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Broken strings sting Bowen

Asian tennis stars Danai Udomchoke of Thailand (second left), Vishnu Vardhan of India (third left), Weerapat Doakmaiklee of Thailand (third right) and Kittipong Wachiramanowong of Thailand (right) meet with Tennis Federation of Cambodia Secretary General Tep Rithivit (second right) after arriving at Phnom Penh International Airport yesterday morning ahead of this week’s ITF Men’s Futures event. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun

High intensity drama surrounded the sensational exit of second seeded Bowen Ouyang of China in the first round of the qualifiers for this week’s US$15,000 ITF Men’s Futures tennis tournament at the National Training Centre yesterday evening.

In the day’s last fixture, 1009th ranked Bowen was poised for victory over tenacious South Korean opponent Dae-Soung Oh at 5-4 in the third set after the two had shared the first two sets. But it was not to be his day after all. A strange set of circumstances contrived to make life miserable for him on court.

Bowen managed to break the strings on all three of his racquets, and as he scouted around for a spare racquet, he was given a verbal warning, then a point followed by a whole game as a penalty.

Up stepped Cambodian national team player Tan Nysan, who handed over two of his racquets to Bowen only for the Chinese player to again break strings on one of them.

It seemed as if misfortune was following Bowen every step of the way, and he blew a couple of match points in a tense tie break after the dour South Korean had levelled the scores at six games all.

Finally at 9-9 in the tie-break, the Korean gleefully wrapped up the match by reeling off the next two points after Bowen had messed up an easy overhead on match point. The final score line read 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (11-9) to Dae-Soung in a battle stretching more than two and a half hours.

The rest of the qualification seeds fared better in the rest of the day’s card as top seeded Wang Chuhan of China led the parade to the crucial second round in this draw of 32. Canada’s Kelsey Stevenson took Wang to a tie break in the first set, but the Chinese talent took control of the match with an early break in the second.

The other first round winners included five Indians – Divij Sharan, Kaza Vinayak Sharma, Christopher Marquis, Abhijeet Tiwari and Ashutosh Singh – three Indonesians – Trijati Sunu Wahyu, Elbert Sie and Susanto David Agung – as well as Jan Blecha of Czech Republic, Araik Arutunyan of Russia, Luca Margaroli of Switzerland, Vladamir Ivanov of Estonia, Hsu hung Yuan of Taiwan, and New Zealander Mat Simpson.

Cambodian wild cards Orn Sambath and Long Samneang were both beaten in straight sets. Sambath lost to Ashutosh Singh 6-1, 6-2 while Long Samneang was swept by love sets by Matt Simpson.

Second round matches play today with the eight winners qualifying for the 32-player main draw beginning tomorrow.



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