Vietnamese tennis star quenches title thirst with Thailand title

By Hieu Luong   February 25, 2024 | 10:43 pm PT
Vietnamese tennis star quenches title thirst with Thailand title
Ly Hoang Nam receives the M15 Nakhon Si Thammarat title on Feb. 25, 2024. Photo courtesy of Ly Hoang Nam
Vietnam's top tennis player Ly Hoang Nam claimed victory at the M15 Nakhon Si Thammarat tournament in Thailand on Sunday, ending his title drought of over a year.

Nam's last championship was at the M25 Tay Ninh in October 2022. Following that, he participated in 32 different tournaments, including M15, Challenger, and even prestigious events like the ATP Masters Shanghai 1000, without securing a top position before finally winning at the M15 Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Ranked 549th in the ATP, Nam was seeded fifth at the tournament in Thailand. In the first round, he defeated Thai player Siwanat Auytayakul 6-4 and 6-4. He then beat Japan's Jumpei Yamasaki 6-4 and 6-2 in the second round, followed by a 7-5 and 7-6 victory over Brazil's Gabriel Decamps in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Nam bet Israel's Orel Kimhi 6-2 and 7-5.

On his 27th birthday, in the final match on Sunday, Nam faced Dutch player Sander Jong, the eighth seed and ranked 50 places below him in the ATP rankings. Jong's strengths are his serves and powerful forehand attacks, contrasting with Nam's resilient and defensive style of play. After losing 6-7 in the first set, Nam impressively returned to win 7-6 and 6-4.

The victory earned Nam 15 points and he's expected to return to top 500 of ATP Ranking. He will continue to stay in Thailand to compete in another M15 Nakhon Si Thammarat tournament from Feb. 26 to March 3.

This year, Nam has returned to participating in M15 and M25 tournaments system to accumulate points and improve his ATP ranking. Previously, he consistently competed in Challenger 50, 80 and 100 tournaments in 2023 without success, thus dropping from the top 250 to outside the top 500.

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