The last man left standing among six South Koreans in the fray, fourth-seeded Lim Youg Kyu, lived up to his pro circuit reputation as someone who never gives up by beating from a set down India’s Karunuday Singh 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to win the US$10,000 ITF Cambodian Futures for the GLF Open at the National Tennis Center yesterday.
Ranked as high as 257 in May of this year, Lim, who won the doubles gold medal in the recent Incheon Asian Games, had slipped down to 621 in the Emirates ranking list before this event following some ankle injury issues to deal with in the intervening months.
But the 23-year-old right-hander showed no signs of discomfort on the way to his second Futures title this year, and 10th overall apart from a clutch of doubles triumphs. The high point of his career was his singles victory in the Korean Challenger in 2010 as a fresh faced teenager making a splash just two years after hitting the road.
The South Korean saved four break points before holding on to his serve in the seventh game of the first set, but the Indian broke that resolve the next time around when he got the crucial pass to wrap up the first set.
It was midway through the second that Lim began to assert himself and rode out an early break to level the set scores. The third set followed a similar pattern.
Asked what was going through his mind after he lost the first set, Lim told the crowd through an interpreter that he told himself to “never give up”. Those three words were ringing true on the court.
“I want to improve my ranking and try out the qualifying rounds of a grand slam, beginning with the Australian Open in January next year,” said Lim.
The third-seeded Singh, who was looking for his second Futures win of the year after his victory in the Philippines, paid a gracious compliment to his rival during an on-court interview, saying that while he did his best, Lim played better.
“I had the momentum after winning the first set. But Lim began to play really well in the second,” added Singh, who also reserved high praise for the quality of officiating during the event.
The Indian, currently ranked 522 down from his career high mark of 393 in April, narrowly missed out on what would have been a fabulous late birthday gift, having turning 24 last Wednesday.
Sentimentality aside, he did raise the quality of the final and made it more exciting than the scoreline suggested.
GLF chairman Mitsuji Konoshita was absent on Saturday, so his representative, the company’s human resources and administration manager Yusuke Kozuma, gave away the trophies.
“We have been part of the Cambodian Futures and the Davis Cup squads and we are proud to support all the three legs of the Futures this year. We continue to look forward to our expanding partnership with Tennis Cambodia,” Kozuma told the Post.
In the semi-final action on Friday, Lim defeated top seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France 6-4, 6-2 while Karunuday Singh put out South Korea’s Kim Seong Kwan 6-3, 6-2.
Heartbreak for Bun Kenny
Cambodia’s top player Bun Kenny and his Canadian partner Kelsey Stevenson were beaten in a touch-and-go super tiebreak by Jeson Patrombon of the Philippines and his Indonesian partner David Aung Susanto 5-7, 6-3 (10-7) in the doubles final on Friday.
Kenny, who was looking for his first Futures doubles title after a narrow loss in Vietnam last year with a South Korean, seemed well on course after forcing the fate deciding super tiebreak.
But at a critical phase, a slice of fortune favoured their rivals. Kenny and Stevenson had as good a chance as their opponents but two volleying errors eventually led to their downfall.
On the way to the final, Kenny and Stevenson pulled off a thrilling semi-final victory over the Korean combination of Nam Hyun Woo and Song Min Kyu 6-3, 2-6 (10-4). In the other half, Patrombon and Susanto advanced to the final by beating another Korean pair of Kang Ho Min and Kim Seong Kwan 6-3, 7-5.