PHI netters face tough battle vs. Tsitsipas-led Greeks
ABS-CBN Sports on Feb 26, 2020 02:12 PM
Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon banner the Philippine squad against the Greeks in the World Group II Davis Cup tie next week. ((Arvin Lim)
The Philippines will get to experience world-class tennis as it clashes with World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas and a heavily favored Greece in the World Group II Davis Cup tie on March 6 to 7 at the Philippine Columbian Association’s Plaza Dilao clay court in Paco, Manila.
The Filipinos drew Tsitsipas and the Greeks after Davis Cup organizers introduced a new format that paved the way for the former to play a non-Asian side for the first time since they faced the Swedes in the World Cup qualifier in 1991.
“We’re looking forward to a really tough duel but we’ll try to use the experience to toughen up the team,” said Philippine non-playing captain Chris Cuarto.
Apart from the Francis Casey Alcantara-Jeson Patrombon duo, who won the 30th Southeast Asian Games men's doubles gold last December, the host will also be represented Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales, AJ Lim and Eric Olivarez, Jr.
Greece, for its part, will have Tsitsipas’ younger sibling Petros, Michail Pervolarakis and Markos Kalovenolis as other members of the squad with Dimitris Chatzinikolaou as skipper.
But it will be the supremely talented Tsitsipas who is expected to give the Filipinos the biggest problem.
“He’s not the No. 6 player in the world if he isn’t great,” said Cuarto.
Truly, Tsitsipas, who reached as high as No. 5 in the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings, is the youngest netter in the top 10 at a very tender age of 21 years old.
Tsitsipas is also riding the crest of his 2020 Open 13 Provence triumph in Marseille, France last weekend for his fifth ATP title and is currently seeing action in the Dubai Duty Free Championships.
In this new system, a total of 12 home-and-away ties will be played in the World Group II simultaneous with the World Qualifiers and World Group I playoffs.
The top 12 in the World Group II playoffs will then advance to the World Group II ties in September along with losing countries from the World Group I.The losers here will be demoted to the Regional Group III scheduled in June and July or September.