As 15-year-old Hour Sreypov – unbeaten in well over a year and a half – was consolidating her status as the strongest female junior in the country after her victory in the under-18 singles event, Kep’s poster boy Sen Sophon regained his dominance in the boys under-14 section at the second National Junior Tennis Tournament, which concluded at the National Training Center on Sunday.
It was a mere on-court formality for Sreypov as she raced to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Ith Leakhana in the final.
Sreypov’s run has taken her through the under-12 and under-14 categories without defeat, and she has now successfully stepped up to the under-18 class for her second title this year.
She is likely to represent Cambodia in the Future Stars event that forms part of a junior development initiative connected with the year-ending WTA Finals in Singapore during October.
It has been a while since Sophon got into the winner’s circle. But he got back in winning ways in the boys under-14 final, beating Khleang Ponlok 6-2, 6-3.
Sophon and Ponlok recently switched to a one-handed backhand from a double-fisted style. The change worked well enough, though both felt there was still scope for improvement. It was Sophon’s
greater consistency that made the vital difference.
In the boys under-18 final, Sreum Kakada got the measure of Chhay Chen 7-5, 6-3. Kakada had to overcome two three-set matches on his way to the title round. He downed Tep Timothy in the quarterfinals and Michael Schipani in the semis.
The long matches hardly affected Kakada as he steadily got hold of Chhay Chen, who has now the unwanted record of having been beaten in every final he has made.
The girls under-14 final saw Eang Kunthea beat Roert Sreynu from Battambang 4-0, 4-1.
Kunthea’s tournament experience was too much for Sreynu, who was only making her second competitive appearance. Kunthea being a southpaw also held out problems for Sreynu, who had never faced one such before.
Sreynu’s performance is the first clear sign that Tennis Cambodia’s program in Battambang introduced early last year is beginning to bear fruit.
Sam Davith (Koh Krabei) won the boys under-12 flight A with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sen Saukeng (Aspeca), while Reut Touit (Aspeca) took flight B at the expense of Eng Mot of Battambang 6-4,6-3.
One of the features of the event was the participation of players from Siem Reap for the first time. To the team’s credit, some of the players did enjoy first round wins in boys flight B, raising hopes of a better showing next time.
Kingdom pair off to Palembang
Tennis Cambodia was the only non-Muslim country invited to take part in the ongoing Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation Championships in the Indonesian city of Palembang.
The Kingdom is represented by Long Samneang and Chheang Vannasak, who will compete in the team, singles and doubles events this week.