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Kenny assured of bronze after reaching semis

Bun Kenny plays a forehand shot in this year’s National Championships
Bun Kenny plays a forehand shot in this year’s National Championships, which he went on to win, at the Olympic Stadium on February 28. Sreng Meng Srun

Kenny assured of bronze after reaching semis

Six years after Tan Nysan delivered back-to-back bronze medals – Cambodia’s first in tennis history – Bun Kenny is now well within reach of medals of all colours as he made the men’s singles semifinals beating second seeded Wachiramanawong Kittipong 6-2, 6-4 at the Kallang Tennis Center yesterday. Kenny took out the same Thai player that Nysan had beaten to win a bronze medal at the 2009 Games in Laos.

Kenny played high and looping balls to Kittiphong’s backhand, and made sure that he could never get a rhythm during the match.

Although Kenny was 5-2 up in the second set, Kittiphong fought back to 5-4, and was up 40-15 on Kenny’s serve.

Kenny scrambled, came up with big serves and stayed disciplined to overcome the two breakpoints and hold his serve to finish the match.

The 25-year-old Kenny is assured of a bronze medal as a semifinalist but he is determined to lay his hands on the more precious variety.

“I am happy to be where I am today, but my target is clearly to climb higher,’’ Kenny told the Post after his triumph in nearly one hour and 10 minutes.

While Kenny’s advance to the medal round has kept spirits high in the tennis camp, disappointment of sorts was in store in the two other quarterfinals.

Andrea Ka, who had beaten Indonesia’s Lavinia Tanata in the team event a few days ago met her again, this time in the women’s singles quarterfinals. It was indeed a moment of reckoning for Andrea, who had been beaten by a Thai rival at the same stage four years ago on her debut in the 2011 Games in Indonesia.

A somewhat tentative Andrea stepped on to the court and the Indonesian, sensing her rival’s discomfort, quickly took advantage of that in an assertive display that led to her 6-2, 6-0 victory.

For 15-year-old French-born Delton Sophana Kim, making his big-stage debut for his now adopted country, it was a huge challenge playing someone as experienced as Sombutnark Warit of Thailand. Delton came out with a lot of energy, but soon found himself in a spot of bother as the Thai hardly gave the Cambodian youngster shots with the pace he normally thrives on.

Delton was trading stroke for stroke until Warit discovered that his opponent had trouble with balls with no pace. Warit utilised this plan through till the end with Delton unable to find another plan to crack Warit’s game.

In cycling, Seng Kheang and Nhonh Lenh finished 12th and 13th respectively in the men’s individual time trial finals with Malaysia’s Manullang Robin racing away to victory.

In the women’s event, Heng Siv Lang finished six minutes behind the winner Salamat Marella of the Philippines

Cambodia’s golfers ended their fourth round at a combined 245 to be way off the pace. The only silver lining was Seng Vanseiha’s 75 after his third round 79, with teammates Peou Pich Meta and Thong Sokhamony touching the 90s.

There was no cheer for Cambodia in the pool either as Hem Thon Ponleu was nearly five seconds behind winner Hall Josuha of the Philippines in the men’s 50m breaststroke heat. Ponleu clocked 33.23 to be seventh.

Seng Samphors’ 31.02 seconds in the men’s 50m freestyle was nearly five seconds slower than heat winner Quah Ting Wen of Singapore In the women’s 50m freestyle heat, Hemthon Vittiny was at the worng end of the field, clocking 30.60 seconds.

Thoeun Thol timed 31.63 in the men’s 50m backstroke heat, nearly five seconds off the pace finishing behind compatriot Cheng Pirot at 32.58 seconds. In the men’s 400m freestyle, Pou Sovijja was nearly 19 seconds behind the winner, Sim Welson Wee of Malaysia.

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