Asia's hope for maiden grand slam dashed at U.S. Open

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Asia’s wait for a first grand slam singles winner goes on.

Chan Yung-Jan of Taiwan hits a return during her match against Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, September 4, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

As Chan Yung-Jan, of Taiwan, walked off court having taken just one game off top seed Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday, the continent’s interest in this year’s final grand slam dwindled.

Asia’s failure to get a single player into the fourth round of either the men’s or women’s draw at Flushing Meadows is a disappointing outlay bearing in mind the promise shown of late by a growing hotbed of tennis talent.

Asia looked set to break its grand slam duck at January’s Australian Open when Chinese duo Li Na and Zheng Jie reached the semi-finals.

But the rest of the 2010 proved disappointing with just three more quarter-finalists in the subsequent grand slams, Li and Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan at Wimbledon and Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova at the French Open.

Asia’s longest-lasting player at the current U.S. Open, Chan Yung-Jan, is not overly concerned about the continent’s poor showing in New York.

“For our country it’s better for us - it’s the best result we’ve ever had,” said the world number 77. “I know everyone’s out of the tournament from Asia but we are growing all the time and Asian tennis is getting better.”

In all, there are six men in the world’s top 100 but the continent’s male contingent boast just one grand slam quarter-final spot in the last 15 years courtesy of Lu in London in July.

A first Asian grand slam winner looks far likelier to come from the current crop of women, who boast nine players in the top 100, including the 21-year-old Chan.

“You never know who’s going to make the breakthrough and when,” she said. “For the moment, everybody is working hard and you never know what’s going to happen next but, if we keep doing things right, then we’re going to do it.”

Editing by Frank Pingue