New arrival from Taiwan for the second week of the US$10,000 ITF Cambodia Futures, Huang Liang Chi opened his quest for the GLF Cham Prasidh Open with an assertive 6-3, 6-3 win over South Korean Song Ming Kyu at the National Tennis Center yesterday.
The second-seeded Huang, who holds a ranking of 298, allowed very few liberties to his Korean rival as he dictated the tempo for the best part of the first round contest.
In contrast to this untroubled passage for Huang came a tough and testy encounter for his fellow countryman Han Yi Chua, who had battled to the main draw through the qualifying rounds.
After losing a tight first set tie break to China’s Xin Gua, Han worked hard for the next two sets to post a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 win that consumed a little over two hours of exhaustive exchanges.
The third Taiwanese player in action, however, came up short in a three-set fight. Hung Jui Chen, who seemed destined for a blowout of sorts by Isarel’s Dekel Bar, managed a second set revival only to see his rival back in his punishing mood.
Bar, whose trip to Cambodia for the Futures last year ended in one quarter-final placing, ran out a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 winner.
Cambodia’s singles hopes in the main draw rest with Davis Cuppers Bun Kenny and Mam Phalkun, both of whom have made the grade with wildcards and will take the court for their first round matches today.
After losing a hard-fought three-setter to his South Korean rival in the first round of the GLF Open last week, Kenny more than made up for that disappointment by reaching the doubles final with his Canadian partner Kelsey Stevenson.
“My focus is firmly on getting a ranking point. I hope I can make it this week,” Kenny told the Post after Sunday evening’s main draw pitted him against Kazakhstan’s Timur Khabibulin, who is ranked 903rd in the world.
Phalkun, meanwhile, faces another tough draw for the second week. Having crossed paths with top-seeded Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France in the opening leg, the most senior member of the Davis Cup squad will take on third-seeded Niki Takuto of Japan.
Cambodians out of qualifiers
For the second week, none of the four Cambodian wildcard entries in the qualifying rounds, played over the weekend, survived the first round, though Mam Vetu was the only one to come closest to winning at least a set.
A member of Cambodia’s 2012 Davis Cup squad, Vetu ran into Taiwan’s Liu Shao-Fan for the second time in as many weeks and put up a stiff fight in the second set after his rival raced through the first without conceding a game. Liu won 6-0, 7-6.
Russia’s Alexander Igoshin was too good for Our Sarith in a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing. Doeum Socheaphearun, who left a good impression on his international debut last week went down to Kang Ho Min of South Korea 6-0, 6-3 while Long Samneang was no match for Japan’s Kazuma Kawachi in a 6-2, 6-2 defeat.