The national men’s tennis team is bracing for a tough challenge in the 2017 season of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 2 tie slated on February 3 to 5.
The Philippines hosts Indonesia in the first round of the zonal tennis tournament to be held at the Philippine Columbian Association shell-clay courts in Paco, Manila.
Leading the squad are Filipino-Americans Treat Conrad Huey and Ruben Gonzales, who are busy campaigning in world-class tournaments abroad.
Joining them are former Australian Open junior doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara and promising netter Alberto Lim Jr., who recently added by the Philippine Lawn Tennis Association in the team.
Karl Santamaria will serve as team captain while Martin Misa will be the Philippine Davis Cup administrator.
The 31-year-old Huey is currently ranked 22nd in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles. He competed in the ATP World Tour Finals in England, Paris Open in France, Basel ATP World Tour in Switzerland, and Stockholm Tour in Sweden.
Gonzales went to Japan for a couple of tournaments – the Toyota Challenger and Kobe Challenger while Alcantara played in Indonesia, Vietnam and Canada, and Lim saw action in Hong Kong (senior level), and US junior events – Metropolia Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship in Plantation and Eddie Herr ITF in Florida.
Indonesia holds a 6-4 edge against the Philippines in the head-to-head with the former winning in 2002 and 2000 ties.
The last time the Filipinos won against the Indonesians was in 1999.
Last year, the Philippines made it to the semifinals but lost to Taiwan via a 1-3 decision.
Taiwan scored victories in opening singles matches with Chen Ti beating Gonzales, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2, and Huang Liang-Chi trouncing Alcantara, 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 1-0 (ret.), and first reverse singles as Ti toppled Jeson Patrombon, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0, 6-1.
Huey and Patrombon nailed lone victory of the Filipino netters in doubles, beating Hung Jui-Chen and Wang Chieh-Fu, 6-7 (7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.