Cambodian players were somewhat out of their depth in the tough qualifying rounds of the ITF Juniors over the weekend. The Kingdom’s bright hope Timothy Tep still put up a stiff fight against Phonepaseuth Pathummakuronen of Laos 6-4, 6-4 at the National Tennis Center, where the event is marking the 23rd Tep Kunnah Memorial Cup.
Having to win three matches to get through to the main draw which opened on Monday, none of the Cambodian players were able to measure up to this high demand. Eventually the four qualifiers in the boys section were Hoang Hung Vo from Vietnam, Songrit David Chanbubpha of Thailand, Kacper Long Vu from Poland and Takumi Watanabe of Japan.
The tournament marks the end of Timothy’s ITF Junior Circuit participation, but for Tennis Cambodia there is still the National Juniors and the annual Choeung Ek Tournament at the Olympic Stadium to be played out at the end of the year.
Sam Davith of Holybaby Orphanage was the only Cambodian player in the Boy’s Qualifying able to win a round, defeating Indian-American Udhbhav Nersu 6-2 7-5. Davith won the second 7-5 having been down 0-5 to take his first Junior Circuit win. In the second round of qualifying Davith fell to Daniel Gunawan of Indonesia 6-0 6-1.
Khleang Ponlok lost 7-5 6-3 to Vietnam’s Minh Tuan Dinh Viet. He still has a year to compete in junior events.
There was optimism that fast emerging Leng Sarinreach would qualify but he lost to Nhat Quang Nguyen from Vietnam.
Other Cambodian boys to suffer first round losses were Ran Chamrouen, Cerezales Nolane, Nel Samnang, Ith Bunthea, Van Seth, Leap Sovannary and Mon Pheakdey.
The two Cambodian girls are yet to take the court.
Thanking ABA Bank for supporting the event as main sponsors, Secretary General of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit said ABA had gone a long way in helping realise Cambodia’s aim to bring high quality competition to the juniors.
It has also helped Cambodia become a popular destination on the junior circuit ever since focus was shifted away from the ITF Men’s Futures a few years ago.