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Kids hit high notes at junior tennis event

Hour Srey Pov serves during her National Junior Tennis girls U14 semi-final against Eang Kunthea
Hour Srey Pov serves during her National Junior Tennis girls U14 semi-final against Eang Kunthea at the National Training Centre. TFC

Kids hit high notes at junior tennis event

Few in her age group can match her determination and consistency, and Hour Srey Pov’s winning run continued in the season opening National Junior tennis tournament at the National Training Centre yesterday.

In the girls U12 singles final, Srey Pov dominated from get go. Having won four tournaments last season, she got the measure of Daria Rakiting 6-2, 6-1 to record her fifth triumph in this category.

Rakiting was tentative the whole match, knowing fully well that her rival doesn’t normally miss much. She tried mighty hard but failed to match the consistency shown by Srey Pov, often giving the impression that she was afraid to swing or to try and play aggressively.

Srey Pov, who is from the Boueng Khyang Orphanage, has worked her way up significantly in the past six months to emerge as one of the promising players in the girls circuit. On the way to the final, she beat Eang Kunthea 6-1, 6-2, while Rakiting beat Kim Vichika 6-4, 6-2.

Since a small field of five lined up for the girls U14 singles, the format was turned into round-robin play. Ho Srey Nuch got the better of Ouk Vanna 6-2, 6-2 in the game that mattered most.

The girls U18 singles event was won by Cheng Channeang, who outclassed Ith Leakhena 6-4, 6-2. While Channeang played the percentages well and opted for safe play most of the time, Leakhena’s aggressive approach cost her numerous unforced errors.

In the semi-finals, Cheng Channeang beat Oung Sreypov 6-3, 6-1, while Leakhena beat Aim Liev 6-1, 2-6, 6-0.

Leng Sarinreach won the boys U12 singles final, beating Sam David 6-0, 6-4. Sarinreach, almost a head taller than his opponent, started out in great style, reeling off six games in a row while going for his shots and not missing much. The same tactic did not work that well in the second yet he managed to use his known strengths to shut the match out.

Both Sarinreach and David had an easy time in the semis. Sarinreach beat Cheum Seyha 6-3, 6-2 and David shot past Kun Kouen 6-1, 6-0.

A hard-fought boys U14 final saw Sen Sophon down Tep Timothy 7-5, 6-4. Timothy daringly went for his shots, keeping his rival on the hop. Yet Sophon’s crafty handling and court coverage stood him in good stead. More significantly, Sophon made some successful forays into the net to maintain pressure on Timothy.

Chheang Vannasith gave Timothy a hard time in the first set of their semi-final clash before the grandson of legendary late Cambodian tennis player Tep Khunnah steadied himself to wrap up the match at 7-5, 6-2.

Sophon had an easier time against Khlang Ponlok at 6-2, 6-1.

Meanwhile, Chheang Vannasak raced away to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Selimi Theo to win the boys U18 singles final.

Vannasak’s ability to change directions with ease and find short angles to move his rival paid off handsomely. Theo was driven from one corner to the other, unable to figure out most of the time which way to go with his returns. Vannasak was always handy to exploit the mistakes that flowed from the other side of the court.

In the semi-finals, however, Theo had his own way against Seoun Sothol, winning 6-3, 6-1, even as Vannasak showed no mercy on Sreum Kakada in a 6-1, 6-0 win.

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