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Pihl books semifinals berth


Local player Kan Sophon lost his Cambodian Open quarterfinal match against Priit Pihl.
Estonian tennis coach Priit Pihl hits a backhand return during his Cambodian Open quarterfinal match against Kan Sophon at the National Training Centre. Pihl won 6-1, 6-0 to advance to the semifinals. sreng meng srun

Photos by: Sreng Meng Srun

Remarkable fluency on both wings to match steady serves saw Estonian coach Priit Pihl record an emphatic 6-1, 6-0 victory over a rather erratic Kan Sophon in the men’s singles quarterfinals of the Cambodian Open tennis championships at the National Training Centre yesterday.

The left-hander set a fast tempo from the word go and never allowed the Cambodian youngster any liberties. Pihl has now dropped just a single game to an opponent in three singles matches. His topspun ground strokes kept Kan Sophon guessing most of the time yesterday, as he ran into a 4-0 lead before conceding a game on his way to an easy first set.

The second set came in much quicker time and greater ease, as Sophon lapsed into a bundle of unforced errors that overshadowed fleeting moments in which he had produced some decent shots.

Being the first to take a semifinal slot, Pihl now awaits the winner of the Bun Kenny v Peter Lucas contest for a place in Sunday’s final.

In Tuesday’s boys U18 singles action, Kan Sophon was a different proposition, blanking out Veng Chav 6-0, 6-0 in the top half of the draw. Orn Sambath was a facile 6-2, 6-1 winner over Samon Moni Odom, and Ek Chamroeun was equally assailing in his 6-1, 6-2 victory over Our Sarith.

U18 semifinal battles today will witness a Sophon v Sambath match up, as well as Long Samneang taking on Ek Chamroeun.

Yi Sarun shows experience counts
Veteran Yi Sarun, the oldest active player in the Kingdom, currently tops the four-player group B of the Men’s over-45 singles event. The 65-year-old, who was filmed two weeks ago as part of CNN’s documentary on the Tennis Federation of Cambodia, was too good for Austin Koledoye in his first game, and then put out Jean Mark Lopez, who cried a halt when down 1-8 in the race to nine games yesterday. Earlier in the same group, Chea Sauth got past Lopez 9-3.

In Group A, Sok Oun won all three of his matches with absolute comfort, defeating Leang Bunhong 9-1, sorting out Sin Sitha 9-4 and getting the better of Cheag Sovan 9-1.

With Sok Oun topping the group, the fight for the remaining semifinal place is hotting up, with Cheag Sovan recording a 9-0 victory against Leang Bunhong to strengthen his chances.

The men’s doubles got off to a roaring start with Tep Rithivit and Fabrisio Raimondo smashing past Chhay Panhavuth and Yi Keavirak 6-4, 6-3. Kan Sophon and Ek Chamroeun combined well enough to down Paolo Pastore and Our Sarith 6-1, 6-1.

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