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Danai downs top seed to make Futures semis

Danai Udomchoke prepares to play a backhand return in his ITF Men’s Futures semi-final against top seed Tsung Hua Yan
Danai Udomchoke prepares to play a backhand return in his ITF Men’s Futures semi-final against top seed Tsung Hua Yang. The Thai won the match 7-6, 6-2. H S Manjunath

Danai downs top seed to make Futures semis

Seventh seed Danai Udomchoke of Thailand touched his fiery best as he ousted top-seeded Tsung Hua Yang of Taiwan 7-6, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the $10,000 Cambodian ITF Men’s Futures for the Ford Cup at the National Training Center yesterday.

After coming through a tense first set tie-break, Danai efficiently controlled the pace and totally dominated his fast tiring opponent in the second set.

The loss of the opening set made a huge impact on the top seed, who appeared to have little left in the tank. While court fatigue clearly induced more errors from Yang, Danai hardly erred on either length or direction on his ground strokes.

One of Thailand’s best known tennis stars after Paradorn Srichapan, Danai will today take on Australia’s Andrew Whittington for a place in the final.

The fifth seeded Whittington had the better of Dylan Seoung Kwan Kim of Korea 6-1, 3-6, 6-1 in a quarter-final match-up. Whittington began on a blistering note almost blanking the South Korean, but the energy spent on that effort began to bother him in the second.

Kim stayed solid behind the baseline as he went about the task of pushing the Aussie right-hander out of the points that mattered. But when it came to the decider, Whittington found his second wind and raised the tempo to suit his fast game.

Another Australian making it to the last four was Gavin van Peperzeel, who had garnered Wednesday’s headlines with a commendable victory over third seeded Shuichi Sekiguchi of Japan.

Going into his quarter-final match against Mico Santiago of the United States in great nick, the 21-year-old Peperzeel maintained a high level of consistency throughout to win 6-4, 6-1.

The unseeded Australian will meet in the second semi-finals second seeded Hiroki Kondo, who has had a very short workout before being handed a semi-final ticket.

Kondo led 5-2 in the first set when his rival, the 35-year-old Spaniard Oscar Hernandez Perez, retired from the contest, apparently run down by slight fever and body ache.

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