Davis Cup: Tierro fightback gives PH 1-0 lead
MANILA, Philippines—Patrick John Tierro completed a dramatic comeback to outlast Sri Lanka’s Harshana Godamanna, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-3, Friday night to give the Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippines squad a 1-0 lead in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania first-round tie at Valle Verde Country Club.
Making crucial adjustments after going down two sets to none against the feisty lefty Godamanna, Tierro persevered through three and half hours to nail the opening singles victory.
The 29-year-old Tierro, the country’s top player, lost to the same Sri Lankan (6-4, 6-7 (10-8), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3) in Colombo last year, also in the first opening single.
Ruben Gonzales was still playing Sharmal Dissanayake in the second singles match at press time.
For a long while there, it looked like history was repeating itself as Tierro dropped the first two sets, sending a pall of gloom in the gallery that packed the compact venue.
Tierro was obviously out of sync and looked tentative against the 24-year-old Godamanna, who was firing away incessantly with his backhand.
“It crossed my mind that it’s going to be a heartbreak again,” said Tierro. “But coach (nonplaying captain Roland Kraut) told me that I’m better than him, and to take it one point at a time.”
Tierro got a big break in the third set when Godamanna committed one error after another, capped by a double fault, to yield his serve and the set.
“Eventually, I felt his returns were not that strong anymore,” said Tierro. “On this type of court you have to pace yourself.”
Tierro actually wasted three match points as Godamanna mounted a late uprising, forcing two deuces with crisp forehand winners.
But Godamanna grew increasingly tired and hit a forehand to the net to finally give Tierro the victory.
“[Tierro] played it well,” said tennis patron and Cebuana Lhuillier president-CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier. “I’m proud of the way he fought for every point.”