Fast-emerging Cambodian tennis talent Leng Sarinreach made it to the semifinals of the Singha Grand Slam Experience 14 and Under tennis competition at the Impact Tennis Academy in Bangkok before going down to Thailand’s David Songrit 6-1, 7-6 in a dash to the final that offered a free trip to next year’s Australian Open for the finalists.
“It was great to see Reach play an aggressive second set in his match against Songrit,” Tennis Cambodia’s head of Junior Development Phalkun Mam told The Post yesterday. “It is a bit unfortunate that he could not make the final and get that chance to be at the first Grand Slam of 2018. At the same time it is very encouraging to see our young players compete and doing well.”
Rain delays marked this unique junior event that took place at the same site as the TATP Series Singha Classic in which four Cambodian Davis Cup players had taken part.
According to Davis Cupper Bun Kenny, who stayed back to help Reach as his coach, the 13-year-old Cambodian was far too defensive and lost out on a couple of break chances in the first set.
In the second set, however, Sarinreach started to step into his shots more, aiming deeper into the court with more aggressive intentions, but in a tense tie-break his Thai rival prevailed in the points that mattered.
In the opening round, Sarinreach blanked out Noah van Maare of the Netherlands 4-0, 4-0 and went on to beat ninth seed Chanathorn Kangthong of Thailand in the next round.
Sarinreach made it to the last 16 without hitting a ball as his rival Suppaset Siracharoenwattana failed to show up for the match. That brought him face to face with the No1 seed Sirinat Auytayakul.
With the scoring format switching back to regular sets and a third set tie-break, both players felt the pressure after sharing the first two sets. In a tie-break where momentum swung back and forth, the Thai top seed had two match points at 9-7.
Sarinreach saved both of them, failed to convert the one he got and went on to save two more before finally clinching the tie-breaker 14-12.
Sarinreach was the only Cambodian representative in the tournament that attracted 59 players in the Boys 14 & Under category.