Cambodia’s top player Bun Kenny went through mixed emotions at Ho Chi Minh City’s Pho Tho Tennis Club yesterday at the end of the first round singles and doubles matches in Vietnam’s ITF Men’s Tennis Futures tournament.
The Cambodian right-hander’s new doubles partner, Jee Hwan Kim of South Korea, proved an admirable ally as this non-regular pair combined effectively to oust the top-seeded Czech pair of Roman Jabavy and Otakar Lucak 7-5, 6-2 to make the last eight.
The 18-year-old Korean left-hander represented his country in the 2008 World Junior Tennis Finals and also the Junior Davis Cup the following year. Kim and Kenny survived several phases of anxiety in the first set before taking hold of it. In the second, they quickly killed any hopes of the Czech pair bouncing back.
However, it proved a hard court heartbreak for Kenny in the singles competition when he faced 24-year-old German qualifier Sebastien Wagner, whose greater stamina and baseline consistency earned him a 6-4, 6-4 win.
At 1,365th, the German is ranked nearly 100 places below Bun Kenny. However, the contest was not about rankings but about who handled the pressure points with tact, and it was clear the German qualifier did better on this front. Kenny floundered several key openings that would have given him a chance to turn things around in both the sets.
The Cambodian Davis Cup pivot is using the three-week Vietnam Futures tour to sharpen up his match readiness for the Kingdom’s Asia Oceania Group III campaign in Myanmar at the end of the month.