NEW Zealand denied the Philippines of a Group 1 promotion in the Davis Cup after clinching in dramatic fashion their wild-and-wooly Asia-Ocenia Group II tie, 3-2, early Monday morning at the Plantation Bay in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.
Treat Huey squandered a two-set lead over Michael Venus to yield the fifth and deciding set, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3, allowing the Kiwis to win a rain-delayed best-of-five series marred by a rare on-court shouting incident involving officials of both teams.
The final day of the tie took more than 10 hours to complete as the first reverse singles between Filipino top netter Ruben Gonzales and Jose Statham began late Sunday afternoon, before Huey and Venus played out the second reverse singles just two hours past midnight of Monday.
Gonzales forged a deciding fifth set behind a gallant five-set victory over Statham earlier, 7-6 (2), 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 8-6.
The loss meant the Filipino Davis Cuppers will remain in Group II of the premier international team event in men’s tennis.
The host found itself in a deep hole on the opening day of the tournament when it lost the first two singles to trail 0-2 in the series.
But Huey, a quarterfinalist in the recent US Open, teamed up with Francis KC Alcantara to salvage the doubles event Saturday night, 6-4-6-3, 6-4 at the expense of Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell, and cut the New Zealand deficit to 1-2.
Gonzales and Johnny Arcilla was originally scheduled to play the two reverse singles, but the coaching staff decided to replace Arcillia with Huey at the last minute.