The first national clay court Junior Tennis Championships, postponed due to bad weather last week after the ICF Tennis Center in Siem Reap was flooded due to incessant rains, were quickly rescheduled within days and the event which attracted 72 entries from four provinces in several age categories concluded without a hitch at the same venue on Monday.
Tournament director Scott Windus, who is also the head of Tennis Cambodia’s northwest operations, said the Tournament, the first nationals to be played outside of Phnom Penh, could be held much earlier than anticipated as the weather turned favourable and sunshine over the past few days brought the clay surface back to normal to help the matches roll from Saturday morning.
Players from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kandal and Battambang took part in various age group singles events with Phnom Penh’s Khleang Ponlok and Ho Sreynoch winning the U18 Boys and girls singles titles respectively.
Ponlok easily got the measure of Ith Bunthea 6-2,6-4 in the final. Despite having been stretched to three sets by Sam Davith in the semis, Ponlok still had the energy to get to the final even though he was struggling to find his footing on clay.
Local girl Lou Pechreaksmey was at a disadvantage playing a player with a lot of competitive experience Ho Sreynoch, who expectedly proved too strong for her rival in her 6-2,6-1 win to maintain her unbeaten record so far this year.
In an all Siem Reap affair, Isaac Windus got past Ngun Chethra 6-2, 6-4 in the Boys U 14 final, while Nyem Srey Noch picked herself up from a mid-match crisis to beat Lou Pechreaksmey 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Lim Vuth did Kandal proud by winning the boys U12 singles at the expense of Battambang’s Vibol Rayuth 6-0, 6-1. In the girls version, Sokha Lisa of Siem Reap, who has dominated this division for the better part of a year now, defeated Souern Lisa of Battambang 6-0, 6-2.
The main sponsor of the tournament, BSP Finance was represented at the opening ceremony by country manager Etienne Kettenmeyer with colleague Phalsokun Chey.
“BSP Finance’s support is very visible. We are bringing tennis to more and more children in the province, and even in Phnom Penh we’ve been able to reach out to more schools in the last year,’’ noted Tennis Cambodia’s head of junior Development Phalkun Mam.
“Just as we have shown the world we can organise top class professional and junior circuit events, on a national level our provinces are stepping up showing us that they too can host a professional and organised event on their own. And all this is possible from their hard work and the support of partners like BSP Finance,” he said.