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Cambodians soak up matchplay experience

Leng Sarinreach (centre) and Sam Davith fly the Cambodian flag in Bangkok with their coach, Long Samneang (left). AFP
Leng Sarinreach (centre) and Sam Davith fly the Cambodian flag in Bangkok with their coach, Long Samneang (left). AFP

Cambodians soak up matchplay experience

Cambodian youngsters Leng Sarinreach, 13, and Sam Davith, 11, may have been beaten in their respective second-round matches in Bangkok, but they soaked up a lot of matchplay experience in the process.

The week started on a bright note for Davith and Sarinreach, who both won their first-round matches at the ITF/ATF 14 & Under Development Championships in the Thai capital.

Davith, from Koh Krabei, had to raise his game in a super tie-break to beat Raim Maumoon of the Maldives 6-7, 6-3, 10-8.

Sarinreach, who was competing in the Division II championships for the second year in a row, had no trouble beating Turkmenistan’s Kirill Litwinoy 6-1, 6-0.

After his gruelling first-round match, Davith looked completely out of his depth against top-seeded J Koey of Malaysia. He was unable to win a game in either set.

Despite that loss, Davith got another chance to figure in the compass draw, playing Nepal’s Samryak Bajracharya. He lost 2-6, 1-6 to his 14th seeded Nepalese rival, however, but hopes to do well during the second week.

In his second-round encounter against 12th seeded Mohd Noor Ariffin of Malaysia, Sarinreach was highly competitive, engaging his rival in a three-hour battle.

After being swept off his feet in the first set, Sarinreach began to hit out with confidence and wrested back the second set in a tie-break to drive the match into a decider that stretched all the way to another hard-fought tie-break, with the Cambodian youngster winding up on the wrong side.

This test of endurance took its toll on Sarinreach, who was listless in his back draw tie against Ashensilva Sangarajage of Sri Lanka, who won with ease at 6-1, 6-0.

Meanwhile, the doubles event followed a different pattern. As a way of creating better bonds between players from different countries, the pairings were determined by random selections. Davith was paired with Tamir Ankhbayar of Mongolia, while Sarinreach combined with Chon Lai of Macau. Both pairs were beaten in the first round.

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