Ka ‘on cusp of tennis history’
Assured of at least a bronze medal after her 6-0, 6-3 win over Chua Aslina of Malaysia in the women’s singles quarterfinals at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in Malaysia yesterday, Cambodia’s Andrea Ka is determined to get the gold the Kingdom’s tennis has been craving for decades.
“She is on the cusp of Cambodian tennis history. She had a breakout year in 2016, winning two ITF Futures events and climbing up the rankings to 520. We in Tennis Cambodia do hope and pray she can make it all the way to the gold,” said Tennis Cambodia Secretary-General Tep Rithivit after watching the action from the stands at Sports Complex Jalan Duta.
The 25-year-old French-born Cambodian right-hander was in absolute control but for a few twitchy moments in the second set.
Up 4-1 after taking the first set to love, Ka lost two consecutive games and seemed a bit nervous though she was still a break up at 4-3. She produced a strong service game and broke her rival at 5-3 to become the Kingdom’s first female player to enter medal territory.
In today’s semifinal, Ka faces Anna Clarice Patrimonio of the Philippines, who battled through a three-setter to down Beatrice Gumulya of Indonesia 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, having survived another long, drawn out encounter in the first round.
Both Ka and Patrimonio made their SEA Games bows in Indonesia 2011, with the Filipina picking up a bronze in the singles.
While tennis was dropped from the 2013 Games in Myanmar, Patrimonio played a key role in the Philippines winning a team silver medal at the 2015 edition in Singapore.
In petanque, Cambodia’s star pair of Ke Leng and Ouk Sreymom easily made it to the semifinals of the women’s doubles.
Both carry credentials as top guns in the sport having won golds at the sport’s world championships.
The Cambodian camp is sensing success, and the pair could well deliver Cambodia’s first gold in the non-Olympic discipline that has brought a host of medals for the Kingdom over the years.
Cambodia dealt Timor-Leste shock
All the familiar failings that surrounded Cambodia in three earlier defeats were back to haunt the side as coach Leonardo Vittorino’s men were beaten 1-0 by a spirited Timor-Leste in a clash between the Group B bottom sides on Tuesday night.
It was victory of redemption for winless Timor-Leste, the youngest nation in the Asean block, as Gumario da Silva produced one of the best goals of the Games so far, driving a 40-yard screamer into the top left corner in the 58th minute.
Yet again it was a tale of missed chances as a youthful but inexperienced Cambodian side failed to match their good approach work with scoring efficiency.
Coach Vittorino’s cup of woes are overflowing after four defeats from four, with 10 goals conceded and one scored – and that a fortuitous penalty against Vietnam.
Cambodia’s disappointing campaign will end today with a final group game against Indonesia that kicks off at 3pm Cambodian time.
Ukraine-born Cambodian Soung Artem finished 10th in his wushu event yesterday, while fencers Khim Sammean and Thong Tangchin finished 13th and 15th respectively in their eventsIn athletics, Pen Sokhong finished seventh with a time of 10.96 seconds in the men’s 100m semifinal, while Nget Phearath clocked 11 seconds to finish sixth in the other semifinal.
In the women’s 100m semi, Dourng Srepheap was fifth in 12.06 sec.
Despite a game-high 31 points from Sopheen Toun, Cambodia’s reliance on a rotation of just six players let them down as Indonesia used its resources to the full to chalk out a 112-70 win in the basketball competition at the MABA Stadium yesterday.
Having lost two of the last three matches, Cambodia will play Myanmar in the seventh-eighth place playoff on Friday after a rest day today.