Tierro looking for payback in Davis Cup tie against Sri Lanka
Mark Escarlote on Mar 05, 2015 12:48 PM
Filipino netter Patrick John Tierro (left) and Harshana Godammana of Sri Lanka shake hands in Thursday's Davis Cup press conference at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City.
Top player Patrick John Tierro and no. 2 Ruben Gonzales have in their hands the big responsibility of delivering the crucial first pair of victories for the Cebuana Lhullier-Philippine team on Friday at the start of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group 2 tie against Sri Lanka at the shell-clay court of Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City.
Tierro squares off with a familiar foe in Sri Lanka no. 2 Harshana Godamanna in the first singles match set at 4:00 p.m.
The 29-year-old Tierro also played in the opening singles in last year’s tie with Sri Lanka in Colombo but lost against Godamanna in a five-set match.
The Pinoy netters recovered in the next three matches to take the tie win and advance in the semifinals but failed to advance with a 2-3 defeat against Pakistan.
Tierro said that he had already put that loss behind and is hoping to get a different result this time.
“I mean it’s a different surface and different time last year,” said Tierro during the press conference of the tie Thursday after the drawing of lots. “We’re prepared a lot this time and see where it goes.”
ATP Challenger singles winner Gonzales, who won in the singles and doubles with Treat Huey in last year’s tie, will face Sri Lanka no.1 player 19-year-old Sharmal Dissanayake in the second singles game.
“I feel good,” said a very confident Gonzales. “I’ve been training hard and we have a good week of practice and I’m sure it’s going to be a good match.”
The Sri Lankans never won against the Filipinos in eight ties but non-playing captain Ronald Kraut played down the team’s chances saying that they want to focus on the immediate task at hand first.
“Last time we won 3-1 pero yung 3-1 na yun was very close. We lost a five-setter and I think the last match also with Godamanna and Treat was four sets,” Kraut said. “I’m not used in making predictions or looking at the future, we’re just focus on getting ready for them in the past few weeks.”
“I think both teams would want to win the first two days but for us we’re taking it one game at a time. We are not looking too much ahead. We’re focusing on our task on the first day,” he added. “Of course we are looking to hopefully win the first two matches. Siyempre gusto natin na lamang tayo kaagad and we’ll see what happens.”
Pepperdine University standout Francis Casey Alcantara and Huey, who will be seeing action for the first time since playing alongside superstars Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the Manila Mavericks in the International Premier Tennis League maiden leg here in Manila last November, will take on the duo of Dissanayake and Godamanna in the doubles match set at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Tierro and Dissanayake will play in the first reverse singles on Sunday while Gonzales pairs with Godamanna in the last singles event.
Sri Lanka non-playing captain Rohan Silva admits that the PHI team has the homecourt advantage and with a stronger lineup but is hoping to give a good fight and end their country's losing record with the Filipinos.
"Of course looking at the two teams, I think Philippines is the better team but you’ll never know its tennis and maybe we can put on an upset and see where it goes," he said.
Tickets for the match are priced at P1,000 for a three-day pass, and P500 for a day pass.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles