Star continues to rise for Vietnamese tennis phenom

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Ly Hoang Nam's decision to compete at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Grade 1 Tournament in Costa Rica has proved itself a wise one.

Nam, 15, made his way to the quarterfinals of the ITF Grade 1 Copa Del Café held from December 31, 2012 till January 6, 2013.

Nam beat the seventh seeded Daniel Kerznerman of the US 6-2, 6-1 in the first round before defeating Adrian Ortiz of Mexico 6-4, 6-2 in the second round and then cruised to the quarterfinals by beating Argentine competitor Jordi Arconada 6-4, 6-4 in the third round.

Nam, ranked 276th by the ITF, who became Vietnam's youngest national champion in 2012 after beating senior player Do Minh Quan in the national men's singles final, lost 3-6, 3-6 to the 17-year-old fourth-seed, Peruvian player Jorge Panta, ranked 31st by ITF.

Nam's coach, Tran Duc Quynh, said the Swedish coach Dave Bendelin had advised Nam to compete in the ITF Grade 1 contest because several strong young European players would not compete due to the New Year's holiday, and it would be a good chance for lower-ranked players to improve their rankings by earning some points.

The Swedish coach has been helping coach Nam at the South American tournaments. He has been credited with Nam's advance to the second round at an event in Mexico.

Coach Quynh said Nam has earned some points and is set jump to the 118th spot in the rankings next week, which would place him just two positions behind another young Vietnamese talent, Nguyen Hoang Thien.

Nam will surpass Thien if he plays well at the Copa Gatorade in Venezuela from January 7 to 13.

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