Contenders from Kep proved their mettle by winning the boys’ U14 and U12 singles events of the Cambodian Junior Tennis Championships, sponsored by NagaWorld, at the National Training Centre over the weekend.
Third seed Svay Voth, from Kep’s Aravady School, deftly handled fourth seed Sreum Kakada, who represents a Takeo-based orphanage, in a boys’ U14 final that was fiercely contested.
After taking hold of the first set on the back of early breaks, Svay Voth ran into stiff resistance from his rival, who missed a couple of chances to force the tie to a decider.
The winner kept his composure well enough to close out the match at 6-2, 7-5.
On the way up to the final, Svay Voth sent out top seed Tep Timothy 6-2, 7-5, but Sreum Kakada had a much easier run against second-seeded Chheang, known only by his given name, 6-1, 6-1.
In the consolation event for first-round losers, Noul Cheat, Sun Tha Poach, Phal Chen and Cheum Panet got through their opening rounds to each earn a valuable ranking point.
Top seed Sen Sophoan, flying the ASPECA, colours did Kep proud by coasting home 5-3, 4-0 against fourth seed Sreum Tola, a product of the Tonle Bati Orphanage program, in the boys’ U12 final.
In the semi-finals, Sen Sophoan breezed past Khlang Ponlok 4-1, 5-3, but the road was bumpy for Sreum Tola against Eth Bunthea.
The first set was touch and go until Sreum Tola squeezed out a winning tie-break, only to see Eth Bunthea take the second. The fourth seed regained momentum quickly at the start of the third set, however, to wrap up the match 5-4, 2-4, 4-1.
In the U12 back draw, Hok Vichika, Som Davith, Mon Prakday and Prak Sanphanut picked up one ranking point each.
True to form, Hour Sreypov, who is regarded as the most promising player among girls in the Tonle Bati Orphanage tennis initiative, took the U12 event for the loss of just one game 4-1, 4-0, against Ho Sreynuch, from the Kandal province NGO Sunrise.
“The success of the boys from Kep, and good performances from players involved in orphanage programs only show how well our junior initiatives are working, and we owe it to NagaWorld for supporting this project,” Tennis Federation of Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit told the Post.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]