Malaya – Gonzales opens Pinoy bid vs Thais

Published on Friday, 05 April 2013 01:30

HOPING to pick up where he left off, Filipino-American Ruben Gonzales battles youthful Wishaya Trongchaorenchaikul in the opening singles of the Philippine-Thailand Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 2 semifinals today at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

Gonzales, who played a pivotal role in the country’s 3-2 win over Syria, battles Trongchaorenchaikul, who turns 18 on Monday, at 3:30 p.m. to usher in the best-of-5 series at the shell court of the plush resort, which is hosting a premier men’s tennis team event for the fourth time.

Johnny Arcilla, 32, finally earns a crack at Thai No. 1 Danai Udomchoke, 31, in a battle of two veteran campaigners in the second singles of the event sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association and supported by Smart and Cebuana Lhuillier.

Fll-Am Treat Huey teams up with former Aussie Open junior doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara in the doubles match at 6 p.m. tomorrow against the Thai tandem of Nuttanon Kadchapanan and Pruchya Isarow.

“I consider this a good draw for us since Gonzales, who has been performing well, will play in the opening singles against a younger opponent while Arcilla is eager to play Udomchoke,” said Philta secretary-general Romy Magat in a telephone interview from Cebu.

“I foresee the first match to be a battle strength and accuracy while the second will basically be a clash of strategies,” Magat noted.

Filipino non-paying team captain Roland Kraut echoed Magat’s sentiments, saying: “This is a good draw for us since it allows us to rest Treat for the doubles, which might be crucial considering the Thais are tough opponents.”

Forced to play second fiddle while Fil-Am Cecil Mamiit reigned supreme while playing for the Philippines, Arcilla said facing Udomchoke “is like a dream come true for me. Matagal ko na siya gusto makaharap. I’m looking forward to the match.”

The Thai netted is currently ranked No. 207 in the latest Association of Tennis Professional ratings while Arcilla, the reigning PCA Open champion, is unrated since he sees action mostly in local tournaments.

Thai non-playing team captain Tanakorn Srichapan, brother of famous tennis-playing siblings Narathorn and Paradorn, said outside of Udomckhoke, they brought in a young team to give them more Davis Cup exposure and experience.

While the Filipino netters enjoy a 3-2 edge over the Thais in head-to-head Davis Cup clashes, the Thais have won the last two ties, including a 4-1 rout the last time the two countries met at the Thai National Centre in Nonthanburi, Thailand in 1999.

The winner of the series will advance against the winner of the semifinals match-up between Pakistan and New Zealand in the finals, with the being promoted to Group 1.


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