HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Spain’s Garcia-Lopez wins Thailand Open

Tiger Woods to play in Thailand ‘skins’ game

Chiang Mai travel to Saraburi for play-off opener

Spain’s Garcia-Lopez wins Thailand Open

Giant-killer Guillermo Garcia-Lopez capped off a memorable week in Bangkok by winning his second ATP World Tour title after a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen in the 2010 PTT Thailand Open singles final on Sunday, Oct. 3.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez holds up the champion’s trophy after defeating Jarkko Nieminen in the final of the 2010 PTT Thailand Open in Bangkok, Sunday, Oct. 3. (Photo/PTT Thailand Open)

Garcia-Lopez, who had defeated three seeded players (#8 Michael Berrer, #4 Ernests Gulbis, and top seed Rafael Nadal) en route to the final, continued his resilient performance, surviving all seven break points he faced in the first set, while taking his only opportunity to break the Finnish lefthander.

In the second set, Nieminen upped the ante, playing more aggressively and coming to the net more often, and broke the Spanish world #53 in the second game in order to level the match.

In the final set, Garcia-Lopez broke the 60th-ranked Finn in the fourth game, but dropped his serve in the next game. The crucial moment came in the tense tenth game. Serving to stay in the match and with the capacity crowd of 9,000+ spectators on the edge of their seats, Nieminen saved three match points but the 27-year-old Spaniard did not waste his fourth chance, and claimed the victory.

Paradorn Srichaphan is seen competing at the 2004 U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadow, New York. The long time Thai No. 1 announced his retirement from tennis at this year’s PTT Thailand Open. (Photo/Scott Klettke)

By winning the title in Bangkok, Garcia-Lopez will move to around No. 40 in the ATP World Tour rankings. He achieved a career-high of No. 38 earlier this year on May 17. Garcia-Lopez also became the eighth different Spaniard to win an ATP World Tour title this season.

This is the second title for the Spaniard. He won his first in Kitzbuehel in May last year.

Paradorn calls time on tennis career

Following the singles and doubles finals at the 2010 PTT Thailand Open, former world #9 and national hero Paradorn Srichaphan officially announced his retirement from professional tennis in front of a packed audience at Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani.

Srichaphan became the first Asian tennis player to be ranked in the top 10, reaching a career-high #9 in 2003, as well as making it to the fourth round in three Grand Slam events (Wimbledon and US Open in 2003, and Australian Open in 2004). He won five career titles, including four hard-court events: in Long Island (2002, 2003), Stockholm (2002), Chennai (2002), and the grass court event in Nottingham (2003).

Srichaphan, nicknamed “Super Ball” by Thai fans, also won the ATP World Tour’s Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award in 2002 and 2003.

The Thai tennis ace was highly credited for raising the profile of tennis and interest in the sport in Thailand and Asia. His success on the professional circuit contributed to an inaugural ATP World Tour event in Thailand in 2003, which has continued for eight years.

The farewell ceremony started with President of the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand Suwat Liptapanlop acknowledging Srichaphan’s achievements and contributions to tennis in Thailand, as well as in Asia.

Srichaphan then began his speech, greeting the audience, but paused for a moment as the emotion of the moment overcame him. The crowd responded to his tears with a rousing round of applause and cheers.

“I still remember the first day I stepped onto the court and that feeling I will never forget. I would like to leave the PTT Thailand Open to the Lawn Tennis Association, organisers and sponsors, and hope the event will continue for years to come,” said Paradorn.

“I wouldn’t have made it to today without support from my parents, my brothers, and my loving wife, Natalie, and of course, my fans.”

“Every match on the tour is memorable, but today is the day I will remember all my life. I may no longer compete on the professional circuit, but I will continue to contribute to the sport and my country by using my experience in developing a new generation of players.”

“I also want to thank ATP staff. Since the first day I set foot in the ATP world, I felt that it was my second home. They made me feel like home and that’s why I could travel around the world and spend eight to nine months every year on the circuit without missing home, though of course, I did miss home.”

Srichaphan received a golden tennis ball as a token of appreciation from the Lawn Tennis Association president, while the tournament organizers presented him with a beautiful large framed action shot of Paradorn competing in the tournament. (Source PTT Thailand Open)

Tiger Woods to play in Thailand ‘skins’ game

Staff Reporters

Four of the world’s top golfers, spearheaded by world No. 1 Tigers Woods, will go head-to head in a special one day 18-hole tournament to celebrate His Majesty the King’s upcoming birthday and the 60th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

Tiger Woods will return to the Thailand for the first time in 10 years to play in a special ‘skins’ game on November 8 in honour of His Majesty the King. (Photo/Keith Allison)

The ‘skins’ tournament, titled “World Golf Salutes King Bhumibol”, will take place on November 8 at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, home to the annual Royal Trophy event between Asia and Europe, and will feature England’s Paul Casey, Colombia’s rising star Camilo Villegas and Thailand’s top rated player Thongchai Jaidee, who, along with 14-time major winner Woods, will compete for the total prize money of US$300,000.

Woods will be making his first competitive appearance in an event in Thailand for 10 years, his last tournament here being the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic which he went on to win. He made his debut in the Kingdom in 1997 at the Asian Honda Classic, an event which sparked “Tigermania” amongst the large crowds who followed him and which prompted him to say at the time that he felt like he was at “home”.

For more information about the upcoming tournament and for ticket reservations, visit

Chiang Mai travel to Saraburi for play-off opener

Staff Reporters

Chiang Mai FC have been drawn to meet the “Warlords” of Saraburi FC at the Ban Mo Stadium, Saraburi on Saturday, Oct. 16 in the first round of the end of season play-off fixtures.

Saraburi finished top of the Central and Eastern Division 2 and will pose a stern test to the ‘Lana Tigers’ as they go looking to progress to the next round of the playoffs and ultimately to gain promotion to the National League Division 1.

The draw was announced at a meeting held at the Sofitel Centara Grand hotel in Bangkok on September 29 and was attended by representatives and chairmen of the 12 teams who have qualified for the end of season matches. The following games will be played on Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 October: Saraburi FC v Chiang Mai FC, Trang FC v Phichit FC and Rangsit v Burirum FC (all on Oct. 16) and Bangkok FC v Chainart FC, Samut Prakarn FC v FC Phuket and Loei City v Rayong FC (to be played Oct. 17).

As always we will keep you up to date with the progress of the ‘Lanna Tigers’ in the next issue of Chiang Mai Mail.