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PH plays Greece in new Davis Cup format

World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas to play in Manila?

Updated
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By Kristel Satumbaga

The Philippines will be playing against Greece for the first time in Davis Cup history following the introduction of its new format this year.

Francis Alcantara, right, hits the ball as teammate Jeson Patrombon looks on during the soft tennis doubles in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center, Dec. 7, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 70-200mm f2.8 lens)

Francis Alcantara, right, and Jeson Patrombon during the soft tennis doubles in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center, Dec. 7, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 70-200mm f2.8 lens, File)

The tie, under the World Group II playoff round, will be held on March 6 to 7 at the Philippine Columbian Association claycourt in Paco, Manila.

The matchup will also be the first time in 29 years that the Filipino Cuppers will be up against a non-Asian squad since the PH team, then bannered by Felix Barrientos, faced Sweden in the 1991 World Group Qualifiers.

Under the new format, 12 home-and-away ties in World Group II playoffs will be played at the same time in the World Qualifiers and World Group I playoffs.

The 12 winning nations from the World Group II playoffs will compete in the World Group II ties in September along with the losing nations from World Group I.

Losing nations in World Group II, meanwhile, will compete in the Regional Group III in June/July or September.

Non-playing team captain Chris Cuarto is excited for his stalwarts to go up against the Greeks, who boast of world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 2019 Australian Open semifinalist.

Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas hits a return against Canada's Denis Shapovalov during their men's singles match at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 3, 2020. (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP)

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (Photo by SAEED KHAN / AFP)

It was not sure, though, if Tsitsipas would play this tie as the deadline until the deadline of team nominations on Feb. 25.

However, Tsitsipas saw action in last year’s Group III Europe Zone.

While the team composition is being finalized, Filipino Cuppers have been training regularly at the PCA claycourt.
Among those in the pool are Jeson Patrombon, AJ Lim and Francis Casey Alcantara.

Ruben Gonzales serves in the Soft Tennis doubles semifinals against Vietnam during the SEA Games at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center, December 6, 2019 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 400mm f2.8 lens)

Ruben Gonzales (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 1DX Mark II with 400mm f2.8 lens, File)

US-based PH Cuppers Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales have also expressed their interest to join the squad.

The PH team is coming off a 3-1 loss to Thailand in the first round of Group II under the previous format last year.

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