Cambodian No 1 makes good on his promise of a medal from this year’s games by guaranteeing at least a bronze after winning his quarterfinal in straight sets
THE Tennis Federation of Cambodia (TFC) finally had something to cheer about Tuesday when top player Tan Nysan recorded a storming straight-sets victory over Thailand’s Kittiphong Wachiramanowong in their singles quarterfinal.
The victory guarantees that Tan Nysan will at least match his previous bronze medal from the 2007 SEA Games, with the chance of improving on it if he overcomes Cecil Mamiit of the Philippines in the semifinal today.
The 20-year-old Cambodian was pushed hard by his 19-year-old opponent, who is the reigning True Vision Men’s Future 1 singles champion. The first set went to a tie break, which Tan Nysan dominated to win 7-1. There was no let-up in the second set, which also went to a tie break, with the Cambodian edging it 7-3 to clinch the match and spark wild celebrations from his team.
Tan Nysan bounces back
It was an emotional moment for the Kingdom’s No 1 player, who had thrown away a 5-2 lead in the deciding set of the Tep Khunnah Cup semifinals two weeks ago in front of his home crowd. “I’m so happy to reach the semifinal round,” he said after Tuesday’s match. “Now I’m looking for gold, but we can’t predict the result. Winning a game over Thai players is not so easy, but I did it. So I’ll try my best at the next step.” He will have his work cut out against 33-year-old Mamiit, the two-time men’s singles champion from the previous two SEA Games, and who achieved a career-high ATF world ranking of 72 in 1999.
Tan Nysan was clearly worn out from his quarterfinal workout Tuesday, and noted the limitations that Cambodian tennis players face. “I recognise that other players have good training [conditions] and have enough equipment, but we don’t,” he remarked. “If we have many sponsors, I think that we will go higher than this.”
Photo by: Ung Chamroeun
Cambodia’s Bun Kenny was happy that compatriot Tan Nysan made the semifinals.
No luck needed this time
TFC General Secretary Tep Rithivit was ecstatic when he called the Post from Laos, moments after his player’s triumph. “I called you third, after the Federation President [Cham Prasidh] and my wife,” he laughed. “I want the whole country to know what happened here today.... Two years ago, people said [Tan] Nysan won with luck. But there was no luck involved today. He played with a big heart.”
Meanwhile, Bun Kenny couldn’t match his compatriot’s achievements, losing his quarterfinal in straight sets to Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke. The Cambodian was stunned 6-0 in the first set, and a late charge couldn’t stop his opponent from claiming the second set 6-4. However, he was clearly delighted for his teammate’s success.
“The victory of [Tan] Nysan is not only for him, but for our team,” he said. “For me, I gained much experience from my first SEA Games, especially as I played against some of the best players in the tournament. I need more improvement, but I’m so happy that I reached the quarterfinals.”
In form, Filipino Treat Huey brushed past Malaysia’s Ariez Elyaas 2-0 in their quarterfinal Tuesday to set up a date in the semis with Danai.
Two nations left in women’s
In the women’s singles, both of today’s semifinals feature a Philippines v Indonesia matchup, with Denise Dy facing Lavinia Tananta, and Riza Zalameda up against Ayu Fani Damayan.
Thai brothers Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatna will aim to avenge their upset in the team event finals by Filipinos Treat Huey and Cecil Mamiit when they face the same pair in the men’s doubles final Thursday.