Pinoy netters test Indonesian visitors in Davis Cup opener

ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 02, 2017 03:55 PM
Pinoy netters test Indonesian visitors in Davis Cup opener
Treat Huey leads the Philippine team's home stand against Indonesia in Davis Cup.

First-timer Alberto Lim Jr., takes the first crack as Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team starts its Asia/Oceania Group 2 tie against Indonesia on Friday at Philippine Columbian Association indoor shell/clay courts.

Lim, 17, will take on Indonesian top player David Agung Susanto in the first of two opening singles which start at 3 p.m. Ruben Gonzales, nominated as No. 1 player, will play Aditya Hari Sasongko in the second singles match.

Treat Huey, World No. 26 in doubles, and Francis Casey Alcantara, 2009 Australian Open juniors doubles champion, will face Anthony Susanto and Sunu-Wahyu Trijati in Saturday’s doubles at 2:00 p.m.

Gonzales will face Susanto, while Lim will challenge with Sasongko in Sunday’s reverse rubbers, which start at 1 p.m.

PHI non-playing team captain Karl Santamaria said he sees “all matches to go either way” as he downplayed the country’s chances despite the absence of top-ranked player Christopher Rungkat.

Indonesian team captain Andrian Raturandang said Rungkat is in the United States working on raising his ITF rankings.

That left Indonesia to rely on 25-year-old Susanto who is ranked 739 in singles and 658 in doubles. His brother Anthony, 19, is also playing his first Davis Cup.

Santamaria stood by his “calculated risk” to field an untested yet very promising Lim in the singles spot.

“Davis Cup is about match-ups and we saw how AJ (Lim) is suited for team events because of his swag,” said Santamaria. “I think Indonesia was surprised by that move.”

Lim said he is ready to step up the plate although he admitted that he’s nervous to start for Philippines in the tie sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Babolat and Cebuana Lhuillier.

“I’m very nervous but when you think about it I have nothing to lose because he’s (Susanto) is older and even has a world ranking,” said Lim, who is considered the country’s next tennis star.

The draw was presided by International Tennis Federation referee David Smith who was assisted by Indonesian Tennis Association chair of tournaments and events Susan Soebakti. Also present in the draw ceremony were Philippine Tennis Association president Salvador Andrada and secretary general Romeo Magat.

Smith also announced that Huey will be given an award on Sunday by the ITF or his “commitment to the Davis Cup.”

The 31-year-old Huey has been the pillar of PH Davis Cup team for several years, having started for the country in 2009. He has tallied the most doubles win for the Philippines with a 14-5 record.

Indonesia holds a 6-4 edge over the Philippines in their historical match-ups, winning the last two ties in 2012 and 2000.

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