Manila Bulletin – New Zealand next for inspired cuppers

By Kristel Satumbaga
Published: April 9, 2013

After bringing down SEA Games rival Thailand in the semis, Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team non-playing captain Roland Kraut believes his boys can beat New Zealand in the Asia Oceania Zone Group II promotional playoff tie in September.

Although the match is five months away, Kraut said the level of confidence and maturity they showed against Thailand is likely to increase as they go up against a team considered far more superior than the Thais.

"Winning 4-1 against Thailand is a big surprise. Swerte ako sa mga players ko because they're always ready to step up when needed. And ganun yung kailangan nating level of maturity para tumaas yung chances natin na makabalik sa Group I," said Kraut.

Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales best typified the team's new-found confidence after producing two wins, including a series-clinching 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory against former Asian Games champion Danai Udomchoke.

Udomchoke was seen by many as good for two victories. But his lone singles win during opening day proved to be the only point Thailand would post in the three-day event.

The Thai star failed to rattle Gonzales who played the game of his life, mixing his power game with strong defense to clinch the match for the Philippines after doubles specialist Treat Huey and his young partner Casey Alcantara gave the country a 2-1 edge when they dismantled Nuttanon Kadchapanan and Pruchya Isarow, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (4).

Alcantara capped the team's dominance with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 triumph over Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul in the non-bearing second reverse singles.

Team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier echoed Kraut's sentiments, saying: "I like our chances against New Zealand. It's all about conditioning. Playing in this humid condition in the shell claycourt is a huge advantage for us getting to Group I and sustaining it."


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