First Decathlon Tennis Events Held in Phnom Penh

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The National Tennis Center at the Cambodian Country Club has seen its fill of tennis players over the last two weeks as the venue for the new Decathlon Junior & Open 2019 Series.

The Junior Tournament was held on May 18-19 and the Open Tournament completed this last weekend. The junior event featured 79 participants and the open event included 46.

With Tennis Cambodia’s national team players taking part in the open edition, the top four seeds in the draw went to them. In order of rank, they were Long Samneang, Mam Phalkun, Our Sarith and Tep Timothy.

True to their rank, all of the top four seeds made it to the semi-finals of the Men’s Open.

Samneang defeated Sarith 6-4, 6-4 in the top half of the semi-final draw, and Phalkun defeated Timothy 6-0 6-2.

In the final, Phalkun took a quick 2-0 lead before the build-up of exhaustion from his first two matches that day crept in.

Samneang played true to his game and waited out the barrage of forehand attacks from Phalkun to take the first Decathlon Open title of the year.

In the Women’s Open final, top female junior player Ho Sreynoch faced Nhaem Sreynoch.

Despite Ho Sreynoch having a slight cold, she fought through the first set, which could have gone to either player, and cruised in the second set to take the match and title 6-4, 6-2.

She won the 18 & Under Girls Event in the Decathlon Junior Tournament just two weeks ago, and remains undefeated in local competition since the beginning of 2018.

A notable entrant in the first Decathlon Open event was none other than Jean-Baptiste Prigent, Retail Leader for sponsors Decathlon Cambodia, who happens to be quite the experienced tennis player as well.

Prigent was the only unseeded player in the Men’s Open to make it through to the quarter-finals as he defeated fifth seeded Be Jonathan in the round of 16. Prigent then fell in his quarter-final to third seeded Sarith, 8-2.

“Since our focus turned to the juniors five or six years ago, tennis for the adult community was in the back of our minds. We now see that holding open events for both adults and some of the top juniors as well can only benefit everyone in the end.

“With the addition of an open event each month, the better juniors can play in the their respective age categories, and compete in the open event against older and more experienced opponents.

“At the same time, the older players now have regular competition to look forward to each month. The open event is a clear win-win for the federation,” said Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit.

By Basil Riley of the Phnom Penh Post

Photo Credits: Christophe Gargiulo

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