Cambodia’s top player Bun Kenny won the first leg of the BMW Malaysian National Tennis Circuit 2014 in Kuala Lumpur after beating local hope Muhammad Ashaari Zainal Abidin 6-4, 6-2 in yesterday’s final.
The 22-year-old right hander, who played a pivotal role in Cambodia retaining their Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group III status in Dubai in September last year, was off to a sedate start, going 2-4 down in the first set, but pulled himself up to get a firm grip on the match.
As the momentum shifted his way, Kenny was unsparing in the second set and quickly wrapped up the contest to complete his first major triumph on the road since he won the 2011 Tanimex Cup in Vietnam.
“When I was trailing 2-4, I just told myself that I needed to be much more bolder and positive in my approach and play to my strengths. I took one game at a time and I could turn the whole match around,” Bun Kenny told the Post after his victory.
“It is a great feeling going into the season on this winning note. I have to thank Tennis Cambodia and secretary general Tep Rithivit for imposing so much faith in me and giving me such opportunities to go out and play. I am also thankful to coach Braen Aneiros and other members of his staff for the excellent training I have had.”
Tep Rithivit said: “One good day wipes out the bad memories of the whole month. It is something like that for me today.
“We all know [Kenny] has been working hard. His Davis Cup results have always been good, but his circuit record was somewhat patchy in the last 18 months. I am very happy for him. A remarkable turnaround for Cambodian tennis.
“Now that he has this huge win behind him, I am sure he will do well this season. On behalf of the federation I would like to thank Vittel, who sponsored Kenny on this trip and will support our national team in tournaments abroad except the SEA Games and Davis Cup,” he added.
Kenny returned to Phnom Penh yesterday to a warm reception from the city’s tennis community. He is likely to head to India next for two or three futures events there in March before turning his sights on the forthcoming Davis Cup campaign some time in April.