SEA Games: Dy and Huey stand tall

ALMOST A CLEAN SWEEP: If not for the Philippines’ tennis pair of Denise Dy (left) and Treat Huey (right), Thailand would have won all the golds on offer at a SEA Games for the first time.

Over the years they have produced a couple of world-class players and it's no surprise Thailand rule tennis in South-east Asia these days.

They were on course to run the table at this year's SEA Games, but Philippines pair Denise Dy and Treat Huey had other ideas yesterday at the Kallang Tennis Centre.

The mixed doubles pair faced Sonchat Ratiwatana and Peangtarn Plipuech in the final and all four players were made to wait as rain prevented them from taking to court for two hours.

In a high-quality display, Dy and Huey wrung out a 7-6, 6-4 win amidst a raucous Philippines-heavy crowd that sang, danced and waved the nation's flag on the terraces.

Said Huey: "It felt like I was playing at home, the crowd were so loud and absolutely behind me, not just today but throughout the week.

"After they (Thailand) swept everything yesterday, we knew we had a chance to win one back today.

"It was motivating for us to go out there and get the gold (medal)."

On Saturday, the Thais won the women's singles, men's doubles and men's and women's team titles.

There were three golds to fight for yesterday, in the men's singles, women's doubles and the mixed doubles.

Only the Thai mixed doubles pair came unstuck in the end.

Said Sonchat: "I thought we played well, but they are a really strong pair.

"It's a shame that we didn't win because it would be the first time Thailand won all the (gold medals in tennis), but we tried our best and they played very well."


On centre court, Thailand's Warit Sornbutnark took on David Susanto from Indonesia for the men's singles title.

The Thai eventually beat his opponent in a three-set thriller 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, adding a fifth gold to the Thai's tennis tally.

The final match of the day saw Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and Varatchaya Wongteanchai take on the Philippines' Dy and Katharina Lehnert for the women's doubles crown.

Supporters of both sides filled the stands on centre court to once again create a fantastic atmosphere for the showdown.

The Thai pair raced to a 4-0 lead playing an extremely aggressive style of doubles that would have even impressed the Williams' sisters.

But the Filipinos had their own strengths.

Lehnert's groundstrokes were on a par with the Thais as she engaged in hard-hitting cross-court rallies that thrilled the crowd. Her partner's great hands at the net countered the blows of their opponents' shots.

But, eventually, the Thais triumphed 6-3 6-4.

Said Noppawan: "We hit our best and tried to challenge them. We knew we had to go for it and play as offensive as possible to win."

Despite the dent in an otherwise perfect showing at these Games, Thailand team official, Witaya Samrej, told The New Paper: "We would have wanted all seven (gold medals), but we came here aiming for only four.

"This is a great result and I am very happy with the team's performance."

This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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