Davis Cup team gets ready early vs Thailand

By Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team will buckle down to work early in anticipation of a tough encounter with Thailand in the Asia-Oceania Group 2 semifinal tie on April 5 to 7.

Team captain Roland Kraut yesterday said that by next week, they will name the players from the six-man pool made up of Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Johnny Arcilla, Elbert Anasta, Jeson Patrombon and Francis Casey Alcantara.

Appearing as guest in the PSA Forum at Shakey’s Malate, Kraut said he expects Huey and Gonzales to return from their ATP Tour campaigns at least two weeks before the tie.

Thailand will be backstopped by Danai Udomchoke, who is said to be having a career renaissance. The 31-year-old Udomchoke recently climbed to his highest world ranking in singles at No. 190.

Also providing punch for the Thai campaign are twins Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana who beat the formidable tandem of Treat Huey and Cecil Mamiit four years ago in the Laos Southeast Asian Games.

But just the same, Kraut said the odds favor the Philippines in the tie which will be played at Plantation Bay Spa and Resort in Lapu-Lapu City.

“We can’t get any better than this,” Kraut said in the weekly forum presented by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp and Shakey’s. “We definitely have a very good chance.”

He said the homecourt edge and the Filipinos’ familiarity with the slow clay courts—the Thais favor hardcourts—will help determine the outcome of the duel.

“This one is more of a rivalry, so I think the crowd will be more into it,” said Kraut.

The Filipinos, fresh off a 3-2 victory over Syria in the first round early this month, enjoy a 3-2 edge against the Thais head-to-head. However, the Filipinos dropped the last two ties, the last in 1999.


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