The Cambodian Davis Cup squad departed Phnom Penh for Vietnam yesterday evening for their April 2nd Asia/ Oceania group III Davis Cup campaign opener in Hanoi’s My Dinh Sports complex.
At a joint news conference at the Cambodian Country Club on Tuesday, Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit was optimistic of Cambodia’s chances.
“Our tennis players are confident of reaching the next group stage, said Rithivit. “And it would be a great result if we can achieve it – so soon after our 2017 promotion.”
He was also enthused at sponsorship from Khmer Beverages who have taken over exclusive sponsorship duties. “It’s an endorsement of our achievements. Support from Khmer Beverages is vital,” said Rithivit.
The eight other nations vying for just two slots in Group II are Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pacific Oceania, Syria, Malaysia, Qatar and hosts Vietnam. Sunday’s official draw will divide the nine into two groups.
Cambodia regained a coveted group III spot in 2017 and earned the distinction of finishing their campaign undefeated after seeing off Oman in their promotion playoff in the Davis Cup Group IV Asia/Oceania round in Isa Town, Bahrain.
In their match against pool B runners-up Oman, Cambodia’s Samneang Long had to dig deep to outlast the experienced Mohammed Al Nabhani 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Fortunately for Cambodia, Bun Kenny was on hand to make light work of opponent Barwani 6-2, 6-1 in under an hour and clinch a valuable playoff win.
Cambodia had suffered relegation to group IV in the 2016 competition after Yuruy Roguskiy and Isa Mammetgulyyev dispatched both Nysan Tan and Kenny in straight sets in their singles clashes in the Asia/Oceania relegation Group III playoff in Iran.
Cambodia then were 2-1 victors over Saudi Arabia to finish as leaders of pool A, although they were forced to come from behind as Ammar Al Haqbani defeated Sarith Our 6-4, 6-1 in the first singles matchup.
Cambodia, however, levelled the tie through Long who overwhelmed his Saudi opponent Saud Al Haqbani 6-1, 6-0. Kenny and Phalkum Mam then joined forces in the doubles to hand Saudi’s Fahad Al Saad and Ammar Al HAqbani a 6-4, 6-1 loss.
Earlier in the competition, Long scored a 6-4, 6-7, 6-2 win over Bahrain’s Hasan Abdulnabi, before the imperious Kenny defeated Yusuf Qaed in straight sets to secure to lead the Kingdom to a 3-0 win.
Cambodia’s 2017 campaign opener was a win over regional challengers Myanmar at the start of the five-team Pool A round robin on Monday, before snatching a 2-1 win over Kyrgyzstan in their second pool A clash.
This year, Cambodia are represented on the courts by Bun Kenny, Phalkun Mam, Samneang Long, Our Sarith and Kim Delton Sophanna.