Consistency was the key to Tep Timothy’s 4-2 victory over hard serving Teum Vannara yesterday in a truncated Boys U14 singles final of the inaugural Kep Open tennis tournament on a newly laid cement court at Aravady School.
Time constraints forced the organisers to shorten the final to just one four game set in which Timothy’s greater match play experience stood him in good stead even as his rival, a local lad from ASPECA orphanage, caught the eye with his sharp serving.
The match took a decisive turn at 2-2 in favour of Timothy, winner of five U12 events in Phnom Penh last season, when he broke Vannara.
After being befuddled in the first two games by Vannara’s hard serves, Timothy figured out his returns well in the fifth game to find a way for that crucial break.
On the way up in a field of 16 players, Timothy outplayed Vuth 4-2, 4-0 while Vannara got past Soi Pov 5-4, 4-2 in the semifinals.
In the third place play off, Soi Pov edged out Vuth in a race to seven points at 7-6.
Meanwhile, left-handed Chin Som Poa held his nerve tight to outlast Sen Sophon in the Boys U12 final that stretched to a thrilling 10-9 finish.
The southpaw’s consistently good serving gave him a slight edge in this 10-point scurry.
Sen Sophon enjoyed a narrow mid-match advantage but Som Pov wrested the initiative as the contest came to a boil and polished off the tie with a deserving service winner.
In the last four action, Som Pov defeated Cham Pheara 10-8 while Sen Sophon got the measure of Bao 10-6.
The third place went to Bao after he squeaked out a 7-6 win over Cham Pheara.
Organiser of the event, Sokhpal Ngo-Sisowath, who is the founder of the Aravady School where he also doubles up as a tennis coach, told the Post yesterday that the junior events had created a buzz in Kep and that he was more than happy with the turn out of players.
“I have to thank the Tennis Federation of Cambodia for sanctioning this event. I have to acknowledge the contributions from a host of sponsors for the success of this tournament,” he said.
TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit said he was pleasantly surprised by what he saw in terms of tennis quality among the juniors at the south coast town. “The seeds were sown in 2011 and the results have been very heartening. If we groom them properly and give them the encouragement and support they deserve, I am confident of good talent emerging,” he said.
The men’s open singles shifts to top gear today at Villa Romonea resort, which used to boast the only tennis court in Kep.