Patrombon, Gonzales kick off PH Davis Cup bid vs Kuwait
The Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team has no room for complacency against Kuwait as itstarts its Asia/Oceania Group 2 tie Friday with Jeson Patrombon and Ruben Gonzales kicking off the campaign for the hosts.
Patrombon, PH No. 1, was drawn to play opening singles against Kuwait’s No 2 player Abdulrahman Alawadhi in the first match at 3 p.m., while Gonzales takes on dangerous top gun Mohammed Ghareeb in the second match.
Yet it was team leader, Treat Huey, who sounded the alarm, saying Kuwait packs a surprise package in 35-year-old Ghareeb and his young, inexperienced teammates.
“Their No. 1 player is a tough player, he once gave Roger Federer a tough fight before losing 7-6, 6-4 a couple of years ago. So yeah, we can’t take them lightly,” said Huey, who made a historic semifinal stint in this year’s Australian Open mixed doubles.
Huey and Alcantara will play doubles against Ghareeb and Abdulhamin Mubarak tomorrow at 6 p.m. Reverse singles will be on Sunday starting at 2 p.m.
Team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier said the team is upbeat following the draw yesterday that was presided by International Tennis Federation supervisor Ali Katebi, Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) vice president Randy Villanueva and secretary general Romeo Magat.
“This is the strongest Davis Cup team we have assembled in years. I strongly believe Jeson and Ruben will deliver as they are fresh from having strong results in Asia and South America, respectively,” said Lhuillier, who is also Philta chair.
Lhuillier said the goal is to sweep the opening singles and then finish off the tie with a doubles victory on Saturday.
“Both of them (Patrombon and Gonzales) are prepared to play first. Jeson is mentally pumped up for this and we are confident of him kicking off the campaign for the Philippines,” said newly appointed non-playing captain Karl Santamaria.
The Philippines beat Kuwait twice in Davis Cup tie, the last in 2007 held away which the Filipinos swept, 5-0.
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