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Kwon makes history in Futures tourney

South Korea’s teenage sensation Soon-woo Kwon became the first player since the introduction of the Cambodian ITF Futures in 2011 to record back-to-back triumphs after his fearless shot making earned him a 6-3, 6-3 win over second-seeded Liang Chi Huang of Chinese Taipei in the second-leg final of the $10,000 event on Saturday at the National Training Center.

The 17-year-old right-hander’s court presence and dominance was even more impressive for the crowd than his maiden title victory the previous Saturday in the first-leg final against compatriot Ji Hoon Son.

The second-seeded Huang, ranked way above his opponent, had neither the pace nor the room to mount a viable counter-offensive against a player with a care-free racket swing who always seemed to get the timing and the placements right. Securing a solitary break in each set, Kwon never slackened his grip on the match as he drove Huang, the winner of the third leg last year, to a state of perennial passivity.

In Friday’s semi-finals, Kwon dropped the first set tie-break to his compatriot Cheong Eui Kim but regained his poise in the next two sets to win 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 in a long-drawn out battle. The other semi-final was equally competitive with Huang getting the measure of Hoang Nam Ly of Vietnam 7-6, 7-5.

The doubles final played later in the afternoon saw the South Korean combine of Hyun Woo Nam and Jae Win Seol defeat Richard Gabb of Great Britain and his Dutch partner, Niesten Milaan, 7-6, 7-5

During the closing ceremony, which marked the end of the second week of the 20th Tep Khunnah Memorial, Cham Prasidh, the Minister for Industry and Handicrafts and the president of Tennis Cambodia, and Mitsuji Konoshita, president of the GLF, the main sponsor of all three legs, commended the players for their participation while recalling the great contributions to Cambodian tennis made by the late Tep Khunnah.

The students of the Center of Phnom Penh Thmey Orphanage added glamour to the finale with their blessing dance. More than 80 birds were released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the event.



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