Sun, 06 Feb 2000

RI, RP doubles match hangs in balance after rain delay

JAKARTA (Agencies): Playing under pressure, Indonesians Edy Kusdaryanto and Hendri Susilo Pramono were tied two sets apiece in the doubles match against the Philippines in the Davis Cup group II Asia Oceania zone tie in Manila on Saturday.

Edy and Hendri took a two-set lead 6-4, 6-2 over Adelo Abadia and Johnny Arcilla before losing the next two 6-7 (3-7) and 5-7. The deciding fifth set was postponed to Sunday morning due to rain and darkness.

Indonesia is ahead 2-0 in the best-of-five tie after singles Suwandi and Febi Widhiyanto won on Friday. Suwandi beat Johnny Arcilla 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 while Febi won 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 over Adelo Abadia.

Indonesian Tennis Association spokesman Benny Mailili told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview that both Edy and Hendri failed to maintain their concentration and consistency after Edi's serve was broken at 4-4 in the third set.

"They started to lose their concentration and were under pressure, especially after the Filipinos managed to win the third set. In the fourth set, they failed to overcome the pressure, particularly with the home supporters throwing their weight behind the Filipinos," he said.

The match will be resumed at 9 a.m. local time Sunday.

Benny said Pelti's adviser, Martina Widjaja, told both players not to play under pressure on Sunday.

Martina urged Edy and Hendri to take advantage of the limited lineup of the Philippines, which will have to field Arcilla and Abadia in the final singles matches later Sunday.

"On paper, Suwandi and Febi will be able to overcome Arcilla and Abadia in singles matches. Edy and Hendri must use the chance to play their best tomorrow," Benny said.

World group

In Bratislava, Karol Kucera and Dominik Hrbaty combined to pilot Slovakia into the Davis Cup quarterfinals after they took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in a world group tie against Austria on Saturday.

Kucera and Hrbaty cruised to a 6-4 6-3 6-4 win in the doubles over Alexander Peya and Julian Knowle. Both Slovaks had triumphed in singles matches played on Friday.

Slovakia play either Brazil or France in the next round.

In Moscow, Russia clinched a place in the Davis Cup quarter- finals on Saturday when they took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in their world group first round tie against Belgium.

Marat Safin and Andrei Cherkasov, playing doubles together for the first time, overcame spirited Belgian brothers Christophe and Olivier Rochus 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 6-1 6-3.

In Harare, Zimbabwe lead the U.S. 2-1 in their Davis Cup world group first round tie on Saturday.

Wayne Black/Kevin Ullyett beat Rick Leach/Alex O'Brien 7-6 (7- 4) 5-7 0-6 7-5 7-5

Earlier, Zimbabwe's number one Byron Black beat U.S. cup debutante Chris Woodruff to level the opening singles matches after world number one Andre Agassi had given the Americans a flying start by beating Byron's brother, Wayne.

Agassi overcame the Zimbabwean number two 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 on the fast hardcourt indoor court in a powerful display of baseline hitting that overcame a resilient Wayne Black and intense home support for Africa's premier outfit.

But honors were shared when Byron crushed Tennessee journeyman Woodruff 7-6, 6-3, 6-2 to produce the loudest cheers of the day.

In Lucknow, Lebanon's Hicham Zaatini and Ali Hamadeh beat India's Leander Paes and Syed Fazaluddin in their Asia-Oceania group one Davis Cup doubles clash reducing the host's lead to 2-1 here on Saturday.

Favourites India were trailing Zaatini and Hamadeh when rain stopped play for 20 minutes during the fifth game.

The Lebanese pair ran out eventual winners 6-7 (2/7), 7-6 (7/3), 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and 15 minutes.

India were 2-0 ahead in the group one first round clash after winning both the opening singles on Friday.

In Zurich, Australia had been expected to waltz past a Swiss team in turmoil but despite political wranglings within the Swiss camp their players were in no mood to lie down.

Australia's Lleyton Hewitt overcame a sluggish start to beat a feisty George Bastl 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 -- his 14th win in 15 matches this season -- to give the defending champions the lead but youngster Roger Federer upset the form book and beat Mark Philippoussis 6-4, 7-6, 4-6, 6-4 to level matters.

Things looked worse for last year's runners-up France as they trailed Brazil in Florianapolis.

French number one Cedric Pioline was beaten by Fernando Meligini in a five-set epic to hand the hosts the lead before Gustavo Kuerten -- on his home-town courts -- extended their lead by dismissing Jerome Golmard 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Former Wimbledon and U.S. Open finalist Pioline refused to lose faith.

In other world group action, England -- without the injured Greg Rusedski -- were level 1-1 in the Czech Republic, while Germany and the Netherlands were locked at 1-1 in Leipzig. (yan)