AJ LIM was forced to quit because of cramps in his Davis Cup debut for the Philippines, handing David Agung Susanto of Indonesia the opening match in their Asia/Oceania Group 2 tie at the Philippine Columbian Association courts in Manila.
The 17-year-old Lim failed to close out a two-set lead against Susanto before being forced to retire by cramps on both his legs after the second game of the fifth set, allowing the Indonesian to walk away with a 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-1 victory.
Following the three-hour match, Lim was writhing in pain and had to be carried off to the court while still sitting on a chair.
Philippine non-playing team captain Karl Santamaria said he is still proud of the effort of Lim in the first-ever Davis Cup match of his young career.
“He gave it his all,” said Santamaria. “We are so proud of him. We weren’t expecting him to play like that and we are so happy to see it.”
The 25-year-old Susanto got his rhythm in the third set as he broke for a 3-1 lead. The Indonesian also saved two breakpoints to go up 5-2 in the same set.
Lim never recovered as he failed to hold in the second and fourth game of the fourth set to go 0-5.
Susanto said he played patiently and waited for the perfect opportunity in the tie sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Babolat, and Cebuana Lhuillier.
“I just played and played point after point,” said Susanto. “He played at a high level in the first two sets. I know he can’t stay that way for five sets.”
Santamaria said Lim was already experiencing pain as early as the third set.
“In the third set, sabi niya he was feeling something already in his hamstring. We tried to manage it the best we could,” Santamaria said.
Santamaria admitted nerves also got to Lim early on, but was happy with how he was able to get into the flow of the match.
“We were practicing five sets but it’s really different (in the actual match). ‘Yung nervous energy niya nandun,” Santamaria said.