Cambodia’s top tennis pair Orn Sambath (left) and Bun Kenny (right), seen here playing as partners in the doubles final of the 2010 Cambodian Open, will represent the Kingdom in the Super Singles event of the upcoming week-long Tep Khunnah Memorial Cup tournament at the National Training Centre in Phnom Penh, which begins on Friday. Photo by: Sreng Meng Srun
Two players each from neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam will join national team members Bun Kenny and Orn Sambath in a six-player round-robin Super Singles, which forms the centrepiece of the 15th Tep Khunnah Memorial tennis tournament beginning at the National Training Centre on Friday.
The season-ending event, the longest running tournament of its kind in the Kingdom with an uninterrupted record since 1996, carries a total prize fund of around US$3,000 dollars and features competitions in men’s singles and doubles, over 45 singles and junior singles for under 14s and under 18s. The highlight of the week-long event is the Super Singles, where the players divided in two groups play each other, with the top two of each group advancing to criss-cross semifinals.
Last year, the Super Singles involved eight players, with the winners of each group moving directly into a final showdown.
“The field this year is reduced to six, but its strength will be notably bolstered by the presence of Thai and Vietnam players. The introduction of semifinals is to raise the competitive fervour and to make the event more lively,” said Tennis Federation of Cambodia Technical Director and National team head coach Braen Aneiros.
National No 1 Bun Kenny is likely to focus solely on the Super Singles, which is slated from December 8 to 12, and stay out of the men’s singles. “Orn Sambath needs a lot more match play, and he will probably enter the men’s singles as well,” said Aneiros.
Vietnam is set to send two of its top juniors to the event, while Thailand may opt for one player in the top five and blood a promising youngster. The names of the four players invited for the Super Singles will be made known in the next few days.
Entries have been steadily trickling in, but the flow has been relatively poor compared to previous years. The American Thanksgiving holiday and the international half marathon in Siem Reap on Sunday have been sighted as two main reasons for the unexpected drop in participants from the expat community, which usually forms a sizeable chunk in most of the city’s tennis events.
Meanwhile, two-time SEA Games bronze medallist Tan Nysan has rejoined the national team after a break of nearly seven months following a serious ankle injury he suffered during an ITF event in India early this year. He is almost certain to sit out of the Tep Khunnah event, setting his sights instead on the back-to-back Futures events the TFC will be hosting in Phnom Penh during the third week of January next year.
Registration for the Tep Khunnah Memorial tournament ends at 5:00pm on Friday. The entry fees for expats will be US$10 per event, while local players are charged $2 per event.