Thu, 05 Oct 2000

Suwandi expected to win 1st singles match

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia's top men's singles player Suwandi is expected to win the first singles match against Cheng Wei-yen of Chinese Taipei in the Davis Cup Asia Oceania Group 2 final on Friday.

Second singles Hendri Susilo Pramono would face a tough challenge from Taiwan's old hand Tsai Chia-yen in the second singles match at the Kemayoran tennis center in Central Jakarta.

Veteran Indonesian doubles players Bonit Wiryawan and Sulistyo Wibowo will face the doubles pair of Cheng and Chen Wei-ju on Saturday.

In the reverse singles matches on Sunday, Suwandi will meet Tsai while Hendri will play Cheng. The singles match will kick off at 10 a.m. while the doubles match will start on 2 p.m.

The winner of the match will face a tough survival test in the Asia Oceania Group 1 as the top seed Uzbekistan has been drawn to play in the first round next February.

"The key to the team's victory lies in Suwandi's hand. If he can win his match against Cheng, we are sure to win 2-0 in the first day. Hopefully he can do it because he is more experienced and astute now," coach Deddy Prasetyo told reporters after the drawing on Wednesday.

Deddy restrained himself from predicting his team's chances but said: "We will try our best and let God do the rest."

Both Deddy and Taiwanese Cheng said the result of the drawing was as expected.

"I had guessed who the singles players would be. And the draw went as expected," Deddy said

"We were expecting it," said Cheng, who is ranked 1200th by ATP and currently the fifth ranked player in his country.

Cheng was tightlipped about his chances of defeating Suwandi. "I have never played Suwandi. We never played against each other. I'll try my best and we'll see what happens."

But he said that he had observed Hendri's play.

Tsai said he was confident he can beat Hendri in the first match.

"I have never played Hendri. But I've got a good chance because this is Hendri's first Davis Cup tie as a singles player. Moreover, I have been preparing for this clash for about two or three months."

He also said that he beat Suwandi two times in their previous head-to-head matches. But Deddy said Suwandi lost to Tsai due to his lesser experience when both players were playing in the junior tournaments.

"It was a long time ago when Tsai beat Suwandi. I think Suwandi is more experienced and clever now," he said.

Deddy also said that he had asked Suwandi to continuously change his playing rhythm on Friday because Cheng was an all- rounded player.

Chinese Taipei surprisingly assigned its no. 1 player, Chen Wei-ju to play in the doubles instead of singles. Tsai, who is also the team's coach, said that the team had no idea of Chen's play.

"Chen Wei-ju is studying in Japan and we don't know how he plays. So we changed our team list just two days ago," said Tsai, who is also ranked 1200th in the world. (ivy)