TREAT Huey and Ruben Gonzales survived an opening set shock as Cebuana Lhuillier-Philippine Davis Cup scored a 6-7 (9-7), 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 doubles triumph over Chinese Taipei to stay in contention in their Asia/Oceania Group 2 semifinal tie Saturday night.
The Filipinos found their rhythm in the second set on to defeat hard-fighting Hung Jui-Chen and Wang Chieh-fu in the match that lasted almost four hours.
It afforded the Philippines another day to fight on but still trails Chinese Taipei, 2-1, after the Taiwanese swept Friday’s opening singles in the tie sponsored by Cebuana Lhuillier, Philippine Sports Commission, Yonex and Toby’s Sports.
“We came out with some great shots when the game is on the line. It was a great match-up and we responded well to the pressure,” said Huey. “The energy is good.”
Gonzales took the place of Jeson Patrombon at the last minute in an effort to form the best possible pair after the Taiwanese took a 2-0 lead in the opening singles.
But the country is staring at a huge task of sweeping Sunday’s reverse singles to win the tie and gain a slot to the promotional tie to Group 1.
Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara are set to play Taiwanese top player Ti Wang and Juang Liang-chi, respectively, although team captains may change lineups at the last minute on Sunday.
Philippine Davis Cup team manager Jean Henri Lhuillier later lauded the efforts of Huey and Gonzales.
"Treat and Ruben played magnificently today. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's singles matches and I'm confident we can pull off this incredible comeback. Our boys are so eager to win and not put their months of preparations to waste. Our focus is still to move up to Group 1 of Asia-Oceania," said Lhuillier.
It was a battle of wits in the first set with neither side giving up serves. But the Filipinos blinked first in the tiebreak, with Gonzales committing unforced errors to allow the Taiwanese to run away with the set.
But Huey, the recent Wimbledon doubles semifinalist, and Gonzales, recent ITF France Futures doubles champion, salvaged some pride and fought back hard in the second.
They finally broke Wang’s serve in the second game of the second frame, which triggered a series of fortunate events for the hosts and gave them the confidence they needed.