In an all-Australian affair, fifth-seeded Andrew Whittington defeated his doubles partner Gavin van Peperzeel 7-5, 6-0 in the Cambodian $10,000 ITF Men’s Futures final to win the RMA-sponsored Ford Cup at the National Training Center on Saturday.
Before facing each other in the first week’s climatic singles title fight, Whittington and Van Peperzeel had produced great chemistry on court in Friday’s doubles final, warding off a tough challenge from the Thai pairing of Danai Udomchoke and Wishaya Trongcharoeunchaikul 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in a super tie-break.
It is never easy for doubles partners to face each other across the net – it gets more testy when the championship is at stake and this Australian pair was no different.
There were moments in the match when Van Peperzeel was visibly upset with some line calls and he was in no mood to hold back his anger and frustration over them.
Whittington was a tardy starter, going down by a break very early in the first set.
Serving at 5-4, Van Peperzeel came to within one point of taking the first set but failed to cash in on the chance. He moved up to the net hoping for a winning volley only to be neatly passed by Whittington.
Van Peperzeel never got another good look at the set as his doubles partner grew in confidence and took take control of the match.
It was apparent – especially in the second set – that Van Peperzeel’s wavering mind was breaking his focus.
A composed Whittington played fluid tennis and let his rival defeat himself, which goes some way to explaining the love set and the somewhat melodramatic end to a contest which carried such rich promise.
At a lunch hosted by the Tennis Federation of Cambodia, Whittington told the Post that he had to keep his head to win the match.
“My focus had to be on winning and I am happy I won,” he said.
The second week of competition, wholly sponsored by Group Lease Finance, starts with today’s main draw matches for the GLF Cham Prasidh Cup.
Earlier in the semi-finals on Friday, the two Australians had to spend long time on the court and both needed three sets to advance.
Whittington was off to a bright start against seventh-seeded Danai Udomchoke, who staged a splendid second set rally before surrendering 6-1, 4-6, 6-4
Van Peperzeel on the other hand had to take a much harder route to the final. He lost the first set in a tight tie-break and then made his way back to the match with some gritty tennis against second-seeded Hiroki Kondo of Japan. Van Peperzeel beat Kondo 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3.