As the U12 boys singles event in the Cambodian Open tennis tournament bloated to a 32-player draw for the first time this year, top seed Tep Timothy led the parade of seeds into the semifinals yesterday at the National Training Centre.
In an unprecedented rush of entries, a group from Kep orphanage ASPECA got down to competitive tennis for the first time. Of the 10 visitors in action, Chen Sophos went all the way to the quarterfinals before bowing out in three sets to second seeded Leng Sambath. In one of the best matches seen so far, Leng Sambath prevailed 4-2, 3-5, 4-1.
“We never imagined one of the Kep kids, who started playing barely three months ago, could go this far,” national team assistant coach Chea Pov, who is supervising the event, told the Post yesterday.
Form and reputation worked nicely for Tep Timothy, who is looking for his fifth straight tournament victory. He just dropped one game to Bunny Nikola on the way to the last four where he will be meeting third seeded Chheang Vannaseth, a 5-3, 4-2 winner over Lucas Goosens.
In the bottom half of the draw, Cheng Rongreach, who caused a flutter by ousting fourth-seeded Sothy Vinit in the second round, put out Bunny Philip 4-1, 4-0 in the quarterfinal. The unseeded Cheng Rongreach will face Leng Sambath for a place in the final.
In the girls U12 event, Kim Dara and Tie Heng May led their five player groups respectively with two wins apiece. In group A , Kim Dara beat Hou Srey Nuch 4-2, 5-3 and Oung Srey Pouv 4-0, 4-1. In group B, Tie Heng May was too good for Chenda Goosens 4-1, 4-0 and Am Lev 4-2, 4-0.
While national team No 1 and top seed Bun Kenny drew a bye into the second round, third seeded Orn Sambath got off to a winning start in the Elite Men’s A singles competition, blasting out Chen Thy 6-0, 6-0.
Kan Sophon pulled off an upset of sorts when he sent out fourth seed Seang Mao 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in the first round.
Yesterday’s other winners included Doeum Somphearun, who beat Un Floriam 6-4, 6-4, and Yi Keavirak, who got the measure of Fabrizio Raimondo 6-3, 6-1.
Two of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia officials turned up with winning performances in the opening round of the Men’s B event. TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit dropped the first set against Sok Oun 4-6 before levelling with a 6-2 second set. Sok Oun then called it a day and conceded the match.
However, for Federation Treasurer Christophe Fossinetti, there were no hiccups in his 6-1, 6-3 victory over Poev Pros, a member of the NTC coaching staff.