Local junior netters brace for two weeks of top-notch competition with an eye on ranking points and boost to their respective careers when the Phinma-PSC International Juniors Tennis Championships are held November 15 to 20 and November 22 to 27 at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Khim Iglupas banners the girls’ cast in the upcoming event with the Filipina ace seeking a third straight Week I crown against a crack international field that includes the top and rising juniors players from the US, China, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, Singapore, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Iglupas, a mainstay of the Philippine Tennis Academy, rallied from a set down and toppled Chinese Wang Xin Yu, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, to make it back-to-back last year. But the Iligan City find fell short in Week 2, losing to eventual champion Ayumi Hirata of Japan in the quarters.
But with a string of victories in the local circuit, Iglupas is confident of contending for another title in the Grade 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-under category event sponsored by the Phinma Group of Companies and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Joining Iglupas in the main draw are Rafaella Villanueva and Shaira Rivera with Monica Cruz, Amanda Zoleta and Frances Santiago trying to earn their spots in the two-day qualifying stage.
Bryan Otico and Arthur Pantino, on the other hand, are entered in the main draw of the boys’ division headed by Chinese Chengze Yu, Seita Watanabe of Japan and Malaysian Christian Chin.
Fifteen other local bets will be gunning for spots in the main draw through the qualifying phase which offers 10 slots. They include Michael Eala, Jerome Romualdez, Manuel Balce III, Jacob Martin, Cenon Gonzales Jr., Jan Seno, Stephan Lhuillier, Jaime Chuidian, Jose Tria, Joaquin de Venecia, Joseph Tiamson, Kurt Mosqueda, Marcus del Rosario, Sebastien Lhuillier and Matthew Garcia.
The qualifying sign-in is set November 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. c/o ITF Malaysian supervisor Razmee Rawi with the qualifiers set November 13 to 14. Hostilities in Week I of the two-stage meet starts November 15.
Also on tap are the doubles competitions in both sides of the event backed by Mariposa Foundation and Technifibre Balls, the official ball, according to tourmament director Loida Mallare.