Mon, 10 Apr 2000

Indonesia challenges Taipei for Group One promotion

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia will meet China Taipei in the final of the Group Two Davis Cup Asia Oceania zone in a battle for a promotion to Group One in October.

Indonesia crushed Malaysia's dream of a place in the final berth on Sunday with a 5-0 win in the Davis Cup tie at the National Tennis Center in Kuala Lumpur.

AFP reported that China Taipei outshone Pakistan 3-2 in the other Group Two match in Taichung, Taipei.

In 1998, Indonesia was bitterly relegated to Group Two after a 5-0 drubbing by China in the Asia Oceania Group one second playoff. Indonesia was twice moved to the verge of the World Group in the 1980s.

On Sunday, Indonesia's first singles player Febi Widhiyanto beat Malaysian junior player M. Nazreen Fuzi 6-0, 6-1, while Suwandi defeated another Malaysian junior, Adam Jaya, 6-1, 6-1 in the singles matches.

Coach Deddy Prasetyo said he was satisfied with his players' performances, saying that the Malaysian players were no match for Febi and Suwandi.

"Febi was too quick to end the game and it cost him one point. When he was leading 5-0 in the sixth set of the second game, his return service was quickly smashed by Nazreen because the ball was floating. Febi was at that time leading 40-30," he said.

"Febi was slightly provoked by the Indonesian spectators here who shouted 'zero ... zero'," he told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview.

Deddy also said that Adam, who was fielded by Malaysia in the last minute, was unable to return Suwandi's powerful service.

In Friday's openers, Suwandi beat Vasuthevan Ortchuan 6-2, 6- 2, 6-3 and Febi edged out Selvam Veerasingam 6-3, 6-3, 6-2. The success story continued the following day as veteran doubles players Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo thrashed Malaysian duo Veerasingam and Fuzi 6-4, 6-2, 6-1.

In Taipei, Lin Ping-chao overcome Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi of Pakistan 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 while teammate Tsai Chia-yen outclassed Asim Shafik 6-0, 6-3, 6-3.

Deddy said that Indonesia should make extra preparations prior to its clash with Taipei considering the presence of Lin Ping- chao, formerly known as Benny Wijaya of Indonesia.

He said Lin might be too powerful for Indonesian players because he was more experienced. He said Lin frequently competed in challengers and ATP tours matches while Indonesian players could only manage to compete in Futures.

"Lin has been appointed as the head coach. He's the best player in his current team."

"If we want to win the final, we have to make serious efforts in our preparations. The Indonesian Tennis Association (Pelti) may hire a foreign tennis consultant or even a foreign coach. Our players cannot fight in international tournaments above the Futures. We can't even dominate in Southeast Asia," he said.(ivy)