Japan emerge as Asia-Oceania champs

Japan stamped their status as the top seeds of the Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying of the Junior Davis Cup at the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association Tennis Centre yesterday when they blanked surprise package Uzbekistan 3-0 in the final.

This is the second successive year that the Japanese have topped the competition after winning in India last year.

Shintaro Mochizuki started the ball rolling for the Land Of The Rising Sun with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Azizbek Dadabaev in the first singles and Shunsuke Mitsui followed up with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Olimjon Nabiev.

Kei Manaka and Shintaro rounded up the Japanese victory by beating Azizbek and Olimjon 6-3, 6-1 in the doubles.

In the play-off for third/fourth positions, Australia beat Hong Kong 2-0, with points coming from Cooper White and Leonard Tai Sach in the singles.

The doubles was not played with mutual agreement of both teams.

Japan, Uzbekistan, Australia and Hong Kong will play in the grand finals in Budapest, Hungary in September with the qualifiers from four other zones.

They are Europe (6 teams), South America (3), North/Central America & The Caribbean (2) and Africa (1).

Pacific Oceania and Singapore are demoted to the Pre-Final Qualifying next year.

Meanwhile, China beat South Korea 2-1 to finish in fifth spot while India were seventh after edging Philippines 2-0 and New Zealand came in ninth place following a 2-1 win over Thailand.

The 11th to 16th positions were filled up by Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Pacific Oceania and Singapore.

SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew, who is also the organising chairman, gave away the prizes and certificates to the winners.

The next competition that SLTA will be hosting is the Asia/Oceania Final Qualifying of the Junior Fed Cup at the same venue from Apr 16-21.

Participating countries are Australia, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Mongolia and host Malaysia. (Courtesy Theborneopost.com)