Nguyen Hoang Thien defeated Do Minh Quan in the first match of Group A in the Vietnam Masters in Ho Chi Minh City.

The fifth seed won 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 over the fourth seed, who dominated the national tennis championships for several years before slipping down the rankings earlier this year.

In the next match, Ho Chi Minh City's Thien, the national runner-up, will play the top seed, Pham Minh Tuan of Da Nang.

Tuan on December 26 beat Tran Hoang Anh Khoa of Military 6-3, 6-3.

Host athletes Quan and Khoa will play in later matches of the group.

In Group B, Le Quoc Khanh retired in the third set. He was 3-6, 7-5, 3-1 down against his Hanoian rival Trinh Linh Giang before he quit.

In the other match, Military representative Tran Thanh Hoang came from behind to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 against his teammate, Ho Huynh Dan Mach.

Khanh will face Mach on December 27, while Hoang meets Giang.

In the women's competition, the higher-ranking seeds earned easy victories in the second match of the group round.

Huynh Phuong Dai Trang of Ho Chi Minh City beat Le Thi Thanh Thuy of Kien Giang 6-0, 6-0, while Huynh Phi Khanh won 6-2, 6-3 against Tay Ninh's Tran Thi Thanh Thanh.

Meanwhile, Tran Thi Tam Hao defeated Dao Minh Trang 6-2, 6-2, while Nguyen Ai Ngoc Van trounced Si Boi Ngoc 6-4, 6-2.

The Masters, an end-of-year tournament, offers a total of 280 million VND (13,300 USD) in prize money. The cream of the crop will be selected for the country's David Cup and the Fed Cup qualification rounds.

The finals are scheduled for December 31. The organisers plan to open the event to regional competitors in the near future.-VNA