Sat, 13 May 2000

Angelique qualifies for Jr French Open

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's girls player Angelique Widjaja qualifies for the junior singles main draw of the French Open, given her world ranking of 38.

Indonesia has qualified many girl players for the prestigious tournament, but only few of them, including Yayuk Basuki, showed consistency in pursuing their careers up to senior level.

The only obstacle, however, stopping Angie, nicknamed Angelique, from competing in one of the Grand Slam series is a financial shortage. The junior event will be staged at Roland Garros from June 4 to June 11.

Angie's father, Rico Widjaja, recalled how difficult it was for his 15-year-old daughter to enter the prestigious tournament. He said he expected financial support for Angie.

Spokesman for the Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) Benny Mailili also urged the association to help fund Angie's transportation and accommodation costs in France.

"We have another junior player who qualified for the French Open. We should not let this opportunity go. Pelti should support her because it is responsible for junior players' development. The senior players are encouraged to find their own sponsors," he said.

Angie shone in the main draw's first round of the Asia Oceania zone qualifying round of the NEC World Youth Cup 2000 on Friday, where Indonesia won 3-0 against New Zealand.

She fought hard to beat Eden Marama 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the second singles match. Teammate Novianti earlier opened the path to victory, defeating Tanja Markovic 6-2, 5-7, 8-6.

Partnering Diana Nur Fatimah, Angie beat Marama's sisters Eden and Paula 7-5, 7-6 (7-3) in the doubles event. The Indonesia's girls team will face South Korea in the second round on Saturday.

South Korea team of Lee Bit-na, Hong Da-jung and Kim Hye-mi had no difficulty defeating Thailand 3-0 on Friday.

Indonesian girls team coach Meiske Handayani Wiguna said her players must perform all-out to be able to land a place in Sunday's final. The top three teams of the qualifying round will earn the final berth for the world group scheduled in Hiroshima, Japan.

"Our players have ability almost equal to the South Koreans. The key to victory lies in Novi's hands. Angie will have no difficulties playing Kim because both players know each others' skills. Angie beat Kim in Thailand recently," Meiske said.

In another main draw, China will face Chinese Taipei on Saturday. China beat Australia 2-1 while Chinese Taipei defeated India 3-0.

Indonesia's boys team continued to the second round of the consolation match after a 3-0 victory over the Philippines. Indonesia will next face Uzbekistan.

The boys main draw will pitch Chinese Taipei against Hong Kong, and China against Australia. On Friday, Chinese Taipei beat Thailand 2-1, Hong Kong beat India 2-1, China beat New Zealand 3- 0 and Australia defeated South Korea 3-0.(ivy)