World No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas destroyed whatever hopes were left in the Philippines’ bid of scoring a miracle as he thrashed Jeson Patrombon, 6-2, 6-1, yesterday to seal the win for Greece in their World Group II Davis Cup tie at the Philippine Columbian Association’s (PCA) Plaza Dilao courts in Paco, Manila.
It was another clinical display of world class tennis by the 21-year-old Tsitsipas, who overpowered AJ Lim by the same score in the first singles the day before, to give the Greeks the 3-1 lead and the victory.
Tsitsipas’ younger brother Petros, who waylaid Petrombon, 6-2, 6-1, in the first singles, was playing Jed Olivarez, who subbed in for Lim, in a dead rubber at press time.
“We’re looking forward to playing our next opponents,” said Tsitsipas, who finished second to Novak Djokovic in the Dubai Championship last week.
In the doubles earlier, Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales pulled the rug from under Petros Tsitsipas and Markos Kalovelonis, 7-6 (5), 6-4, to resuscitate the Philippines’ dying chances.
It turned out the host’s last show of force as Tsitsipas delivered the tie-clinching win.
But at least the Filipinos didn’t go out without a fight and averted an embarrassing shutout.
Drawing inspiration from the loud weekend crowd that packed the PCA Plaza Dilao court in Paco, Manila, Alcantara and Gonzales came through when it mattered in helping the Filipinos cut their deficit to 1-2.
Given up for dead after trailing 0-2 on eerily identical 2-6, 1-6 defeats by AJ Lim and Jeson Patrombon to Tsitsipas brothers Stefanos and Petros Friday, the Alcantara-Gonzales duo crashed into the Greek party and spoiled an early celebration to the delight of the jubilant hometown crowd.
“The atmosphere was electric, the crowd gave us the energy we need to get this win,” Gonzales said.
It was also the first team up for Alcantara and Gonzales, whose original partner Fil-Am Treat Huey couldn’t make here because of an injury.
“We were trailing in the second set but the crowd willed us to fight back,” said Alcantara, who won the doubles gold with Patrombon in the 30th Southeast Asian Games last December.
Truly, the Filipino pair clawed their way back from a 1-3 deficit in the second set by taking five of the last six games and the match.
And then Tsitispas entered the fray.