PhilStar – Gonzales, Alcantara seal Phl’s 4-1 win vs. Thailand; Pinoys into Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II finals vs. New Zealand

By Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) | Updated April 8, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Ruben Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara became the country's heroes after they blasted separate Thai foes to seal the Philippines' resounding 4-1 triumph over Thailand in the second round of the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group II tie last night at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

Gonzales hammered out a masterful three-set demolition of the world-rated Danai Udomchoke, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2. A few hours later, the Cagayan de Oro City-native Alcantara provided the proverbial icing on Phl's victory cake after he trounced Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.

The 27-year-old Gonzales displayed superb tennis skills in blowing off to Udomchoke to virtually seal a spot for host Phl into the third and final round against New Zealand on September 13-15 most likely still at Plantation Bay. A win over New Zealand will surely spring Phl back to the more prestigious Group I stage.

So comfortable Gonzales was playing on clay court that he hit heavy spins, served well, made cunning drop shots and forehand attacks.

After finding himself at a deep 0-2 hole, Udomchoke tried his best in the third set, but Gonzales was too hot for him to handle.

“This is the biggest win for me. I said I was so ready for this match and I have proven it,” said Gonzales.

Udomchoke is actually nursing from an elbow injury, but he won't make it as an excuse saying that Gonzales did play extremely well.

“I tried everything I could, but Gonzales played impressively. I don’t know what else to do after the second set. In the third set, I couldn’t control the ball,” said Udomchoke.

Interestingly, it was Gonzales who broke the ice for Phl, whipping Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul in three sets. Gonzales was leading, 6-7(6) 6-4, 3-0 when the Thai retired with leg cramps in the third set.

Udomchoke won the second rubber against Johnny Arcilla, 6-3, 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, but Treat Huey and Alcantara prevailed in the doubles over Pruchya Isarow and Nuttanon Kadchapanan, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to give Phl a crucial 2-1 edge.

Then enter Gonzales and Alcantara. They swept the reverse singles as Phl snapped out of a two-game slump against Thailand.

Head-to-head, the Pinoys now hold a 4-2 advantage over the Thais in six Davis Cup meetings since 1959.

In four stints at Plantation Bay, the Pinoy bets evened their record at 2-2 against tough foreign opposition. They fell prey to Japan and Chinese-Taipei, but triumphed over Syria and just last night against Thailand. (FREEMAN)


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