The fierce rivalry that has developed this year between Sen Sophon and Long Sarinreach once again played out in the boys 14 and under final in the Fourth National Junior Tournament at the National Training Center on Sunday, with Kep’s poster boy Sophon prevailing over his Phnom Penh rival in a three-setter, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, spread over little more than two hours.
It was any body’s match until the final set tie-break, where Sophon surprisingly proved too strong, reeling off seven points in a row to wrap up the contest. On the way to the final, Sarinreach beat Cheum Seyha 6-4, 6-4, while Sophon defeated Khleang Punlok 7-6, 6-3.
In the boys 18 and under final, Cambodia’s youngest member of the national squad, Delton Kim, was made to work much harder by Michael Schipani than he would have anticipated to win the title.
Schipani, whose net rushing tactics pressured his rival, had his best period in the early part of the first set when he led 2-0, but Delton gradually wore down his opponent to win 6-4, 6-3.
In the semis, Schipani beat Seum Kakada 6-3, 6-2 and Delton Kim saw off Chheang Vannasak 6-1, 6-3.
For close to two years, Hour Sreypov has kept her winning record intact and yet again she faced no threat in the girls 18 and under final, easily keeping Ong Sreypov at bay 6-2, 6-3. Hour Sreypov’s consistency and her increased training showed up in her performance.
As she is heading to Singapore for the WTA Future Stars tournament in late October, Hour Sreypov is doubling her training schedule.
In the girls 14 and under final, Ho Sreynoch beat a rival three years younger than her, Tippi Dalle-Grave, 4-1, 4-0.
Though Tippi has improved a lot since her relocation from Mauritius to Cambodia, Sreynoch has also come up well since training with Hour Sreypov ahead of the WTA Future Stars.
After seeing off his strongest rival in the semis, Sam David stormed to victory in the boys 12 and under flight B, beating Ngong San 6-1, 6-4.
In the semis, David passed a stern test of nerves, beating Sen Saukeng 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, while Ngong San beat Reut Touit 6-3, 6-4.
It was celebration time in the Battambang camp as two of the squad’s players got down to the boys 12 and under flight B finals, ensuring the province’s first title success since taking up the tennis programme two years ago.
It was left-handed Ly Wanak who won the honours, beating Rourt Pun 6-3, 6-4. In the semifinals, Rourt Pun downed Tep Lancelot 6-1, 6-3, while Wanak beat Eourn Rakim 6-4, 6-0.
Tennis Cambodia gives a big thank you to Emperors of China, who kindly catered free of charge, lunch on the final day of competition. All the children were very happy with the meal, especially the finalists who were energized by the meal before their afternoon matches!