Fri, 29 Sep 2000

Febi on substitute bench for Taiwan Davis Cup clash

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) has passed over Febi Widhiyanto as a starter for the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group Two clash against Taiwan here next month.

Pelti spokesman Benny Mailili said here on Thursday Suwandi will head the team, which also will feature Hendri Susilo Pranomo as second singles player and the veteran doubles team of Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo, with Feby serving as a reserve.

Benny said Pelti preferred Hendri to Feby for the second singles based on their latest performances on the circuit.

"Hendri fare better than Febi in their last few tournaments. For example, Hendri managed to reach the final in the Future-4 tennis tournament in Jakarta in July," he said.

Hendri also made it to the quarterfinals in the second leg of the US$10,000 satellite tournament in Chiba, Japan, earlier this month. It was a marked improvement from his second-round exit in the tournament's first leg.

Febi, Hendri's clubmate, made a first-round exit in both legs, while Suwandi won the first leg and went out in the second round of the second leg.

The choice of the Kemayoran Tennis Center as the venue for the Taiwan clash was cited as another reason for Hendri's selection to the national team's top flight.

"Hendri performs better on the plexy-pave court than Febi, because Hendri is a serve and volley type of player," Benny said.

Febi last played second singles in Indonesia's 4-1 win over the Philippines in their Davis Cup encounter, which moved Indonesia into next month's duel with Taiwan.

Regarding Bonit and Sulistyo, Benny said Pelti took their vast experience into account when naming them to the team.

"If we form a new partnership, we will faces difficulties in winning a point because they are not tested," he said.

Taiwan has yet to announce its Davis Cup team for the October encounter, but former Indonesian player Benny Wijaya looks certain to join the team.

The Taiwanese head into the October match after beating Pakistan 3-2. The winner of the match will qualify for next season's Asia Oceania Group I.

For Indonesia, a win will end its four years of waiting to return to the continent's tennis premiership. Indonesia was bitterly relegated to Group Two after a 5-0 drubbing by China in the 1996 Asia Oceania group one playoff.

Indonesia twice came close to the elite World Group in the 1980s.

In April last year, the Philippines dashed Indonesia's hopes of rejoining the Asia Oceania Group I with a 4-1 win here. Thailand was eventually promoted to Group One after beating the Philippines. (ivy)