LAPU-LAPU CITY—Ruben Gonzales gets the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup team’s campaign going when he takes on Thailand’s No. 2 player Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul in the first match of the opening singles today at the clay courts of Plantation Bay Spa and Resort here.
Johnny Arcilla, listed as the country’s No. 2 player, will next square off with the visitors’ main man Danai Udomchoke, the tie’s strongest player with a 207th world ranking as well as Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games gold medals tucked under his belt.
The matches start at 3:30 p.m.
City Mayor Paz Radaza drew Gonzales’ name from the lot to determine the playing schedule during a short ceremony at the resort’s Alcatraz Ballroom.
The draw was also attended by ITF referee Nittin Kannamwar of India, Philippine Tennis Association secretary general Romeo Magat, Philta vice president Randy Villanueva and Plantation Bay GM Efren Belarmino.
Former Australian Open juniors doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara and world No. 27 doubles player Treat Huey were listed to play against 17-year-olds Nuttanon Kadchapanan and Pruchya Isarow in tomorrow’s doubles.
“We are facing a young bunch of players I saw play in the juniors last February at Rizal Memorial (Tennis Center),” said the PH squad’s non-playing captain Roland Kraut.
Udomchoke, 31, said he believes in his squad despite playing against a home team on a surface of its choice.
“Hopefully it’s a close match,” said Udomchoke.
But Arcilla, who won four straight local tournaments on clay courts, said they can’t be too complacent against the untested Thai team because Udomchoke can spell the difference.
“I will try to keep the game close and if I have the chance I will go for it,’’ said the 33-year-old Arcilla. “I saw him (Udomchoke) play many times before but haven’t played him yet. I know he’s not used to playing on clay.’’
Sponsoring the event are Cebuana Lhuillier, Smart Communications, Yonex, and Philippine Daily Inquirer.