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Despite Kenny’s win, Cambodia go down to Syria

Cambodia’s non-playing tennis captain Tep Rithivit gives some coaching to Mam Phalkun during his Davis Cup match against Syria’s Bruno Abdelnour in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Cambodia’s non-playing tennis captain Tep Rithivit gives some coaching to Mam Phalkun during his Davis Cup match against Syria’s Bruno Abdelnour in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Despite Kenny’s win, Cambodia go down to Syria

Cambodia’s Davis Cup spearhead Bun Kenny pulled off a spectacular singles victory but that was not enough to stop the Abdelnour brothers Marc and Bruno steering Syria to a 2-1 win in the Pool B opener of the Asia Oceania Group III competition at Kuala Lumpur’s Kompleks Tun Razak Tennis Center yesterday.

In the opening singles rubber, Phalkun Mam found the going tough against Marc after a tentative start, with the Syrian racing off to a 6-2,6-3 victory to give his side a 1-0 advantage.

Bun Kenny quickly got into his stride in the second singles against Bruno with a break to the good but midway through the first set the Syrian broke back. The two then held their serves all the way to the tie-break, though Kenny often did it the hard way.

Serving to stay in the set at 5-6 down, Kenny staved off three set points and carried that momentum through to win the tie-breaker 7-4.

With Bruno refusing to budge in the second set, Kenny had his work cut out and just when he was getting the measure of his rival, he was struck by cramps. Despite this physical discomfort, Kenny managed to level the game scores at four-all after holding his serve.

The break in the ninth game for Kenny came on a spectacular point where they both ended up at the net with Kenny producing a winning reaction volley to a return fired at him by his rival.

The Cambodian camp went delirious when Kenny wrapped up the more than an hour and a half contest 7-6,6-4 to level the rubber scores at 1-1. Yet the celebration was short lived since Kenny had to sit out the crucial doubles due to the effects of cramps, leaving Phalkun Mam to partner debutant Doeum Socheaphearun to fight for survival.

The Syrian pair of Marc and Bruno, however, proved far too strong and wily for the Cambodian combine who could only salvage a couple of games in a straight sets defeat.

Non-playing captain Tep Rithivit, disappointed though he was with the outcome, saw some positives at the end of the day. “Despite our 1-2 loss, I am proud of Kenny for his gutsy win. I am also happy to see Doeum Socheaphearun play his first Davis Cup doubles match with Phalkun,” he said.

“Syria is tough team. We lost to them in Tehran last year. We knew it would be a hard day,” Tep Rithivit added.

“But tomorrow is another day. We are looking forward to our match against Turkmenistan, who we beat last year. Eyes on target, heads on the game – that is my message to my players who are ready to do their best.”

“I am disappointed we did not start with a win today. But I am pleased with the way our players competed and the effort they put in on court. The next few days will be tough. We keep our spirits high and battle on,” said National coach Braen Aneiros.

Meanwhile, in another Pool B encounter, Vietnam blanked out Turkmenistan 3-0, while in Pool A Malaysia and Hong Kong registered 3-0 wins over Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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