A RESILIENT PJ Tierro delivered when it mattered to frustrate Harshana Godamanna, 5-7, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-3, and give the Philippines a head start in its Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group Two tie against Sri Lanka on Friday at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig.
The 29-year-old Filipino netter didn’t disappoint after being elected as the Cebuana Lhuillier-backed team’s No. 1 player as he rallied from two sets down by taking the last three sets for the opening victory that set the hosts bid to regain their spot in Group 1 in motion.
In doing so, Tierro also avenged his five-set, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4, 2-6, 3-6 loss to Godamanna in their meeting last year in Colombo.
“Gusto namin matalo sila kaagad kasi what happened last year, lesson learned sa amin,” Tierro said, referring to the Davis Cuppers’ second-round loss to Pakistan last year, where they won the first two matches only to lose the next three to stay in Group 2 again.
“Syempre good start pa rin gusto namin ngayon.”
For a while, though, a sluggish Tierro showed up in the first two sets, where his Sri Lankan foe broke his serve a few times.
But Tierro, who had his racket restrung for added tension before the third set, found his groove thereafter, breaking out of a tied third set at four games apiece by winning the next two to give the squad a glimmer of hope.
Tierro continued to pounce on Godamanna’s unforced errors to shut out the Sri Lankan in the fourth set and force a deciding, before sustaining his dominance in the fifth by winning the first three games.
Leading five sets to two, Tierro wasted three match points after Godamanna forced three deuces, before the Pinoy netter fired a strong forehand that the Sri Lankan failed to return.
“He got his confidence nung first two sets, but sabi lang ni coach na just stay at the point…and then it paid off,” said Tierro, who let out a roar after scoring match point that ended the shell clay court-surfaced match that took more than three hours to finish.