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Former Asian champion gives thumbs up to rising star
2007-10-28 04:40:38 Xinhua English

WUHAN, Central China, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) -- Xia Jiaping, the former Asian champion, on Sunday said that Wuhan teenager Zhou Yimiao will have a brighter future.

The 16-year-old teenager, who is competing in the 6th Chinese City Games tennis tournament, reached the second round of the women's singles on Sunday after beating Zhou Ya of Guangzhou 6-1,7-5, and still has the chance to claim four titles at the internal sports event only for juniors.

"She is the most talented and promising youngling in China, and those players even two years her senior might find them in a different league than Zhou," said Xia, who coached Zhou for almost four years.

"I believe Zhou will be next Li Na in China, and she will ensure a brighter future for the country."

The Wuhan-born player, who has seen her world ranking rocket from beyond one thousandth away to 485th this season, made her mark at an ITF event two weeks ago in Beijing where she won her first ever career title. Zhou defeated four seeded players, including the top three seeds, en route to winning the title.

Zhou has just helped Team Wuhan claim the team title on Wednesday and is also playing for more glory in women's singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the 10.25-11.3 Games.

"Zhou is good at serving and receiving, and plays much more aggressively than her peers," added Shanghai-based Xia. "Given the right care, the girl will be stepping into the elite of the tennis world."

According to Xia, some home coaches misguided the young players by teaching what they learned while they were competing.

"You have to tell them how to cope with various situations on the court, that is the most important thing," said Xia. "Live and learn. A good coach must catch up with the top class tennis, then share it with his players."

The 39-year-old Xia, who began to play tennis at the age of seven, won team and doubles titles at the Beijing Asian Games in 1990.

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