Eighth-seeded Filip Veger of Croatia had to work harder than he might have anticipated in getting the better of Cambodia’s Bun Kenny 6-2, 6-4 in the first round of the $10,000 ITF Cambodia Futures for the GLF-Tep Khunnah Trophy at the National Training Centre yesterday.
The Croatian was more steady than spectacular, which meant that the Cambodian Davis Cup pivot had to be on his toes and best vigil at all times.
Veger made short work of the first set as Kenny struggled with his serves while watching his rival hold on to his service games without much ado.
The fifth game of the second set presented Kenny with his best possible chance of breaking the Croatian. There were three break points during those tense moments on offer but Kenny blew them all up.
The response from the other half of the court was strikingly bold, Veger wriggling his way out with two aces.
Kenny would never get an opportunity as good as that again to test his opponent. Down 4-5 and serving to stay in the match, Kenny called a physio on court to attend to apparent cramps in his right leg.
He got the medical attention he sought, but Veger rammed a couple of winners and Kenny’s double fault on match point confirmed his third straight exit from the first round of the Cambodian Futures.
“Kenny’s attitude was lot better than the previous weeks. Hopefully, he will learn lessons from this experience and profitably use them next year’s long list of important events, like the Group III Davis Cup, Futures and the year-ending SEA Games in Myanmar,” national coach Braen Aneiros told the Post yesterday.
The Kingdom’s last remaining hope in the singles, Mam Panhara, was up against second-seeded Robin Kern of Germany, who broke through early in both the sets and jealously guarded his advantage to post a 6-3, 6-0 win in just under an hour.
“The score line doesn’t reflect the fact that Panhara played much better than he had done in the last two weeks. His rival was very strong,” said Aneiros.
Top-seeded Axel Michon was firmly in control of his first round match from get go against Gabor Csonka of Hungary.
The French left-hander, a beaten finalist in the first tournament and a semi-finalist in the next, won 6-3, 6-1 to begin the quest for his 11th Futures singles title.
Isarel’s Dekel Bar made it to the second round on the back of his 6-4, 6-1 win over Warit Sornbutnark of Thailand.
Gao Wan of China’s hard-hitting on both flanks proved too much to take for Canada’s Antoine Richard. Gao, a first week sensation and a second week flop, emerged a 6-3, 6-3 winner.
Fourth seeded Richard Gabb of Great Britain got past Sergey Shipilov of Uzbekhistan 7-5, 6-1 while sixth-seeded Marcus Daneill of New Zealand scored a 6-2, 6-3 win against Maxi Pongratz of Austria.
Taiwan’s Ting Yu Chuang was head and shoulders above Frenchman Mick Lescure in a quick 6-2, 6-3 triumph.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]