PH Cuppers settle for 3-2 victory over SyriansBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAPU-LAPU CITY—Playing merely for pride, Syrians Issam Taweel and Marc Abdelnuor swept the two meaningless reverse singles Sunday to finalize the score at 3-2 after the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippines squad had clinched the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 2 tie at the Plantation Bay Spa and Resort.
Syrian No. 1 Taweel recovered from a set down to turn back Elbert Anasta, 6-7 (10-8), 6-1, 6-4, in the first of the reverse singles which was delayed for more than two hours due to intermittent rains.
Later, Abdelnuor engaged Huey in a tense opening set before taking a 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 win that allowed the Syrians to salvage a measure of pride.
“It’s a great experience playing here because of the people, but in the end the Philippines is the better team,” said Abdelnuor, a Syrian-Canadian based in France.
The Philippines advanced to the semifinals against Thailand, which scored a 4-1 victory in Kuwait. The next tie, scheduled for April 5 to 7, will be hosted by the Filipinos who tote a 3-2 head-to-head edge against the Thais. Thailand, though, won the last two duels.
Another win by the Filipinos will line them up against either New Zealand or Pakistan in September for the right to move up to Group 1. New Zealand and Pakistan collide in the next round after beating Lebanon, 5-0, and Sri Lanka, 3-2, respectively.
Philippine Tennis Association vice president and PH Davis Cup administrator Randy Villanueva said they are considering holding the tie here again.
Johnny Arcilla opened the PH campaign with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, win over Taweel in Friday’s first singles before Ruben Gonzales came up with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2 victory over Abdelnuor for a commanding 2-0 lead.
Huey and Gonzales then secured the tie by taking the doubles at the expense of Taweel and Abdelnuor last Saturday, 6-0, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.
Team captain Roland Kraut said they are facing a tougher team in Thailand and hinted at some changes in the lineup.