10 July 2019 | Tennis Australia

Japan’s Keio University won The Belt and Road Chengdu-Australian Open University Tennis Championship at Sichuan International Tennis Centre in Chengdu, China on Sunday.

The six-player team hailing from Tokyo defeated Korea’s Myongji University 5-0 in the final to win an all-expenses paid trip to attend the Australian Open in January 2020.

Keio University won all five ties during the tournament and outpowered England’s Leeds Beckett University in the semifinals to book its spot in the the final round.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University finished in third place.

Keio University’s team captain Maria Mukai said the opportunity to play the Australian Open University Tennis Championship in Chengdu was an unforgettable experience.

“We’ve never had the chance to participate in this kind of tournament overseas. We were nervous at first because we had never played against an international tennis team before, it was the first time for everyone in the team,” Mukai said.

“To travel to Melbourne to watch the Australian Open is a dream come true for the team. To experience a different culture and atmosphere will be an amazing opportunity for us.”

Keio University Head Coach Sotara Hara added, ”We are proud of our team work. We wanted to win this tournament and we put a lot of effort in as a team.

“We were excited to participate in this tournament and to compete against each university. It was an amazing experience.”

Tournament Director Jia Jiyue was pleased the tournament ran smoothly.

“The Belt and Road Chengdu-Australian Open University Tennis Championship was a great success with plenty of exciting tennis and activities off court,” he said.

“The players and coaches were able to experience Chengdu first hand and in turn promote The Belt and Road initiative.

“We look forward to next year’s tournament and hope players one day return to Chengdu for another visit.”

Tennis Australia Director of International Business Ben Slack agreed it was a fantastic week of high quality tennis in Chengdu.

“The second edition of The Belt and Road Chengdu-Australian Open University Tennis Championship has been very successful,” Slack said.

“Congratulations to our winners, Keio University from Japan. The team were too strong for their opponents all week.

“We saw competitive play from all universities and we hope they enjoyed their stay in Chengdu and the opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.”

Featuring some of the best university level tennis players from around the world, eight universities entered a team of men and women to compete in a round-robin tournament across singles, doubles and mixed doubles divisions.

The universities were also treated to a sightseeing tour of Chengdu, Sichuan University and visited the city’s giant panda research base during their trip.

The following universities who competed this year included:

• Sichuan University, China
• Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
• The University of Queensland, Australia
• Keio University, Japan
• Myongji University, Korea
• National University of Singapore, Singapore
• Leeds Beckett University, England
• The Academic College at Wingate, Israel

In 2018, Tennis Australia partnered with the city of Chengdu to launch The Belt and Road Chengdu-Australian Open University Tennis Championship to help boost the presence of Chengdu on the sporting map.

England’s Loughborough University won the first edition of the tournament last year.