Tennis: Second ITF Junior title for Singaporean Ethan Lye

Singaporean tennis player Ethan Lye (right) won his second International Tennis Federation Junior title in Hong Kong on Jan 20. The 16-year-old beat Tsai Chang-lin of Chinese Taipei 7-5 6-2 at the Victoria Park Tennis Court. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ETHAN LYE

SINGAPORE - En route to winning his second International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior title in Hong Kong on Saturday (Jan 20), Ethan Lye recorded a first at the Victoria Park Tennis Court: It was his first time finishing a tournament on his own.

Explaining that he usually travels to tournaments overseas with fellow Singaporean tennis players Robin Cheng and Justin Oeni, or his mother Vera, Ethan said: "They lost a bit earlier in the tournament so they left early and I spent the last two days of the tournament alone, so it was pretty tough especially with the Hong Kong supporters during the semi-finals, but I managed to play my own game and play some good tennis."

The 16-year-old defeated Hong Konger Kai Wai Yu 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals on Friday. He then recovered from being down a break in the first set of the final to beat Tsai Chang-Lin of Chinese Taipei 7-5, 6-2.

Reflecting on the "pretty long" match point in the final, the Sydney-based Ethan said: "I was just defending on the last point and he eventually hit a forehand unforced error into the net.

"My opponent is a pretty big guy, he hits really well so I was trying to make him move a lot and wear him down... I think it paid off in the second set."

While he hopes to improve on his strength and on developing a bigger serve, the Year 11 student at McDonald College is pleased with his performance at the Jan 15-20 tournament.

"I thought I did well to try and figure out holes in my opponents' games and exposing them, as well as just handling myself with everything - like waking up on time and making sure I check out of the hotel without leaving anything behind," he said.

"Normally my mum reminds me to do things here and there, but now I'm more of my own person and it's good that I've showed I can handle things myself. These are good learning points and it shows where I'm at with my maturity and how I handle myself on and off court."

Ethan landed his first ITF Junior title last September in Sydney and although he acknowledged his victory in Hong Kong as a significant confidence booster, he noted: "This is a good win for me, but it's still a small tournament in terms of the big leagues. Most of my friends are playing in the Australian Open junior tournament and that's what I'm looking to get to, hopefully by next year.

"I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing, trusting my coaches and family, trusting the process of tennis and just keep going."

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