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Youngsters prove their points


Mak Brandon hits a return against Long Samneang during their 2010 Cham Prasidh Cup U18 singles semifinal at the National Training Centre yesterday. Sreng Meng Srun

Mixing caution with aggression, Kan Sophorn outplayed Touch Sophearoth 6-2, 6-0 to set up an U18 singles final showdown with Long Samneang, who made short work of Mak Brandon 6-3, 6-3 in the Cham Prasidh Tennis Cup at the National Training Centre yesterday.

Sophorn confirmed his place in the short list of fast developing local youngsters to be reckoned with, while Sophearoth fell terribly short in his attempt to stay in contention.

The best of Sophorn, however, came to the fore in the morning, when he took up an unfinished job against the talented Orn Sambath after rain had curtailed their men’s quarterfinal Wednesday. Having lost the first set in a tie break, Sophorn bounced back with a determined second set recovery until a downpour ruined his momentum.

Yesterday morning’s decider, stretching over an hour, went again to a tie-break which Sophorn polished off 8-6. In stark contrast Long Chamneang had an armchair ride into the semis, after a no-show from quarterfinal foe Ek Chamroeun.

In the U14 section, 13-year-old Mak Brandon proved a cut above the rest. He always had Saman Moni Oudam in his sights as he controlled the rallies with a fluency on the forehand his opponent simply could hardly handle.

The youngster now trains under Braen Aneiros, and the national coach is taking a fresh a look at his service. “Right now Brandon is being prepared for some style changes with his serves and he is just going through the motions, but I am confident he will pick up soon,” said Aneiros.

Mak Brandon, who was not called upon to do anything spectacular with his serves, completed a 6-1, 6-0 victory in the U14 singles semifinal to set up a clash with Doum Sambath, who had to dig deep into his reserves to get past a fighting Sin Kakada 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in the other semifinal.


Long Samneang hits a serve to Mak Brandon during their U18 singles semifinal yesterday at the NTC. Sreng Meng Srun

11-year-old Sambath is noticeably smaller in build to many of his peers but decidedly more robust. His best was reserved for a tense second set tie-break where he played pressure points a lot better than his opponent.

Tep Rithivit and partner Chris Forsinetti overcame Seang Mao and Yi Puthea 6-3, 6-4 yesterday to make the men’s doubles final.

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