On a windswept opening day of the US$10,000 ITF Cambodian Futures for the GLF Open at the National Tennis Center yesterday, South Korea’s Hyun-Woo Nam took 134 minutes and three sets to subdue his Japanese rival Soichiro Moritani while three other first round matches carded for the day were of shorter order.
After dropping the first set to the Japanese qualifier, Nam, who holds a ranking of 947, battled back in a hotly contested second set and totally overwhelmed Moritani in the decider to win a fierce baseline battle made all the more challenging for both players by windy conditions at 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Cambodia’s Davis Cupper Long Samneang, who got a wild card to the 32-player main draw, found the going tough against Japan’s Ken Onoda, who had come through the qualifying rounds. The Japanese visitor took the first set to love in a twinkling, and with just one break of serve in the second wrapped up the match 6-0, 6-3 in under an hour.
In other matches, Alexander Igoshin of Russia swept past China’s Zhaoyi Cao 6-1, 6-1 while South Korea’s Soong-Jae Cho won the clash of the qualifiers against Kuatbek Abiyev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2.
Cambodia’s Davis Cup pivot Bun Kenny takes the court today as a wildcard for his first round match against a qualifier from South Korea, Byung-Kook Kang.
Kenny is looking for his first ranking point at home after unsuccessful attempts in the last three years and is also keen on redeeming his ranking to the early 2013 level, when he was edging closer to the 1,000 mark.
“It has been a tough year. My ranking has dropped and I am determined to get some ranking points in the months before the SEA Games next year,” Kenny told the Post yesterday.
While the draw for Kenny is the best he could have hoped for, his fellow Davis Cupper Mam Phalkun has drawn the top seed Johan Sebastien Tatlot of France, who is ranked 393 in the world with a 38-15 win-loss record this year in ATP and ITF pro circuit events.
Among the three Cambodian wildcard entries in the weekend’s qualifying rounds, Futures first timer Doeum Socheaphearun put up a noteworthy performance going down 6-4, 6-4 to the 10th seed Jose Vidal Azorin of Spain in the first round.
“He handled the nerves well and for someone playing on the big stage for the first time, it was an encouraging sign,” noted Cambodia’s national coach Braen Aneiros.
Taiwan’s Shao Fan Liu was too good for Mam Vetu, a member of the 2012 Cambodian Davis Cup squad, in a 6-1, 6-2 first round rout, while newcomer Our Sarith was beaten 6-1, 6-1 by China’s Yecong He.