Andrea Ka, Tennis Cambodia’s only ranked player doing rounds on the international circuit, picked up her first title of the year after winning the women’s doubles event with Italian partner Verena Hofer at the $15,000 ITF Futures Hammamet Open in Tunisia at the weekend.
With Cambodia’s men’s team unlikely to take part in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang in August, Ka carries the Kingdom’s medal hopes after bringing home a bronze from the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, where she lost in the semifinals to Anna Clarice Patrimonio of the Philippines.
After a somewhat slow start to the season, the 26-year-old right-hander’s big moment came at the Hotel Sentido Phenicia’s outdoor clay court on which she and her Italian partner came back from a set down to win in a super tie-break.
Cruising into the final without dropping a set, fourth-seeds Ka and Hofer ran into early trouble against third-seeds Vitalia Stamat of Moldova and Mariz Zotova of Russia in the final, losing the first set 1-6.
But the second set was a different story as they managed to take control. The 6-2 second-set triumph led to a super tie-break that swung back and forth before two mini-breaks helped Ka and Hofer to the title.
The French-born Cambodian, who first represented the Kingdom at the 2011 SEA Games, had a breakout season in 2016, winning two ITF Futures singles titles to become the Kingdom’s first player to win a major event.
She reached a career-high ranking of 526 last June after having earlier touched a doubles ranking of 600. Ka currently holds a WTA ranking of 708 in the singles and 745 in the doubles.
“Andrea won three doubles titles in 2016. She has a great start to repeat that feat or even do better this year,” said secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithvit.
“We want to thank the Chip Mong Group for supporting her travels on the circuit, and also her equipment sponsor Head, for giving her the proper equipment for success on the tour.
“I hope she can represent Cambodia with distinction at the upcoming Asian Games,’’ Rithvit added.