PH tennis bets Patrombon, Gonzales sweep Kuwait to open Davis Cup
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The Philippines started its 2016 Davis Cup campaign on the right foot as Jeson Patrombon dominated Kuwait's Abdulrahman Alawadhi in straight sets (6-0, 6-2, 6-1) while Ruben Gonzales survived a 4-hour test of endurance against Mohammad Al-Ghareeb (7-6, 6-2, 1-6, 6-7, 5-5) to win by retirement on Friday, March 4 at the Valle Verde Country Club.
Gonzales, the no. 2 seed Filipino, raced to a two sets to none lead before Al-Ghareeb evened it at 2-all following an epic tie-breaker in the fourth set. Ghareeb appeared to be on his way to a fifth set rout with a 4-1 lead before Gonzales evened it up at 5-5.
The 35-year-old Ghareeb retired unexpectedly to the roar of dedicated tennis fans, citing a pulled groin muscle. Kuwait captain Adel Al-Shatti tells Rappler that Ghareeb is unlikely to play in Saturday's doubles match.
Gonzales, 30, of Terre Haute, Indiana had no indication that Ghareeb was fading.
"I felt like he was hanging on harder than me, dictating the play," said Gonzales. "He was doing a lot of moving so I thought, 'Man, he's gotta end at some point."
When Ghareeb buried his face in his captain's shoulder, Gonzales knew his doggedness had paid off. The Philippines can now wrap up the win on Saturday in the doubles match when Filipinos Treat Huey and Francis "Niño" Alcantara take the court against a lineup which may have changed up.
"You play for your team, you play for your country. That's why you play tennis," said Gonzales. You train hard to get all these things so that when you're in these positions you can perform."
"Mission accomplished. It's a great start. I commend Ruben for displaying great fighting spirit and of course Jeson played superb earlier. I look forward to finishing the match tomorrow with Treat and Nino playing doubles," said team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier."
Patrombon routs Alawadhi in straight sets
Patrombon, 22, of Iligan City, Philippines says his preparation while playing in the China F1 Futures tournament last month in Anning, China paid off.
"I'm happy to win this match. It's good preparation from China being applied here," said Patrombon, who was ranked as high as no. 9 in the world in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) juniors ratings.
The tie will conclude on Sunday with reverse rubber matches pitting no. 1 seeds Patrombon and Ghareeb against each other and Gonzales facing Abdulrahman Alawadhi.
The winner of the Philippines vs Kuwait 5-match tie will meet the winner of the Chinese Taipei vs Malaysia tie in the Asia/Oceania Group II semifinals, with the winner of the tournament to be promoted to Group I. The Philippines hasn't competed in Group I since 2011. – Rappler.com