Chinese tennis players grabbed two golds and one silver at the Hangzhou Asiad, while veterans and rising stars from across Asia shone during the tournament.
by sportswriters Li Bowen, Chen Chen and Li Dian
HANGZHOU, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The seven days of tennis at the Hangzhou Asian Games have left no regrets for some veterans, while several rookies have showcased their promising talent to the world.
With 11 athletes competing in all five events, China grabbed two golds and one silver. US Open quarterfinalist Zheng Qinwen clinched her first Asiad gold after emerging victorious in an all-Chinese women's singles final over Zhu Lin, while Zhang Zhizhen captured China's first men's singles gold medal in nearly three decades, with both Zheng and Zhang securing tickets to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Fellow Chinese Wu Yibing was shocked by Coleman Wong of Hong Kong, China in the third round.
China failed to achieve desired results in doubles events as all six pairs were eliminated in the early rounds.
However, more promising stars are cropping up on the stage of the Asian Games.
Alexandra Eala of the Philippines made a great comeback in the quarterfinal after suffering a 0-6 defeat in the first set, winning the other two sets 7-5, 6-0 to set up a semifinal clash with Zheng.
Eala also saved several match points and caused Zheng a lot of trouble, before finally settling for two bronzes in the women's singles and mixed doubles.
"Eala, only 18, is a talented player with a promising future," said Zheng of her semifinal opponent.
Wong created the biggest surprise of the tournament by saving five match points to defeat Wu, who had taken a silver medal at Jakarta 2018.
Chinese Taipei made a breakthrough by claiming their first men's doubles title and achieving a 1-2 finish in the women's doubles. They also took a silver in the mixed doubles.
While medalists have left their mark on the Asian Games, other players who had slim chances of glory have also made memories in Hangzhou.
Pakistan's duo of Aqeel Khan and Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi, who compete in the men's doubles, are both 43 years old, and Khan has competed at seven Asian Games in a row.
"This guy is a legend. It's an honor to be with him," Qureshi said of his teammate. "We fitted together in 1998. We are always going to try our best. We really want to win a medal for Pakistan."
Ushna Suhail failed to win a single game against Zhu in the women's singles second round, but the 30-year-old Pakistani said she was happy about her Hangzhou experience.
"I think coming here and playing in China is a good experience. We can make friends here and the Chinese people are very welcoming," Suhail said.
Stepping onto the Asiad center court and facing Zhang Zhizhen in the second round felt like a dream for Ammar Faleh Alhogbani of Saudi Arabia, despite his 7-5, 6-2 defeat.
"It was my first experience playing in front of so many people. Knowing that my opponent is No. 60 in the world and he did really well at the US Open, he was an amazing player. I learned a lot about myself and I'm proud of my performance," the 25-year-old said.