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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Heartbreak again for Cambodian players at ITF Futures

Heartbreak again for Cambodian players at ITF Futures

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Cambodia’s Bun Kenny (L) plays a shot as doubles partner Ti Chen watches during their GLF-Cham Prasidh Cup match yesterday at the National Training Centre. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s Bun Kenny (L) plays a shot as doubles partner Ti Chen watches during their GLF-Cham Prasidh Cup match yesterday at the National Training Centre. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Cambodia’s Mam Panhara limped out of the first round of the second ITF Cambodian Futures tournament – the GLF-Cham Prasidh Cup – yesterday, beaten 1-6, 1-6 by fourth seeded Alexander Ward of Great Britain at the National Training Centre.

The 26-year old US-based right hander could hardly raise his game to the fighting levels he had reached last week against Maximilian Neuchrist, who came away from that tough opening round to eventually win the event.

Consistency was Ward’s watch word and Panhara often found himself in knots trying to find the range that could trouble his 450th-ranked rival.

Second seeded Jeevan Neduncheziyan cast aside his first round defeat by China’s Wan Gao last week to get his campaign back on track.

The 355th-ranked Indian found the humidity a lot more challenging than his 992nd-ranked Taiwanese opponent, Chieu-Fu Wang.

“I was quite happy with the way it turned out. It is one match at a time,” the second seed told the Post after his 6-3, 6-1 victory which took him less than an hour to complete.

While Jeevan was marching on untroubled, out on adjacent Court 3 his conqueror last week Gao Wan was fighting for his survival against fifth seeded Antoine Escoffier of France.

The hard-hitting Chinese staged a comeback of sorts by levelling the set scores, but, in the decider, the Frenchman proved hard to crack and snapped up the contest 6-3, 2-6, 6-3.

A qualifier from Algeria, Mehdi Bouras spent the the first set in the shadow of Frenchman Mick Lescure.

But once the Algerian opened out his shoulders it was a different story. He came out the better of the exchanges in the second and kept tightening the noose around the Frenchman’s neck to eventually run out a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 winner.

Taiwanese star Ti Chen took to the court alongside Cambodia’s Bun Kenny in a first round men’s doubles contest against top-seeded Neuchrist of Austria and his New Zealand partner Artem Sitak.

In a highly entertaining yet fiercely combative contest, Ti Chen and Bun Kenny ended up as gallant losers in a super tie-break at 10-6 after the first two sets had been split, 6-3 for the top seeds and a rearguard 7-6 for Ti Chen and Bun Kenny.

The Asian pair had hardly spent time on practice stints, yet when they got down to business it looked as if they had been long-time partners.

Neuchrist and Sitak, who both stand tall and can hurt the felt like few others can, brought their valuable doubles-play experience to bear when it came to pressure points.

“It was so near, yet so far. For two players who paired for the first time and had little practice together, it was a fabulous performance, though the defeat hurts,” said Tennis Federation of Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit, who was courtside along with national coach Braen Aneiros.

The coach noted that he thought they played the second set very well.

“Kenny in particular was hitting the ball quite well and that could really help him in his singles match,” Aneiros said.

Bun Kenny takes on Marcus Daniell of New Zealand in his singles first round match today.

The top seeded Ti Chen, who got in as a wildcard, faces Vietnamese qualifier Min Quan Do.

Fourth wildcard holder Katsushi Fukuda will be up against American Austin Karosi.

The second of three back-to-back $10,000 Men’s Futures events hosted by the TFC has been wholly sponsored by Group Lease Finance, a subsidiary of the Japan-based Asia Partnership Fund.

The president of the GLF, Mitsuji Konoshita, maintained that the GLF-Cham Prasidh Cup stands for the recognition of the vision and great leadership that the TFC has been given by its president, commerce minister Cham Prasidh.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at hirimanju@yahoo.com

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