The fourth National Junior Tennis Tournament will be held from tomorrow at the National Training Center, with the spotlight turned on Chheang Vannasak, who is looking for his third Boys U18 singles title, and Hour Srey Pov, who has stayed at the top of her game and unbeaten for well over a year.
The three-day event involves competition in six categories.
With two titles under his belt, Vannasak is the top pick in his group after winning the last event with a measure of comfort but for a testy semifinal meeting against Sok Vichet.
Meanwhile, the wonder girl from Boeung Khyang, Srey Pov, moved up an age group from U12 to U14 and has handled the step-up with great felicity. With nine successive tournament wins under her belt, she is yet to find someone to match her court craft.
The Boys U14 draw wears an open look with the return of Timothy Tep and Lucas Goossens adding more depth. One interesting duel to watch will be between Sen Sophon and Klang Ponlok.
Sophon will be working hard to reclaim the title he lost to Ponlok weeks ago, while the titleholder will be equally eager to build on his first-time success. Another player who comes into the reckoning is Chheang Vannasith, who ran Sophon close in their semi-final clash last time.
The Boys U12 division will be split into two flights. The upper tier will be dominated by Cheum Seyha, whose consistency gives him a distinct edge over the others. Leng Sarinreach could prove to be Seyha’s closest rival.
With more players from Battambang joining the Flight B fray this time round, the draw could prove topsy-turvy.
Cheng Channeang ruled the Girls U18 draw for a long time, always keeping her good friend Ith Leakhena at bay in the title round. But that sequence was dramatically turned around by Leakhena, who shrugged off that bridesmaid tag and beat Channeang in straight sets in their previous clash.
Hour Srey Pov will do another of the “catch me if you can” shows she has been doing so well for so long. An interesting addition to the draw is Daria Rakitina who used to be Srey Pov’s nemesis in the U12 category before the champ jumped up to U14.
Interestingly enough, now that Rakitina has chosen to compete in the higher class, the Girls U12, the small group that it is, seemingly gives hope for every contender.