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2021-05-14

Prudential Hong Kong National Tennis Championships 2021

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Prudential Hong Kong National Tennis Championships 2021

Kevin Wong never trailed, dictated much of the play, and popped some nice winners along the way to beat former ATP No. 208 David Souto, 6-3, 6-2, to capture his second career men’s singles title at the Prudential Hong Kong National Tennis Championships.  Eudice Chong, meanwhile, was able to step it up when it mattered most against wildcard entrant Sheena Masuda and broke the 18-year-old’s serve four times to carve out a straight-set 6-3, 6-3, victory to capture the ladies』 singles crown for the second year running.

Aside from an ace, opening couple of games of the men’s final saw Wong claim eight of the first nine points to break serve immediately for a 2-0 lead.  Although Souto did well to return the favour to break back for 2-2, Wong again took his chances well and pounced most opportunistically for another break to go up 4-2.  After committing a rare double-fault to lose serve, Wong reeled off six games on the trot from 4-3 to take total command.

Souto countered by going for more with his forehand but winners were far and few between, as Wong exploited his lack of consistency by directing traffic towards opposite sides of the court, moving the southpaw side-to-side before taking any short balls often for a clean winner up the line.  Serving for the match at 5-2, Wong dug himself a hole with sloppy play and faced break point down 30-40.  However, that was the last chance Souto got, as Wong’s determination held strong to prevail, 6-3, 6-2.

「I’ve not won here since 2019 but my form has actually picked up as the week went on.  I played pretty well and was on top of my game from start to finish in the final.  My body condition felt great and I left it all out there today,」 Wong said.

Earlier in the semifinals, Wong overcame the loss of the opening set to topple defending champion Brian Yeung, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and, in the process, ended the top seed’s 18-match winning streak to progress to the final.  On the other hand, the twenty-nine-year-old left-handed Souto, who played ten Davis Cup ties for his native Venezuela from 2010-2018, needed to win a pair of tough three-set matches against Patrik Brydolf and Ng Hao Yuan in order to get to the final.  He was forced to retire from professional tennis in 2015 with a career-ending elbow injury.  In all, he has captured 15 singles and 7 doubles Futures titles and reached a career-high No. 208 in singles (21 Apr 2014) and No. 307 in doubles (28 Apr 2014).  In April 2009, he was the 10th-ranked junior in the world.

In the ladies』 singles final played on Saturday, with the score tied at 2-2 in the first, Chong took advantage of some untidy serving from her opponent and broke through to grab a momentary 3-2 lead courtesy of a pair of double faults from Masuda.  The No. 1 seed wasted no time to consolidate the service break to take a 4-2 lead and produced some heavy forehands to force another break in the ninth game to clinch the set 6-3.

At the beginning of the second, Chong faced her only break point of the final when Masuda broke her to go up 1-0.  The defending champion addressed the impending deficit swiftly by answering with consecutive service breaks to strong-arm four games in a row to jump out to a 4-1 lead.

Ultimately, unforced errors kept Masuda from stringing together enough meaningful points to threaten the top seed, as Chong lost only two more points on serve the rest of the way to cement a 6-3, 6-3 triumph.  Last year, Chong beat fellow Fed Cupper Cody Wong in an enthralling final, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, to capture her maiden Hong Kong National ladies』 singles title.

「I’m very thankful to use this opportunity to get some matches in, and I’m looking forward to hopefully travel soon for international tournaments. The Prudential HK National Championships is one of the most prestigious tournaments, so I’m glad I was able to perform well and get the W today.」

In a thrilling men’s doubles title decider that went the distance to a third set super-tiebreak, Brian Yeung/Lee Hsin-Han and Kevin Wong/Jack Wong both had multiple match point opportunities to win but in the end, the Yeung/Lee combo avenged their defeat to Wong/Wong in last year’s final and came away with a 6-3, 5-7, [18-16] roller-coaster victory.

The ladies』 doubles title went to No. 1 seed Zhang Ling/Jennifer Sher after the duo saw off the challenge of Justine Leong/Kelly Leung in a third set super-tiebreak, 7-5, 3-6, [10-5].

The mixed doubles title went to No. 3 seed Kelvin Lam/Justine Leong, who defeated No. 2 seed Sunny Yue/Jacqueline Lam in the final in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.