Cambodian Davis Cup spearhead Bun Kenny was completely out of sorts in his 6-2, 6-1 loss to Austrian left-hander Daniel Geib in the first round of the US$10,000 ITF Men’s Futures at the Tanimex Tennis Club in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday.
But the Cambodian camp drew some comfort from the performance of Mam Panhara, who went down gamely to India’s Kaza Vinayak Sharma 6-4, 6-3.
Bun Kenny’s loss to a player ranked nearly 200 places below him came as a disappointment. The 22-year-old Austrian dictated terms and tempo, often out-stroking Kenny, who will lead Cambodia’s charge in the upcoming Asia-Oceania Group IV Davis Cup battle in Doha from April 16 to 22.
Popularly known on the circuit as a warhorse, Kaza Vinayak Sharma was rewar-ded for his tenacity more than anything else as wild-card entry Mam Panhara put up a stout-hearted show.
Returning to this level of competition after a gap of nearly three years, Panhara, whose last Futures appearance was in Brazil before he took up a teaching career in the United States, had his moments in both sets.
But the 977th-ranked Ind-ian produced a stronger finish when it mattered.
“We had hoped for better results,” Cambodia’s Davis Cup non-playing captain, Tep Rithivit, told the Post yesterday.
“For someone out of competitive tennis for so long, Panhara’s performance can be counted as very encouraging.
“Perhaps Kenny was caught out on his off day. We hope the boys will do better in their next stop.”
Kenny and Panhara will be heading across town to the Hoang Then Tennis Club for the second Futures, beginn-ing next Monday.