PH Cuppers face tough NZ team in September

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The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippines Davis Cup team is facing a “more dangerous” New Zealand team when it hosts the Group 2 finals tie from Sept. 13 to 15 in Lapu Lapu City.

Compared with Thailand, which was bolstered by Asian Games champ Danai Udomchoke, the Kiwis have a “complete team” featuring higher world-ranked players in the tie to be held at Plantation Bay Spa and Resort.

PH Davis Cup administrator  Randy Villanueva said New Zealand boasts a solid doubles team in veterans Daniel King-Turner and Marcus Daniell.

The Filipinos, who beat Syria and Thailand earlier this year to get to the Group 2 final, will bank on familiarity with the slow clay surface to pull through and advance to Group 1.

“New Zealand players wanted to come here earlier to get used to the weather and playing conditions,” said Villanueva, adding the Kiwis are expected to arrive as early as Sept. 4.

Villanueva recently signed the memorandum of agreement to hold the Davis Cup tie in Lapu Lapu for the fourth time with Mayor Paz Radaza, councilor Harry Radaza and Plantation Bay general manager Efren Belarmino.

Also expected to come for New Zeal-and is Russian-born Artem Sitak, ranked 444th in singles and 188 in doubles.

New Zealand won its semifinal tie after Pakistan defaulted its matches citing poor court conditions in Burma (Myanmar) where the tie was played. The Pakistanis led, 2-0, when they decided to walk out.

Meanwhile, ITF officials will arrive in time to bestow Commitment Award to three Filipinos who have served Davis Cup tour of duties the longest, namely Raymundo Deyro, Juan-Johnson (Johnny) Jose and Johnny Arcilla.

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