After being knocked out of the main draw in the second week of competition in the ongoing ITF Asia 14 and Under Development Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Cambodian players continued to pluck a few positives from the consolation bracket yesterday.
The Kingdom’s number one player in this age group, Sen Sophon, went down to Syria’s Rabee Saleem 1-4,0-4 in the second round of the main draw after winning his opening match against Ye Paing Min of Myanmar 4-1,5-3.
Back in the consolation bracket, Kep’s most promising youngster was outplayed by Vietnam’s number three, Pham Duc Phu, 1-6,1-6.
“Unfortunately, Sophon had drawn some of the strongest players in both events, thus affecting his overall results, but it has been a great learning experience for him,” observed coach Phalkun Mam.
The youngest of the Cambodian threesome, Leng Sarinreach, ran into the same first round rival as last week, the tall Thevan Joseph Perera, who worked up little sweat in blanking out Sarinreach 4-0,4-0.
Sliding back to the consolation round, Sarinreach was able to string out a 5-4, 4-1 win over Saad Abdullah Afridi of Bangladesh.
It proved a tough day for Klang Ponlok, who played top seed Bhushan Bajracharya of Nepal in the first round of the main draw and failed to win a single game, though he displayed great fighting spirit on the court.
Facing another familiar face in his first round of consolations, Ponlok went down to Pakistan’s Usman Amin Shafi in three sets, 1-4, 5-3, 1-4, a marked improvement from his previous straight sets defeat in the first week. Ponlok, however, picked up a win further down the line when he beat Vietnam’s Bui Thein Dinh 4-0, 4-2.
Disappointment in doubles continued for Team Cambodia, though matches were much closer this week.
In the first round of doubles, Sophon and Ponlok failed to stop Hung Vo Hoang and Nguyen Tat Thai, but were able to run the Vietnamese pair close, especially in the second set, before going down 6-1, 7-5.
Sarinreach once again partnered with Myanmar’s Paing Hein Ko and the two lost a hard fought match 7-5,7-6 to Man Cheng Ho (Macau) and Bui Thien Dinh (Vietnam).