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Davis Cup

Philippines braces for Greece to open Davis Cup World Group II campaign

The Philippines will get the chance to play against world tennis’ best and brightest when it clashes with Greece in the Davis Cup, which is implementing a brand new format starting this year.

Under the new format, the Filipinos will battle the Greeks — who could be spearheaded by World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas — in a World Group II playoff round slated March 6 to 7 at the Philippine Columbian Association’s Plaza Dilao clay courts in Paco, Manila.

It will mark the first time that the country will play against a non-Asian country since the team — then led by Felix Barrientos — tackled Sweden in the World Cup qualifier in 1991.

Jeson Patrombon, Francis Casey Alcantara, AJ Lim, and possibly Fil-Ams Ruben Gonzales and Treat Huey are expected to represent the country.

They will have a chance to face Tsitsipas, who made the semifinals of the Australian Open last year, assuming the Greeks will enlist him before the deadline on Tuesday.

“We’re excited of the new format because our team will have an opportunity to play not just Asians, but also other strong players in the world,” said Philippine non-playing captain Chris Cuarto.

In this new system, a total of 12 home-and-away ties will be played in the World Group II simultaneous with the World Qualifiers and World Group I playoffs.

The top 12 in the World Group II playoffs will then advance to the World Group II ties in September along with losing countries from the World Group I.

The losers here will be demoted to the Regional Group III scheduled in June and July or September.

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