Khim Iglupas toughened up in the third set and scrambled to a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 victory over Ange Oby Kajuru to stay in the hunt for the girls’ singles crown in the Phinma-PSC International Juniors Tennis Championships Week 2 at the Philippine Columbian Association courts in Paco, Manila on Saturday.
The top seeded Filipina ace recovered from a second set meltdown but had to go through some anxious moments before subduing her gutsy Japanese rival and clinching a spot in the semifinal round of the last of two Grade 4 ITF 18-under category events sponsored by the Phinma Group of Companies and the Philippine Sports Commission.
A change in venue and court surface hardly mattered for Iglupas in the early going with the top Philippine Tennis Academy mainstay taking the opening frame in emphatic fashion, only to waver in the face of Kajuru’s strong fightback in the second, sending the match into a decider.
But the Iligan City native, who bowed out to Taiwanese Chang Ting-pei in Week 1 of the top ranking event backed by Mariposa Foundation, Technifibre and Century Park Hotel, put her act together in the third and moved into the Final Four against the winner in Shiho Tsukua of Japan-Li Xuanjin of China duel being played at presstime.
Organizers of the event moved the quarters matches from Rizal Memorial Tennis Courts to the PCA venue due to non-stop rain that rendered the Rizal courts unplayable.
The semis matches in the singles and doubles are being played at the presstime with the winners disputing the titles today (Sunday) starting at 11 a.m., also at the PCA courts, according to tournament director Loida Mallare, who added that the ITF had approved the switch to shell clay courts due to inclement weather.
The first three quarters duels in the boys’ side were also actually decided in three sets with the Japanese poising themselves for a sweep of the titles after Ryuki Matsuda took the Week 1 diadem.
Tomoya Ikeda stopped Thai Natthasith Kunsuwan, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0, to seal a semis clash with compatriot Ryuya Ata, who turned back Kazuki Shimizu, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1; while Keisuke Saitoh upended No. 7 Kai Kawano, 6-4, 1-6, 7-5, for a duel with the winner in the Ryoma Matsushita-Digvijay Singh of India match.
Iglupas, with Week 1 champion Lee Kuan Yi as partner, is also eyeing a finals berth in doubles against Shiori Ito and Kajuru, so do last week’s boys’ doubles winners Bryan Otico and Seita Watanabe against Christian Chin of Malaysia and Indonesian Alvin Edison.