By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
Thai No 1 Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul lifted Thai spirits in Colombo on Saturday, outclassing his Sri Lankan opponent to level the Davis Cup Zone Asia/Oceania Qualifying Group II first round.
World No 458 Wishaya downed Yasitha de Silva 6-3 6-3 and then confident he and his teammates would complete victory the best-of-five tie on Sunday.
It hadn’t looked promising earlier, however, as Thai No 2 singles player Jirat Navasirisomboon was upset by Sharmal Dissanayake 4-6 5-7 in a match lasting one hour and 38 minutes.
Unfamiliarity on the clay surface at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association venue was the key to the loss of Jirat, who had never lost in three previous Davis Cup matches.
The 2017 SEA Games men’s singles silver medallist repeatedly slipped on the greasy surface and made several unorthodox errors that accounted for his defeat.
Wishaya, on the other hand, adjusted better to the surface and his powerful serves, including 10 aces, saw him cruise through the match in 90 minutes.
“I was a bit nervous before the match as we lost the first rubber. But I told myself to stay focused and stick to my game plan,” said Wishaya, the winner of the National University Games in Bangkok last week.
“Despite some difficulty with the clay, which was more slippery than usual, I was able to hit the ball well and dictated play with my serves and groundstrokes. I believe we will win the tie by the end of Sunday,” added the Thai No 1.
The country that wins two of today’s three remaining rubbers will move into the next round in the knockout format.
Sunday's session will start with the doubles rubber between Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana versus Alex Fairbanks and Sankha Atukorale, followed by the reverse singles, between Wishaya and Dissanayake and Jirat and de Silva.