Phl Cuppers take 2-0 lead over Syria
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - February 2, 2013 - 12:00am

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines – Johnny Arcilla and Ruben Gonzales took care of business as the Philippines seized a commanding 2-0 upperhand against Syria in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Zone Group II first-round tie last night at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa here.

Arcilla overcame a second-set meltdown to eke out a 6-4, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Syria’s top netter Issam Taweel then Gonzales outlasted Marc Abdelnour, 6-4, 7-6 (1), 6-2,  to give the  hosts an imposing headstart.

The Cebuana Lhuillier-Phl Davis Cup team will gun for the clincher tonight in the doubles match, with Treat Huey and Elbert Anasta initially nominated against Syrian nominees Abdelnour and Madji Salim. 

“It’s a good start for us, it puts us in a good position going into the doubles,” said non-playing captain Roland Kraut, who has the option to make lineup changes one hour before the 6 p.m. doubles match tonight.

Arcilla got off to a blazing start, not letting the 20-minute rain delay hinder his charge in taking the first set and seizing a 4-1 lead in the second set. But the pride of Butuan momentarily let his guard down, allowing the Syrian to snatch the second and draw level.

“I relaxed (when I got up, 4-1), thinking I already had it in the bag. One mistake and he broke serve and went all the way to win the second set,” the 33-year-old netter admitted in Filipino.

It served as a wakeup call for Arcilla, who made some adjustments in pace and unloaded a variety of shots from there, to seize control and force the world 925th Taweel to a series of botched shots.

“Coach (Roland Kraut) told me to slow it down because he (Taweel) wanted to make quick kills. I tried to extend the rallies and also mix my shots,” said Arcilla.

Arcilla has now won his fifth consecutive match in the Davis Cup.

The Phl-Syria Davis Cup tie is supported by Smart Sports, Cebuana Lhuillier, Yonnex, Jober, Philippine Sports Commission, Jober Electronics, and Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.

 

ABDELNOUR AND MADJI SALIM ARCILLA CEBUANA LHUILLIER CEBUANA LHUILLIER-PHL DAVIS CUP DAVIS CUP DAVIS CUP ASIA-OCEANIA ZONE GROUP ISSAM TAWEEL JOBER ELECTRONICS PLANTATION BAY RESORT AND SPA ROLAND KRAUT
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