Photo: Dr Wee Thian YewJapan at WJT Final Qualifying in Kuching, Malaysia
The third day of the Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying event for World Junior Tennis in Kuching brought together the seeds for their final tie in round robin group play and promised some exciting matchups.
First seeds Japan struggled from the outset against Hong Kong with Alan Sou (HKG) playing brilliantly to beat Daisuke Sumizawa 63 61 in the opening match. Yonosuke Tanaka continued his good form at No. 1 for Japan, evening the tie at 1-1 with a straight sets win. With the doubles evenly poised a tremendous thunderstorm struck and players were forced off court for two hours. They returned briefly but play was interrupted again and the tie will be completed tomorrow morning.
Second seeds India look to be favourites for the title as they swept aside Korea in both singles to finish top of Group B. Australia (4) had to fight hard to get past Chinese Taipei. No. 1 Alexei Popyrin was forced to play his best tennis by the diminutive Tsung Hao Huang, getting through 76 46 62 to ensure Australia finished top of Group D.
Group C featured Thailand and China, seeded 3rd and 5th respectively, and a close tie was expected. However, China gained the ascendency winning both singles in straight sets to claim top spot.
Host nation Malaysia scored their first win of the week, taking both singles against Kazakhstan. Ryan Lee got his team off to a good start with a quick two-set win. Teammate Alvin Teng then fought back from a one set deficit to outlast Dastan Tashbulatov in the hot and humid conditions.
In other ties Vietnam beat Pakistan, Indonesia beat Phlippines and the tie between Uzbekistan and Singapore was called off for the day because of rain after the singles were shared.
At the end of the round robin phase India, China and Australia go through to the knockout section as group winners joined by second placed teams Thailand, Korea, and Chinese Taipei.
They will be joined by Japan and Hong Kong China with the draw determined after these two teams complete their tie on Thursday morning. The other eight nations will play off for positions 9 to 16 over the next three days.