Cambodian Davis Cuppers Bun Kenny and Phalkun Mam entered the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals in the Kuala Lumpur Open at the National Tennis Complex yesterday, making a strong pitch for success at next month’s SEA Games at the same venue.
Having improved his fitness over the past few months, Kenny blanked out Aiman Abdullah of Brunei, a Level II ITF certified coach from Brunei, 6-0, 6-0 in the round of 32.
Kenny meets Malaysia’s top junior Christian Didier, the No11 seed, for a place in the quarterfinals today.
Meanwhile, Mam Phalkun had to be at his best in the second set tie-break before overcoming Sherwin Foo of Singapore 6-2, 7-6 to earn a place in the last 16. Phalkun will now meet the second-seeded Anthony Susanto of Indonesia.
Earlier in the 128-player draw, Kenny defeated Seventh-seeded Sri Akash of Malaysia 6-3, 6-1 in the second round after swamping Malaysia-based Pakistani expat Taha A Roomi 6-0, 6-0.
In contrast, Phalkun came through a tough three-setter lasting over three hours to down Ian Siew of the United States 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 in the first round. After an hour and a half of rest, Phalkun was in a totally different zone in the second round against 15th-seeded Talhah Rahizam, beating the Malaysian 6-2, 6-1.
However, for the third member of the Cambodian team it was a disappointing experience. Chheang Vannasak, who is pursuing his tennis and studies in the United States, was beaten 6-2, 6-0 by Damien Rocky of Malaysia in the first round.
The lopsided scoreline conceals the fact that many of the games in the first set went to deuce and advantages, but Vannasak simply could not turn those opportunities to his benefit.
Vannasak will compete in the men’s doubles with Garrett Goh of Malaysia, while Kenny and Phalkun will also start their doubles bid.