China’s Wan Gao recovered from a stuttering first set to post a hard-fought 7-6, 6-3 victory over Cambodian No 1 Bun Kenny in the first round of the Indonesian ITF Men’s Futures event on Tuesday.
Riding high on his quarterfinal berth in the first of the back-to-back Futures tournaments in Jakarta last week, the Cambodian right hander had the wind behind him when he went a break up midway through the first set.
But a determined fightback by 23-year-old Gao, who has a 2-5 win-loss record this year and is ranked 906th in the world, saw the seasoned campaigner take control of the set in a dominant tie-break display.
20-year-old Bun Kenny had his chances to stretch his rival in the second set, but Gao served himself out of trouble before decisively breaking through to wrap up the contest that lasted an hour and a half.
“Kenny played well in patches while his opponent was quite consistent,” national coach Braen Aneiros told the Post after the match.
“He had a slight edge in the first set when he went a break up, but then he let his rival get back and was outplayed in the tie-break.
“We are looking forward to the third and final leg next week. It is not clear yet whether Kenny will make the main draw on his current ranking [of 1,417th] because the cut off in this event is a lot higher than the other two.
“We may seek a wild card, but if that doesn’t work out then he probably will have to go through the qualifiers,” added Aneiros.