The Philippine Davis Cup team are back in familiar territory
The Philippines swept its Day 2 assignments in the 2018 Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group II First Round tie against host Indonesia, 4-1, to advance to the semifinals of the group, Sunday afternoon at the Gelora Bung Karno Tennis Stadium Complex.
No debut jitters rattled Jurence Mendoza, as he and veteran Francis Alcantara fended off David Susanto and Justin Barki in the opening set at the tiebreak, before dominating the second set at 6-3.
In the new format of the competitions for the lower groups, getting ahead was a premium. The Filipino pair recognized they urgency, as they crawled back from a 1-3 deficit to snag the set even though it went the distance.
That second set was not a smooth sailing story at the start, as Indonesia had an early break. Nonetheless, when Mendoza and Alcantara strengthened their service game and played more aggressively on returns, they eventually bagged the 2-1 lead.
Opening day winner AJ Lim then capitalized on the little rest Susanto had going into the first reverse singles rubber, as he zoomed to an early 5-0 lead in the first set. The most experienced Indonesian in the lineup tried to keep in step, but the advantage was too much to overhaul, and the 18-year-old Filipino was one set away from sending the Nationals back to the Final Four.
The second set was a tighter affair, as Susanto got a second wind. Nonetheless, Lim was composed enough with better first serves this time to seal the country’s return to the semifinal phase.
The youngest Filipino called up, Brian Otico, showed the squad’s bright future after taking down Anthony Susanto in the dead singles rubber at two 6-3 sets.
In April, the Nationals hope to turn it around this time as the tie will be played here in the country.
The Philippines will once again face Thailand, who won against Sri Lanka at 3-2, in the final four. Last year, the Thais swept the Filipinos, 5-0, in Thailand.