Inquirer – Filipino Gonzales meets Thai Wishaya in first singles match

Cebu Daily News

SECOND round action of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II tie between the Philippines and Thailand gets underway today at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan Island.

The first singles match between Philippine no.1 Ruben Gonzales and Thailand’s no.2 Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. while the second singles match between Philippine no.2 Johnny Arcilla and Thailand’s no.1 Danai Udomchoke will follow 30 minutes after the first match.

Both teams are manned by one veteran player—Arcilla for the Philippines and Udomchoke for Thailand. The rest of the team members have played for only a couple of years.

Thailand’s biggest advantage would be Udomchoke, who is ranked no. 210 in the world.

But the Cebuana Lhuillier Philippine Davis Cup team also has a big advantage with its choice of court—the shell clay court, which the team is already very familiar with, considering that this is the fourth time they are playing here.

Team captain Tanakorn Srichaphan said his team is used to hardcourts. Even in their match against Kuwait, the team played in a hardcourt.

“We only practiced in a clay court for two weeks before coming here,” said Srichaphan, a legendary tennis player himself and the older brother of former world no.9 Paradorn Srichaphan, the first Asian player to have ranked that high in the sport.

Udomchoke is the same player whom Cecil Mamiit defeated in the 2005 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Manila but the next year won the gold in the Asian Games. He also lost to Treat Conrad Huey in the 2009 Laos SEAG.

Arcilla admitted that Udomchoke will be a very tough opponent, although getting to play against him will be a dream come true.

“I’ve known him since I was still a 14-Under player. He is very good,” Arcilla said.

The first singles match between Gonzales and Trongcharoenchaikul could also go either way with the Philippine no.1 ranked 826 while the Thailand no.2 is ranked 913 in the world.

“It is always an honor to play anytime you’re chosen. You can’t choose if you’re going first or second so you just deal with it. I don’t really know him well, I’m sure he is good. I am really excited,” Gonzales.

Trongcharoenchaikul, who replaced Kittiphong Wachiramanowong, said he is also 100 percent ready for today’s match.

Srichaphan said they opted to rest Wachiramanowong, who played against Kuwait, because he has been having shoulder injuries.

Both teams, however, have an option to change their lineup an hour before the actual match.

Playing for the Philippines in the doubles tomorrow at 6 p.m. are Treat Conrad Huey and Francis Casey Alcantara against Nuttanon Kadchapanan and Pruchya Isarow while the reverse singles will be held on Sunday. /CORRESPONDENT MARS G. ALISON


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