They are fierce rivals on the tennis court and friends off it. Indonesian top gunner Christopher Rungkat, who has previously spent many weeks training at the National Training Centre in Phnom Penh, plays one of his favoured Cambodian sparring partners, Bun Kenny, in the first round of the third ITF Men’s Futures event in Jakarta today.
The two weeks leading up to the encounter with Kenny has been one of the most productive periods of Rungkat’s life.
The diminutive powerhouse has already recorded back-to-back singles triumphs in the first two tournaments as well as landing the doubles title last week.
“Right now, he’s on cloud nine and playing at his amazing best,” national team head coach Braen Aneiros told the Post yesterday.
“It is a tough one for Kenny by all accounts, but he is ready for a fight. You can expect an interesting duel between the two since they know each other’s game so well.”
The Cambodian right hander’s form in the past two weeks has been up and down. He made the quarterfinals of the first leg, scalping top-seeded Mark Verryth of Australia in the second round, but lost out to China’s Wan Gao in the first round the following week.
Rungkat was involved in an epic two-hour, three-set thriller against talented Ind-ian youngster Yuki Bhambri in what was regarded as the best match of the second Cambodian US$15,000 Futures tournament in Phnom Penh during the first week of February.