History is in the making when National player Andrea Ka faces China’s Zhang Yukun today in the first round of the $10,000 ITF Women’s Futures at the Victoria Park Tennis courts in Hong Kong.
US based Ka, who represented the Kingdom in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia and this year’s Incheon Asian Games, became the first female player from Cambodia to qualify for the main draw of a major event on the professional circuit.
The 22-year-old right hander, who is pursuing her studies in San Francisco, made this long trip to Hong Kong for a shot at her first ranking point that will come her way if she gets past Zhang, who is currently ranked 923.
In the qualifying rounds played over last weekend, Ka defeated China’s Chun-Yan He 6-1, 7-5 after her first round win over Indonesia’s 17-year-old Deria Nur Haliza who conceded the match at 6-4,2-5. The sixth-seeded Haliza, who is ranked 924 on the WTA list, reportedly gave up due to a shoulder strain.
“I really feel honoured to represent Cambodia in such a big tournament. I am very thankful to Tennis Cambodia and its Secretary General Tep Rithivit for giving me this opportunity.” Andrea Ka told the Post after her Sunday victory.
“To qualify for the draw makes me motivated to keep winning and continue the adventure. I have different experiences like playing in the SEA Games and Asian Games. I hope I can use them to good effect against Zhang” said Andrea Ka.
“We are very excited not only for Andrea Ka qualifying, but also to have a female player representing Cambodia in ITF Futures. Hopefully next summer after SEA games she could have a chance to play more tournaments and get WTA ranking under the Cambodian flag” national head coach and Tennis Cambodia technical director Braen Aneiros told the Post yesterday.
“It is a great boost for women’s tennis in Cambodia, We are proud to have a player with a WTA Ranking and this is a great first step towards achieving that goal, I am sure Andrea Ka will inspire a whole lot of young girls” Tennis Cambodia Secretary General Tep Rithivit told the Post.