Phl Davis Cup mounts bid vs Syria

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines – Veteran Johnny Arcilla launches the Philippines’ quest for promotion in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone against an unfamiliar Syrian side, hoping his familiarity with the surface will serve him in good stead in setting the tone in their Group II first-round tie beginning today.

Arcilla, the No. 2 player in the Cebuana Lhuillier-Phl Davis Cup team, hits the red clay court of the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa at 3:30 p.m. against Syria’s top netter, Syrian-Egyptian Issam Haitham Taweel, looking to draw first blood for the home side.

Phl No. 1 Ruben Gonzales plunges into action afterwards versus Syria No. 2 Marc Abdelnour as the Filipinos aim to make the most out of the opening-day singles in the prestigious international team competitions.

Fil-Am Treat Huey and Elbert Anasta have been nominated for tomorrow night’s doubles match against Abdelnour and Madji Salim while Gonzales and Arcilla have been nominated for Sunday’s reverse singles.

The 33-year-old Arcilla gives up at least four inches to the Egypt-based Taweel (ranked 925th), but he feels there’s one thing going for him.

“Advantage natin yung court surface (The court’s surface will be to our advantage),” said Arcilla, who has won seven titles on clay in the PCA Open.
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He plans to play a quick pace against Taweel, seeking to take advantage of the adjustment his rival has to make, having arrived from Egypt only Wednesday night.

Arcilla is no stranger to kicking off the Pinoy Cuppers’ campaign as he played in the first singles last year in a 5-0 shutout of Pakistan in their Group II semifinal tie. He hacked out a straight set 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Pakistan’s No. 1 Aqeel Khan then.

“There’s pressure but I’ll do my best to overcome it,” Arcilla said.

Overall, the Phl Cuppers feel good about their chances in the first phase of their bid to get promoted to Group I.

“Everyone’s looking good, everyone has played in tournaments prior to this tie so we’re all fit and ready to play,” said the 823rd ranked Gonzales who will take on the France-based Abdelnour (963) in the second singles.


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