MANILA — The Philippine women’s tennis team hopes to return to the Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 when it competes in the Federation Cup Group 2 event this week.
The team bannered by 2017 Kuala Lumpur Southeast Asian Games silver medalist Ana Clarice Patrimonio has arrived in Bahrain on Sunday, two days before the tournament formally opens at the Bahrain Tennis Federation outdoor hard courts.
Filipino-German Katharina Lehnert and Khim Iglupas, who both competed in the SEA Games, are also in the team along with Marian Jade Capadocia.
Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) president, Atty. Antonio Cablitas, is also going to Bahrain after attending the Davis Cup men’s team competition in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Patrimonio debuted in the Fed Cup in 2011, winning all her 11 singles matches. She also won 15 doubles matches, including eight with Capadocia.
The 22-year-old Capadocia hails from Antique. She has played in the Fed Cup in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She has a 7-1 win-loss record in the singles and a 9-1 card in the doubles.
“Our goal is to make it back to Group 1 next year,” said team captain Czarina Mae Arevalo in an interview on Tuesday.
“The players are determined to win, I know that they will do their best to achieve our goal,” added Arevalo, who played 32 ties during her eight-year stint with the Fed Cup squad.
The Philippines was relegated to Group 2 after losing all four of its ties at the Group 1 competition held in Astana, Kazakhstan last year.
The tournament in Bahrain has a round-robin format. There will be two pools of three teams (Pools A and B) and two pools of four teams (Pools C and D).
The winners of each pool will face each other (A1 vs C1 and B1 vs D1) with the winners to be promoted to Group 1 in 2019.
The Philippines is in Pool B together with Kyrgyzstan and Singapore, while host Bahrain, Pakistan, Indonesia and Sri Lanka are in Pool D.
Lebanon, Uzbekistan and New Zealand are in Pool A while Malaysia, Oman, Iran and Pacific Oceania are in Pool C.
The Fed Cup is the world’s biggest annual women’s team competition. In the Zonal Group, ties are played over best-of-three matches (two singles and one doubles). PNA-northboundasia.com