Kang turns back Brit, gains junior tennis plum

By Joey Villar, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 24 2014 10:13 AM | Updated as of Mar 24 2014 06:13 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Kang Ku Keon of South Korea put a stop to the giant-slaying ways of Rhett Purcell of Great Britain with an emphatic 6-3, 6-4 victory and emerged the boys champion in the 25th Mitsubishi International Juniors Tennis Championships at the Rizal Tennis Center yesterday.

Kang, the highest remaining seeded player at No. 3 after he eliminated top pick Harry Bourchier of Great Britain, 7-5(5), 6-3, the day before, neutralized Purcell’s power-hitting game with his solid baseline game to book his biggest triumph to date.

“I knew for me to win I have to have an answer to his strong service game and forehand,” said the 17-year-old Kang, whose last and only title before his Grade 1 triumph here came last year when he ruled the Mian Chiang Cup in Kiaoshung, Chinese Taipei.

It was a sorry loss for the 6-2 Purcell, who came into this match riding the crest of his huge victories over fancied No. 11 Alexander Klintcharov of New Zealand, No. 5 Chung Yunseong of South Korea, No. 8 Bogdan Bobrov of Russia before running into a game Kang.

Down 4-5 and 15-40 in the 10th game, Purcell rallied, forced three deuces and fought off five match points by bombarding Kang with his booming serves and powerfull forehands before returning long a backhand by Kang that sealed the former’s fate.

So frustrated was Purcell that he smashed two balls out of centercourt right after the painful setback.

In girls’ play, No. 14 Gloria Liang of Canada trounced No. 3 Kimberly Birrell of Australia, 6-2, 7-5, to nail her first title.

Liang, 17, thus completed her remarkable run highlighted by her 7-6(6), 6-4 shock win over No. 2 Greetje Minnen of Belgium to seal her first crown after coming close to winning one before losing in the finals of the Under-18 Grade 2 Canadian Championship in Montreal, Canada last year.