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Daunting task for PH in Davis Cup

Tsitsipas

TSITSIPAS

By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA

Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon spearhead the Philippine Davis Cup team which faces a daunting task against a Greek squad boasting of world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in their World Group II playoff tie next month.

The best-of-five, two-day affair will be held from March 6 to 7 at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila.

The Filipinos hope to use homecourt advantage against the Greeks.

According to the Davis Cup website, the Philippine team is also composed Eric Olivarez Jr., AJ Lim, and Ruben Gonzales.

The Greeks are also bannered by Tsitsipas’ younger brother Petros, Michail Pervolarakis, and Markos Kalovelonis.

Team captains for the Philippines and Greece are Chris Cuarto and Dimitris Chatzinikolaou.

Cuarto admitted facing the Greeks spearheaded by a world-class player like Tsitsipas will be daunting but remains positive that they can still pull of a tie victory.

“We’ll make the most out of our matches,” said Cuarto. “Looking at their lineup, it’s going to be very hard and tough.”

Alcantara and Patrombon established themselves as the best Southeast Asian men’s doubles players after winning the gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Games against teammates Gonzales and Treat Huey last December.

Alcantara, Patrombon, and Gonzales are veterans in the Davis Cup. Gonzales, the most senior in the group, has played 15 ties since 2010 has a doubles ranking of 227.

Patrombon has seen 11 ties since 2011, while Alcantara has been with the squad since 2009 with an ATP doubles ranking of 535.

Lim has played in four ties since 2017 while Olivarez will be debuting.

All four players of Greece have pro rankings with Tsitsipas also at No. 85 in the ATP doubles. Pervolarakis and Kalovelonis are ranked No. 423 and 717, while Petros is at No. 1163.

Under the new format, 12 home-and-away ties in World Group II playoffs will be played at the same time in the World Qualifiers and World Group I playoffs.

The 12 winning nations from the World Group II playoffs will compete in the World Group II ties in September along with the losing nations from World Group I.

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