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Samneang wilts after good start

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Cambodian tennis player Long Samneang missed out on a place in the main draw of an ITF juniors tournament by losing to Indonesia’s Susanto Hendrawan yesterday in Indonesia. Photograph: Sreng Meng Srun/Phnom Penh Post

Inexperience cost Cambodia’s 17-year-old Long Samneang a place in the main draw of the ITF Junior Tennis Tournament in the Indonesian city of Surabaya yesterday.

Long Samneang, who was the youngest member of the Kingdom’s Davis Cup mission to Doha in April, raced away with the first set for the loss of just one game.

But he began to balk midway through the second and was out of sorts in the third to go down 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 to Indonesia’s Susanto Hendrawan in the third and final round of the qualifiers.

“Samneang drifted away from a good position. Inexperience told in the end, though he put up a stiff fight all the way,” Cambodia’s national team coach Braen Aneiros said in his analysis of the match.

“He can take a lot of positives from this week to the next.”

Appearing in his first big tournament since the Group IV campaign in Doha, Samneang posted an impressive 6-0, 6-2 victory over Indonesia’s Ferdy Setiawan in the second round on Sunday after drawing a first round bye.

“It is very important for us in the team-building process that every member goes out and grabs this kind of competitive experience,” Tennis Federation of Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit said yesterday.

“Long Samneang did not get much of a chance to play live rubbers in our Davis Cup show, but I am sure his time will come. Now that he is out on his own, it is a good opportunity for him to make that move and show what he is capable of.”

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

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