Local aces to battle foreigners at national tennis tourney

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The Tanimex Cup 2010 in Ho Chi Minh City this month has attracted some of Southeast Asia's leading players.

The National Men's Tennis Championships March 31-April 4 will see 14-year-old Nguyen Hoang Thien, one of the best players in Vietnam and Asia, compete for the championship, organizers told the press at Tan Binh Import-Export Corporation (Tanimex) Thursday.

Thailand will send Pongsiri Niroj to the event for the second year in a row while the country's 12th ranked player, newbie Grittaboon Prahmanee, will also compete at the contest that has attracted 10 foreign players alongside 38 local professionals.

Laos will send Vitaya Lasavady and Donady while Malaysia and Indonesia will send new faces to the tournament.

Malaysia will send two young names, 17-year-old Ariez Elyaas and 16-year-old Mohd Assri Merzuki.

Ariez Elyaas finished third in the men's singles and second in the men's doubles sy the 25th South East Asian Games in Vientiane last year.

Mohd Assri Merzuki also competed at the 25th SEA Games in Laos and finished fourth in the men's singles and second in the men's doubles.

An interesting Indonesian duo includes 20-year-old Christoper Rungkat and his 28-year-old compatriot Nesa Artha.

They won the men's doubles bronze medal at the SEA Games in Laos last year and Rungkat was chosen as one of the best athlete in the country in 2008.

He won the juniors' doubles championship at the French Open in 2008 when he was paired with Henri Kontinen from Finland. Together, they also advanced to the US Open 2008 and lost 1-2 to the Austria-Germany pair Moser and Stebe.

Vietnam's biggest names like Do Minh Quan, Ngo Quang Huy and Bui Tri Nguyen are training hard to take on their foreign rivals.

The tournament at the Tanimex Culture & Sports Tennis Club in Tan Binh Industrial Park will offer total cash prizes worth US$30,000.

The men's singles champion will be awarded the trophy and a cash prize of $2,500, apart from cash prizes for wins in each round.

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