It was a disappointing day for Cambodia at the opening of the Tep Khunnah Memorial ITF Juniors at the National Training Center yesterday, with all three players in the boys singles main draw making first-round exits.
In the first match of the tournament on Court 1, Tep Timothy was pulled down by the weight of his own unforced errors, a lack of matchplay experience and his rival’s disciplined approach as Manuel Balce III of the Philippines raced to a 6-0, 6-0 victory.
While Timothy did bring out his best strokes in patches, Balce’s consistency on the groundstrokes gave him a lot of leverage in controlling the rallies.
Following Timothy’s loss, Chheang Vannasith squared off against third seeded Ryo Watanabe of Japan on the same court. The Cambodian junior Davis Cupper began on a positive note, going 2-1 up on his rival in the first set, but Watanabe rose to the challenge and began to tidy up his game.
Once he established absolute control over Vannasith, Watanabe went on to clinch the contest 6-3, 6-2.
The youngest of the Cambodian trio, 13-year-old Leng Sarinreach, raised some early hope only to fold against Yi Hsien Ku of Chinese Taipei 6-1, 6-2.
Later in the afternoon, the Cambodian Junior Fed Cup representatives Ho Sreynoch and Hour Sreypov took to the court against the No1 seeded Japanese pair of Risa Fukutoku and Runa Ichinose in the girls doubles.
Though Sreynoch and Sreypov did their best, they were simply outplayed by two of the most talented Japanese juniors on view. The top seeds cruised home without conceding a game.