Balking backhands proved Bun Kenny’s bane as the Cambodian right-hander went down without a whimper 6-0, 6-2 yesterday to a remarkably composed Marcus Daniell of New Zealand in the first round of the ITF Cambodian Futures for the GLF-Cham Prasidh Cup at the National Training Centre.
An unusually high number of unforced errors flowed from Kenny’s side while his rival made very few, staying solidly consistent from the baseline and mixing them up with some sterling advances to the net.
“It looked as if he was down from the first point. Usually he has a reliable backhand, but there were so many errors on that flank and he was up against an opponent who was solid and did everything right,” national coach Braen Aneiros told the Post.
Top-seeded Ti Chen of Taiwan made short work of Vietnamese qualifier Minh-Quan Do 6-2, 6-2 to kick start the day’s 12-match schedule.
Meanwhile last week’s winner, sixth-seeded Maximilian Neuchrist of Austria, and the beaten finalist Alex Michon of France, the third seed of this week’s tournament, won their first round matches with absolute ease.
The left-handed Michon was a 6-2, 6-3 winner over Great Britain’s Joshua Jones while Neuchrist also crafted a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Croatian Filip Veger.
The toast of the day, however, was reserved for 36-year-old Katshushi Fukuda, a popular quarterfinalist last week.
Left-handed Fukuda, a wildcard entrant, often dragged American Austin Karosi edgeways on the baseline, at times altering his length and pace to keep his rival on the toes.
Playing with sublime touch, the Japanese veteran worked out a 6-3, 6-2 win to set up a marquee match-up with Axel Michon in the second round.
Court 2 and 3 saw three-set battles being waged next to each other.
Dekel Bar of Israel seemed to be on a comfortable perch when he took the first set 6-2 without much of hard labour. But midway through the second, his French rival Matthieu Roy came into his own, snatching it away at 6-4.
However, the tall Israeli reworked his game plan and played the percentages better than Roy to grab the decider at 6-2.
Austrian Maxi Pongratz had his work cut out after Julien Demois of France gained an early upper hand, taking the first set with the loss of just three games.
What followed was a determined Pongratz fighting his way back into the match in the most telling fashion, wrapping up the long-drawn contest at 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Last week’s losing semifinalist, Artem Sitak staved off a second set fight back by Great Britain’s Richard Gabb for a 6-2, 7-5 win.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at firstname.lastname@example.org