Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Kingdom promoted to Davis Cup Group III



Kingdom promoted to Davis Cup Group III

Cambodia’s Davis Cup team celebrate with their medals after winning promotion to Asia/Oceania Group III in Bahrain on Saturday. Photo supplied
Cambodia’s Davis Cup team celebrate with their medals after winning promotion to Asia/Oceania Group III in Bahrain on Saturday. Photo supplied

Kingdom promoted to Davis Cup Group III

History repeated itself in a delightful way for Cambodia as the national tennis team regained Asia/Oceania Group III status for the 2018 cycle after beating Oman 2-0 in the promotion playoff to end the Group IV campaign with a spectacular all-win record in Isa, Bahrain, on Saturday.

Hit by injuries to key players and playing on an unfamiliar surface like red clay in the Iranian capital Tehran last year, Cambodia had slipped out of Group III, but the squad managed to recreate the stunning success of Doha in 2012 to return to where they belong.

It was on their Davis Cup debut in Qatar that Cambodia caught the attention of the world by winning all their matches to achieve the rare distinction of a debutant nation earning promotion.

After Friday’s 2-1 triumph over Saudi Arabia in the fourth and final round robin fixture, Cambodia entered the playoff for one of four places as the only unbeaten side, taking on Pool B runners-up Oman, while the second placed Saudis challenged Singapore.

As expected, non-playing captain Tep Rithivit nominated Long Samneang for the first singles rubber, Bun Kenny for the middle pin and, if the need arose, for the doubles with Phalkun Mam.

It wasn’t the best of starts for Cambodia as a somewhat edgy Long Samneang was weighed down by unforced errors in a first set he lost to Mohammed Al Nabhani of Oman.

But early in the second set, Samneang picked up the pieces well and, armed with an early break, went on to level the set scores. The third set was a seesaw battle with the players breaking each other until Samneang grabbed control with a decisive break in the eighth game to close out the rubber at 3-6, 2-6, 6-4.

With the scent of victory in the air, Kenny lost no time in driving Abdullah Al Barami out of his rhythm and in less than 30 minutes had the set in the bag for the loss of just one game.

Cambodia’s most successful Davis Cupper then went on to demolish his rival in the second though he conceded a game more in the bargain to polish off the tie at 6-1, 6-2 to bring optimism back to the country’s tennis scene.

Rithivit put the triumph down to the change of dynanics in the team and to the solid support the squad had received from main sponsors GLF.

“The fact that GLF has stood by us even after we were demoted to Group IV last year shows the level of their involvement. I am happy we were able to justify that immense faith.

“Unbelievable team work is what led us to where we are now and we will zealously safe-guard this gain,” said Rithivit, who is also the secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia.

While Cambodia were shutting down Oman, Saudi Arabia were battling hard in the other promotion playoff and eventually got the measure of Singapore 2-1.

Both Cambodia and Saudi Arabia will now figure in Group III competition next year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Businesses in capital told to get travel permit amid lockdown through One Window Service

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration has issued guidelines on how to get travel permission for priority groups during the lockdown of Phnom Penh, directing private institutions to apply through the municipality's One Window Service and limit their staff to a mere two per cent. In

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and