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Taiwan, China clinch tennis team golds

Taiwan shrugged off the absence of injured Wimbledon quarterfinalist Lu Yen-hsun to win their first Asian Games men’s tennis team gold yesterday with a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan.

Chen Ti gave Taiwan a flying start in the final with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Murad Inoyatov before world No 40 Denis Istomin pulled Uzbekistan level with a comfortable 6-4, 6-0 win over Yang Tsung-ha.

Yang and Yi Chu-huan then defeated Istomin and Inoyatov 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding doubles, clinching the gold on a fourth match point.

Meanwhile, yesterday at the Aoti Tennis Centre, Li Na led China to their first Asian Games women’s tennis team gold with a crushing victory over defending champions Taiwan.

Peng Shuai saw off Chang Kai-chen 6-3, 7-5 before world No 11 Li, who is only playing the team event in Guangzhou, over-powered Chan Yung-jan 6-1, 6-1 to secure the title.

“At the last Asian Games in Doha in 2006 we lost in the quarterfinals to Uzbekistan, so this time we were fully prepared,” said Li, a semifinalist at the Australian Open and quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.

Li insisted that she was right to opt out of the singles tournament which starts today.

“I discussed it with the national team staff before the Games. It was a good opportunity for the juniors to play at the Asian Games.”

World No 76 Peng, who had defeated Chang in their only previous meeting at Ponte Vedra Beach’s clay courts in the US earlier this year, admitted she can play better despite Li coming through the team event undefeated.

“I was very nervous. I didn’t play that well,” said the 24-year-old yesterday.

“I had played her before but today’s match was more important so I had a different feeling.”

Cambodia’s Bun Kenny and Orn Sambath return to the Guangzhou tennis courts this morning following their second round exit on Saturday to eventual gold medalists Taiwan in the men’s team event. Bun Kenny will take on Ageel Khan of Pakistan and Orn Sambath will come up against Qatari Jabor Al Mutawa in the first round of the men’s singles tournament.

The Cambodian pair are also slated to face Saudi Arabia’s Zaki Al Abdullah and Abdulmalek Burasais in the first round of the men’s doubles later today.  



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