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Tennis Cambodia serves up surprises for juniors

Michael Schipani
Michael Schipani hits a shot in last year’s Junior Tennis Tournament. Schipani went on to take the title. H S Manjunath

Tennis Cambodia serves up surprises for juniors

National head coach and technical director of Tennis Cambodia Braen Aneiros has a surprise in store for junior players taking part in this year’s sixth and final event, the Junior Tennis Tournament, beginning today at the National Tennis Center.

Unlike the previous tournaments, the former Panamanian Davis Cup player has decided to confine this tournament to the top eight players in three different age groups for both boys and girls, creating an ATP Masters-style competition.

The eight players in each category will be split into two pools of four players for a round robin. The top two from each group will play the championship round while the runners-up will play off for the third and fourth spots.

The three competitive groups are the boys and girls under-18, 14 and 12, while boys under-12 flight B for novices playing with green dot balls has been given the go-ahead.

The boys U14 could spring some surprises since the draw includes four previous winners in a tightly packed field.

At the top of the ranking is Kep’s poster boy Sen Sophon, who won the first two events of the year and then found himself on the wrong end of the next three. Tep Timothy, Klang Punlok and Michael Schipani are all one-time winners eager for another taste of victory.

If everything goes his way, Chheang Vannasak could top off an almost perfect year in the boys under-18 section.

Leng Sarinreach has won four of the five boys U12 events this year, and his only loss was in July to Cheum Seyha. The form book clearly points to a final showdown between the two.

Unbeaten throughout the season, Hour Sreypov holds all the aces in the girls under-14 event. Small in stature but tall in talent, Sreypov has put together an amazing winning streak that began in the middle of last year. Her stranglehold is unlikely to loosen.

Meanwhile, Cheng Channeang has also built up a sound record this year in the girls under-18 category, which has often seen battles between Channeang and her sparring partner Ith Leakhena, who has managed to beat her friend only once this year and that was nearly five months ago.

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