15 Jul, 2016: Post Staff
Syria completed a 3-0 rout of Cambodia in their Pool B tie at the Esteghlal International Tennis Academy clay courts in Tehran yesterday to secure a place in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group III promotion playoff.
But for a brief fightback in the second set, Cambodia’s Tan Nysan had nothing going in his favour against 21-year-old Amer Naow in the opening rubber, which the Syrian No2 took in straight sets at 6-1, 6-4.
Cambodia’s non-playing captain Tep Rithivit named Phalkun Mam for the second singles against Kareem Allaf to conserve Bun Kenny for the crucial battles ahead. The 18-year-old Syrian right-hander proved too strong and wily for Phalkun’s comfort in a 6-1, 6-3 win that consumed 69 minutes.
With the tie well secured, Kareem Allaf partnered Amer Naow in the dead rubber doubles to beat Long Samneang and Tan Nysan 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.The lone consolation for the Kingdom was the set won in the doubles after the loss of 15 in defeats by Lebanon, Qatar and Syria.
Cambodia will meet Singapore in the final pool tie today. But the team’s focus will be on Saturday’s relegation playoff, which ultimately holds the key to Cambodia’s survival in Group III for next year’s cycle.The Syrians now prepare to take on Qatar.
Qatar’s participation this year in the Asia Oceania Group III may have raised some eyebrows since the team was beaten by Cambodia in the relegation playoff in the 2015 cycle in Malaysia.
Officially Qatar and Saudi Arabia were demoted to Group IV. But the Davis Cup committee was made aware of a technical violation by Hong Kong during their tie that even the Qatar team had not noticed.
Hong Kong had placed their singles nominations against Qatar in the wrong order, with a lower ranked player playing above his higher ranked team-mate, a violation the ITF referee had failed to recognise during the contest. So the Davis Cup committee decided that the fair course of action was to allow Qatar to remain in Group III.