August 29, 2012 00:00 By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam The Nation
Kittipong Wachiramanowong is the lone Thai battling it out in the US$50,000 Chang-SAT Bangkok Open's singles after main hope Danai Udomchoke was forced to retire with a knee injury in the first round at the Rama Garden Hotel yesterday.
Thai No 2 Kittipong beat Japanese qualifier Kento Takeuchi 6-2 6-1 while second-seed Danai suffered a recurrence of his left-knee ligament trouble and had to concede against Mao-Xin Gong of China at 7-6 (7-4) 4-1.
“It was the same injury that bothered me during the World University Games in 2007. I felt a bit stiff going on to court. And at the start of the second set it really hurt,’’ said Danai who has three weeks to rest and be ready for the Thailand Open next month.
Kittipong must have been expecting a tough match against a Japanese rival who had given him a difficult time in past encounters. That was not the case yesterday.
“He had to play three hours in the last qualifying match. Obviously, he was exhausted and didn’t give me much of a fight. He is normally a tough guy,’’ said Kittipong who will take on top seed and world No 109 Sela Dudi of Israel, who ousted home player Peerakiat Siriluethaiwattana 7-5 6-2.
“I’ve seen him play in other tournaments. He is a base-liner. But I think the weather conditions favour me.
“I just need to play my game and try a few things out there,’’ said the Thai Davis Cup player.
Among other wild-card entrants, Warit Sornbutnark was outclassed by James Ward of Great Britain 6-1 6-0 while Kong Pop Lertchai lost to Matt Reid of Australia 6-2 6-4.
Elsewhere, fourth-seeded Ze Zhang of China beat Harel Srugo of Israel 3-6 6-0 7-5, Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan beat Vishnu Vardhan of India 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-2) and South Korean qualifier Jeong Suk-yeong dismissed Jose Rubin Statham of New Zealand 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-3).