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Young stars shine at tennis tourney

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Doeum Sambath plays a shot against Yi Chansarith during their U14s match of the 16th Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup yesterday at the National Training Centre.

Fancied players filled semifinal slots in the girls’ U12 singles as the 16th Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup national ranking tennis tournament got off to a busy start at the National Training Centre on Saturday.

Building on her spectacular climb in the past two months, Savy Sodaney yesterday stamped her mark on the annual open event with a convincing 5-3, 4-1 victory over Tie Hengmay, the highest-ranked player in the category, to top the four-player group A.

In the other two group matches, Savy Sodaney defeated Tie Heng She 4-1, 4-1 and Rin Rothana 4-0, 4-1, while Tie Hengmay disposed of Tie Heng She 4-1, 4-1 and Rin Rothana 4-1, 4-2. Savy Sodaney and Tie Hengmay advanced from the group stage.

Proceedings in group B went on predictable lines, with left-hander Kim Dara in firm control with three wins. There were moments of anguish for Kim Dara in her tight clash against Seoun Sovanary, but she managed to steer clear of a mid-match crisis to win 4-1, 4-5, 4-1. Kim Dara was unstoppable in her other group matches, blasting Chenda Goosens 4-2, 4-1 and Hou Srey Nuch 4-0, 4-1.

The surprise of the round-robin phase was Hou Srey Nuch’s thrilling three-set victory of 4-1, 4-5, 4-1 over Seoun Sovanary that ensured a passage for her into the semifinals along with Kim Dara.

In the criss-cross semifinals to be played later in the week, Savy Sodaney meets Hou Srey Nuch, while familiar foes Kim Dara and Tie Hengmay face off for a place in the final.

Only two matches were completed in the boy’s U12 singles, which has attracted a record 22 entries. In the five-player group B, Leng Sambath proved too strong for Soeun Sothol, winning 4-0, 4-0.

In the six-player group C, Khev Linarounmony put out Heng Bunnawat 5-3, 5-3.

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