Pakistan wins doubles to stay alive vs PH in Davis Cup
MANILA, Philippines – For someone ranked a lofty No. 25 in the world doubles ratings, Filipino-American Treat Huey didn’t show it in his team-up with Ruben Gonzales on Saturday, April 4, in a crucial doubles clash against Pakistan’s Aqeel Khan and Aisam Qureshi.
As a result of Huey’s anemic performance, the Filipinos became easy pickings for the Pakistanis, who fashioned a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 rout in extending their Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group 2 semifinals at Philippine Columbian Association indoor clay court.
In targeting the vulnerable Fil-Am southpaw, the visitors were able to prevent a sweep of the best-of-5 tie after the hosts took both opening singles matches last Friday.
Still up 2-1, the hometown bets will have two chances tomorrow in clinching the series on the same court they had beaten the visitors in previous Davis Cup encounters in 2007 and 2009.
Gonzales will get the first crack when he takes on Khan at 10 a.m. but should he lose, it will be up to opening singles winner Patrick John Tierro to save day for the locals against Samir Iftikhar.
Huey declined to be interviewed, leaving PH non-playing team captain Roland Kraut to explain his sub-par form and the choice of partnering Huey with Gonzales in place Johnny Arcila, who was earlier named for doubles play.
“I live and die with Treat and Ruben because I believe that they are the best doubles team we have,” Kraut pointed out. “It’s just that Huey was totally off today. I don’t know but he told me that he suddenly felt ‘weird’ in the middle of the first set.
“I don’t believe it was something he ate or the fact he didn’t sleep well because everything was fine up to that point.”
Kraut said that he tried to give the ailing Huey a soft drink and a PowerBar to revitalize him “but nothing seemed to work.”
Pakistani team captain Mohammad Khalid said personnel changes for Sunday’s reverse singles might be in the offing considering what was at stake.
“There is a big possibility (of changing the players) but I am not at liberty to tell you,” said Khalid, keeping his cards close to his chest.
Qureshi hinted he might be tapped for singles duty assuming Khan wins to stretch the tie to a do-or-die clash against Tierro in the second reverse singles.
Under Davis Cup rules, both squads are allowed to change their line-up an hour before the start of the matches.
Signs that something was amiss in the usually reliable Fil-Am lefty’s play showed up after both squads held serve for the first 11 games of the first.
With Pakistan ahead 6-5, Huey found himself behind 15-30 then 15-40 on his serve in the 12th game, until Qureshi broke him with a backhand volley for the set’s one and only service break.
The second set mirrored the first where the Filipino trailed again at love-30 in the eight game with their opponents ahead 3-4.
Although Huey gallantly fought back with three straight points for to regain the lead, he was unable to sustain the rally by committing backhand and forehand errors in succession and got broken again, leaving the Filipinos at a 3-5 disadvantage. - Rappler.com
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