  In their most recent encounter this February, Li won their SCAA Open girls』 singles final in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.  Here at VP, the two exchanged a pair of early breaks to take the opening set to 3-3 when Tang broke Li again and took the last three games in a row to pocket the set, 6-3.

The second set was a carbon copy of the first, only this time, it was Li who broke serve in the eighth game, grabbing the last three games in a row from 3-3 to draw even at a set apiece.   Tang responded by starting the third set with a love hold, broke Li to go up 2-0, and then consolidating without losing a point on serve to establish a solid 3-0 advantage. 

After both held to love for 4-1, Li saved four consecutive break points from 0-40 down to hold serve.  She strong-armed the next eight points to bring her back to a level-pegging 4-4 with everything now to play for.  Although the No. 1 seed did well to halt the onslaught and held serve to lead 5-4, Li dug deep to conjure another three-game spree to edge the defending champ 7-5 in what turned out to be a gruelling three-and-a-half-hour protracted baseline battle. 

In her career at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships, Chloris Li has captured the G12 title in 2017, the G14 in 2019, the G18 in 2020, and now the G16 in 2021.  In 2015, however, she finished runner-up to Yandy Shek in the G10 final.

Elsewhere, there was high drama towards the business end of the B14 final between No. 1 seed Jacob Shen and defending B12 winner, Walter Tam, who had previously captured three consecutive B10 titles from 2017-2019.  From 1-1 in the first, Shen proceeded to bag the set with a five-game run and then staked himself to a 2-0 lead in the second with a early break.  Shen broke again in the fifth game to lead 5-1 but Tam fought tooth and nail on his next serve, saving two match points while missing out four game points himself before he finally held to stay afloat, 5-2.

The tenacious Tam then saved four more match points in the ensuing game before breaking the top seed to claw his way back to 5-3.  Unfortunately, he was unable to convert a game point at 40-30 and even though he somehow perilously dodged match points No. 7 and No. 8, his mojo finally ran out on match point No. 9, as Shen eventually broke through for a 6-1, 6-3 victory.  This was Jacob Shen’s maiden singles title here at the Nationals following a second place finish in the B12s in 2019.

Although Antonio Lee/Jacob Shen yielded a service break to trail 2-0 in the beginning of the match, they proceeded to run away with the next eight games to lead 6-2 and 2-0 to stamp their authority in the final against No. 1 seed Howard Chan/Athan Yuen before they added another break late in the second to seal a 6-2, 6-3 victory to lift the B14 doubles title.

In the G14s, unseeded Vienna Lai, a semifinalist last year, knocked out No. 2 seed Yeung Tsz Lam, 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, in a hard-fought three-and-a-half-hour second round contest, then beat No. 4 seed Naomi Hagi in the semis before seeing off No. 1 seed Jane Wong in the final 6-3, 6-1 to lift her maiden singles title at the Nationals.  In the doubles, Rosalyn Chan/Jane Wong managed to upset top seed Fung Tak Sum/Vienna Lai, 6-3, 6-4, in the opening round and then overcame No. 2 seed Naomi Hagi/Yeung Tsz Lam in the final, 7-6(3), 6-4.

In B12 singles, defending champ Walter Tam never lost more than two points on serve dominated final proceedings against No. 7 Takuto Matsuo, as he won back-to-back titles with a 6-0, 6-0 victory.  「I am very happy to achieve good results at the Nationals. First of all, I want to thank coach for all the preparation work and training. I also want to thank my parents for their support and encouragement. I will work harder in future competitions and training,」 Tam enthused.

In G12 singles, qualifier Nitya Madduri broke No. 4 seed Hebe Leung right from the get go and consolidated to assume a quick-fire 2-0 lead.  She would maintain that advantage until 4-2 when Leung engineered successive breaks to take the next four games to secure the set 6-4.  The players then traded service breaks in the early going of the second to bring the score to 2-2.  After holding for 3-2, Leung was on the move again and broke Madduri to go up 4-2 only to see her opponent respond in kind when she failed to convert game point at 40-30.  The qualifier, too, had a chance to consolidate the break when she was serving with a 40-30 lead in hand but Leung knuckled down to grab the next three points and broke back to lead 5-3.  The No. 4 seed would not let the advantage slip by this time round and battled back from 0-30 to hold serve to procure a 6-4, 6-3 triumph.

Madduri did not go home empty-handed, however, as she partnered Ofelia Leitner to capture the G12 doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over No. 1 seed Charlotte Lam/Hebe Leung in the final.  In the B12 doubles, the duo of Wong Cho Lam/Selwyn Wong collaborated to beat 2nd-seeded Alex Hui/Morris Tang in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.

In the under-10 age group, second-seeded southpaw Kyle Wan beat Lok Chun Kiu, 4-1, 2-4, 4-1, to successfully defend his B10 singles title, while top-seeded Helena Liu defeated qualifier Hayden Wong, 4-1, 4-0, to capture the G10 title.

The only players to win back-to-back under-10 singles titles here at the Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships were Kevin Wong (2004-05), Robin Nguy (2006-07), and Walter Tam (2017-19) for the boys, while Katherine Ip (2004-05), Caroline Lampl (2006-07), and Cody Wong (2011-12) were the girls to accomplish this feat.

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Results
Nissin Hong Kong National Junior Tennis Championships
Victoria Park Tennis Stadium
Feb 22-Mar 28, 2021

 C H A M P I O NR U N N E R – U P
Boys』 Singles  
18 & UnderEthan LeungDasson Chan
16 & UnderEren CheungDasson Chan
14 & UnderJacob ShenWalter Tam
12 & UnderWalter TamTakuto Matsuo
10 & UnderKyle WanLok Chun Kiu
   
Boys』 Doubles  
18 & UnderEthan Leung/Malhar RajpalCaymus Choi/Johnny Lee
16 & UnderJoshua Kim/Wong Tsz FuDasson Chan/Wang Sui Lun
14 & UnderAntonio Lee/Jacob ShenHoward Chan/Athan Yuen
12 & UnderSelwyn Wong/Wong Cho LamAlex Hui/Morris Tang
   
Girls』 Singles  
18 & UnderOphelia TangHannah Shen
16 & UnderChloris LiOphelia Tang
14 & UnderVienna LaiJane Wong
12 & UnderHebe LeungNitya Madduri
10 & UnderHelena LiuHayden Wong
   
Girls』 Doubles  
18 & UnderNot HeldNot Held
16 & UnderChloris Li/Erica HagiKok Pak Ying/Sheanna Mutthumani
14 & UnderRosalyn Chan/Jane WongNaomi Hagi/Yeung Tsz Lam
12 & UnderOfelia Leitner/Nitya MadduriCharlotte Lam/Hebe Leung