Aussies dominate in Asia
James Duckworth won the Toyota Challenger in Japan at the weekend, one of several Aussies enjoying strong results in Asia.
James Duckworth has won his third Challenger title of the season with victory at Japan’s Toyota Challenger.
Duckworth claimed the trophy with a 7-5 4-6 6-1 win over local Tatsuma Ito.
Earlier in the tournament, he beat top seed Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets.
Duckworth has now won 16 of his past 18 matches and verges on a return to the world’s top 100 – he is projected to rise to No.104 when the new rankings are released.
Another Aussie, Luke Saville, enjoyed a semifinal finish in Toyota, beating No.6 seed Duckhee Lee en route to the last four before losing to Ito in three tight sets.
At the concurrent $50,000 women’s tournament, Queensland teen Lizette Cabrera continued her stunning form to reach her first professional final on foreign soil.
The 18-year-old, who’d won recent Australian Pro Tour titles in Tweed Heads and Brisbane, won four matches before going down to No.2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-2 6-4.
Along the way she beat top seed Kurumi Nara – Cabrera’s first top 100 scalp – and turned the tables on defending champ Jana Fett in the quarterfinals, who’d beaten her just a few weeks earlier in Canberra.
She is expected to rise to No.226 in the latest WTA rankings after going 21-5 since mid August.
Meanwhile, fellow young gun Ash Barty made an impressive return to the courts in Taipei after four months on the sidelines.
Barty reached the quarterfinals at the Taiwanese WTA 125K event before having to retire with an abdominal injury against Evgeniya Rodina.
But prior to that she’d scored two encouraging wins – one over top 100 player Maria Sakkari – to take her win-loss record in 2016 to 14-4.
And it wasn’t only on the singles court that Aussies were enjoying success.
Matt Reid and John-Patrick Smith combined to win the doubles title at the Toyota Challenger with a 6-3 6-4 win over Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Christopher Rungkat.
Reid and Smith, the top seeds, did not drop a set all week in Toyota.
Reid moves to a career-high doubles ranking of No.78 while Smith rises to 80th.