Two-Time Winner Kwon Keeps Powering On

On a day of disappointment for Cambodian players, South Korean Kwon Soon-woo, the winner of two successive legs of the $10,000 ITF Futures events, began his challenge for the final one, the 6th Cham Prasidh Open, with a 6-2, 7-5 win over compatriot Seol Jae-min at the National Training Center yesterday.

Kwon, a 17-year-old right-hander, took 100 minutes to win his first round encounter, extending the assailing form of the past fortnight that brought him two titles into another week of high expectation.

After breezing through the first set, Kwon was made to work hard in the second by Seol, who tenaciously hung on to force a tie-break before bowing out. Yet again Kwon recorded 100-per-cent success on his serves, winning all 10 games while fending off four break points lined up by Seol.

The only seeded casualty in a 12-match card was the fourth seeded Ismailov Temur. The Uzbek was beaten 2-6, 2-6 by South Korean qualifier Nam Hyun-woo.

Cambodia pitched in two wild-card entries, Phalkun Mam and Long Samneang, to the main draw, and American-Cambodian Vidith Huot got in as a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds. But all three failed to show any sparkle.

Sixth seed Richard Gabb of Great Britain proved too hot to handle for Vidith Huot, who could only squeeze out one game in each of the two sets; Niesten Miliaan of the Netherlands blew out Long Samneang 6-0, 6-1; while Phalkun Mam lost 6-1, 6-2 to qualifier Jeson Patrombon of the Philippines.

Top seed Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei was too good for Horikori Hiroki of Japan, taking less than an hour to win 6-1, 6-2, while last week’s finalist Liang Chi Huang, also of Chinese Taipei, staved off a strong bid by Lee Dae-hee of South Korea 6-3, 7-5.

In other matches, fifth seeded South Korean Cheong Eui Kim got past Katsushi Fukuda 6-3, 6-1 and Tom Schonenberg of Germany beat Zhaoyi Cao of China 6-2, 6-1. Another German, Mathias Wunner, blasted out a 6-0, 6-1 win over Li Wie Tan of Chinese TaipeiVietnam’s Hoang Nam Ly, who put up a sterling show in the previous event by making it to the semi-finals, got off to a smooth start, shutting out Xin Gao of China 7-5, 6-2.

In an all-Japanese clash, Masato Shiga downed Soichiro Moritani 7-5, 7-5.

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