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Cambodia scalp hosts Qatar to top the pool

Cambodia scalp hosts Qatar to top the pool

US-based Cambodian brothers Mam Panhara (r) and Mam Vitu (l) play in Doha on Tuesday. Photo by Sreng Meng Srun


Riding high on their 3-0 triumph over Singapore in the Davis Cup opener, Cambodia showed no mercy on Qatar, recording a breezy 2-1 win over the hosts to scale the top of Pool B in the Asia Oceania Group IV series at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex in Doha on Tuesday evening.


The Kingdom's top player Bun Kenny put the tie beyond Qatar's reach in ruthless fashion, blanking out Mousa Zayed 6-0, 6-0 in the second singles rubber after Mam Panhara had been equally assailing in his 6-2, 6-3 win over Jabor Ali Mutawa.


“Panhara and Kenny were near flawless. Sitting by the courtside, I could feel that pounding energy in them,” non-playing captain Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.


“It is such an amazing feeling. We are heading our pool. It has been two fulfilling days of my tennis life.


“Honestly, I am drained out,” he added. “Being a captain is an interesting but mentally tiring experience, although I have relished every single minute of six hours courtside with my players.”


Armed with an unassailable 2-0 lead, Cambodia lost the dead doubles rubber when Mam Panhara and his brother Vetu went down fighting 6-2, 2-6, 5-7 to the Qatari pair of Jabor Ali Mutawa and Mousa Zayed.


As disappointing as the loss of this close call was for the US-based Mam brothers, both players were happy to have shared the court in a Davis Cup rubber as a personal triumph for their tennis loving family.


“We always had this dream of playing together in Davis Cup. That wish was granted today,” said Panhara, striking the same wavelength as his sibling in their reaction to the Post after the match.


The Cambodian camp has been flooded with congratulatory calls and messages from all over the world following back-to-back victories which have now brought the side closer to a semifinal place.


“The team is in very high spirits right now. We do not want this initial euphoria to shake our focus. We are playing Myanmar on Wednesday. That is a very crucial tie,” head coach Braen Aneiros told the Post on Tuesday.


The second day of the five-team round robin saw Jordan prevail 2-1 over Myanmar in a fiercely contested Pool B tie.


Myanmar took a 1-0 lead when Nge Hnaung edged past Yazan Abdelaziz Abudayeh 7-6, 3-6, 6-4.


But Jordan's Fawaz El Hourani restored parity by beating Min Thar 7-6, 6-1.


All four players were back on court to battle for the crucial doubles and, after some intense exchanges, the Jordian pair of Yazan Abdelaziz Abudayeh and Fawaz El Hourani managed to peg back Thar and Hnaung 6-4, 5-7, 8-6 to clinch the tie.


Meanwhile in Pool A, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia split the singles before UAE took the deciding doubles to record a 2-1 victory.


Turkmenistan continued their spirited run with a 3-0 victory over Iraq. Turkmenistan, who lead the Pool A standings, have not dropped a set in two outings.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]


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