Third seeded Toshihide Matsui of Japan made his enormous experience count as he overpowered Cambodia’s wild card entry Tan Nysan 6-4, 6-4 yesterday in the first round of the US$15,000 ITF Men’s Futures tennis tournament at the National Training Centre.
The 32-year-old Matsui, ranked 436 in the world, played the percentages better than his much younger Cambodian rival as he broke Tan Nysan in the seventh game of each of the two well contested sets. The muscular Osaka native steadily built on those crucial breaks despite serving an unusually high number of double faults for someone regarded as a solid server.
Nysan touched his best in transient phases, often allowing Matsui to wriggle out of tight corners. The two-time SEA Games bronze medallist had a couple of points to break back in the eighth game of the first set, after Matsui had served two double faults and sliced an approach volley wide.
However the Japanese maestro, who craftily mixes aggression with caution and revels in subtle change of pace, dug himself out of trouble with two aces in a game where deuce was called four times.
“I did not play my best,” said Matsui after the match. “I did well enough to win. It was quite tough playing a local guy in front of a home crowd cheering him.
“Heat was also a factor, but overall I am pleased with my game. Yes I served a lot more double faults, but I also had some good service winners.
“I am working on many aspects of my game and my second serve is one of them. I hope things will be better as I move on,” he added.
Games went with serves in the first set until, at 3-3, Tan Nysan drove his forehand long and totally misread a net advance by Matsui to concede the crucial break.
The pattern was more or less similar in the second set and the Japanese third seed came up with an astounding low volley to steal the break.
The local star staged a brief rally in both the sets to put pressure on Matsui’s serves, but in the end the Cambodian wild card couldn’t quite crack his opponent’s resolve.
“I missed my chances to break back in the first set and missed a few lines here and there on crucial points. But he definitely played the points that mattered better,” said Nysan.
Meanwhile yesterday, Thailand No 2 Kittipong Wachiramanowong ran into unexpectedly stiff resistance from India’s Kaza Vinayak Sharma, who had gained entry into the main draw as a qualifier. The eighth seeded Thai, who is a wild card at the event along with fellow countryman Danai Odomchoke, bounced back from a first set deficit to down the Indian 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a match lasting nearly two hours.
Sharma was somewhat dumbfounded by the defeat. “I do not know where I went wrong,” he said.
The 551th ranked Thai star turned the match around midway through the second set when he seemingly regained the firing range on his ground strokes. He began to move a lot better to draw the sets level, and was completely dominant in the third, upping the ante with consistent serves.
India’s Vijay Sundar Prashanth breezed through his first round match against David Agung Susanto of Indonesia. Cutting down on risky shots, Prashanth was fluent on both wings and ran out an easy 6-2, 6-2 winner.
The day’s other first round winner was Sato Bumpei of Japan, who jolted seventh seeded Virali Murugeshan of India 6-2, 7-6.
Cambodia’s remaining wild card entry, Bun Kenny, will take on top seeded Vishnu Vardhan of India in an eagerly awaited first round encounter today.