PH surges to 2-0 lead-A A +A
Saturday, February 2, 2013
THE Philippine Davis Cup team promised to win one for the Cebuanos and they are surely delivering on their promise. The home team got off to a solid start in their Asia Oceana Group 2 first round tie against the visiting Syrians, with the oldest member of the squad, Johnny Arcilla, and the youngest, Ruben Gonzales, sweeping the first two singles matches to take a 2-0 lead.
Veteran Arcilla averted a second-set collapse to give the Philippines a 1-0 lead after beating Syria’s No. 1 Issam Haitham Taweel, 6-4, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2, in the first singles match.
“Sana tuloy tuloy na ito. I felt a bit pressured thinking if I could really deliver what is expected of me,” said Arcilla, who is the oldest player in the team at 33.
Arcilla, a member of the Davis Cup team since 2000 who has a 16-13 record in singles, broke Taweel to take the lead, 4-3 in the first set and then held to make it 5-3. After Taweel made it 5-4, Arcilla held serve again to take the first set, 6-4, with a fine drop shot. He seemed headed to a two-set lead after cruising to 4-1 in the second.
“I relaxed a bit at that time because I got the lead. I thought ‘this set is mine’ but that didn’t happen. So it was a lesson learned and I will not do it again,” Arcilla said in a mix of Tagalog and Cebuano.
And in the third set, Arcilla was more decisive, going for the baseline returns as Taweel started fading to take the set, 6-1, and the lead.
“In the third set, I changed my strategy. I gave him several high balls and dropped shots, hinahabaan ko talaga bola ko,” said Arcilla, who tallied nine of his 16 wins on clay.
In the fourth set, Taweel started to get weary and Arcilla took advantage, winning at 6-1 after Taweel’s forehand went long.
In the second singles match, 22-year-old Ruben Gonzales routed Marc Abdelnour, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2, to complete the sweep.
Today, doubles specialist Treat Huey will team up with Vicente Elberto Anasta in the doubles match at 6 p.m. against Majdi Salim and Yacoub Makzoume.
The winner of this match will face the winner of the Thailand vs. Kuwait match in the second round on April 5-7.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2013.