Japanese gain in rain-hit Phinma-PSC opener

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Japanese No. 4 Kazuki Shimizu and compatriot Tomoya Ikeda came away with a pair of lopsided victories over their respective rivals yesterday to cruise to the second round of the rain-marred opener of the Phinma-PSC International Juniors Tennis Championships Week 1 at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

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Shimizu overpowered Thai qualifier Pawin Jirapoomdaje and claimed a 6-0, 6-1 romp, the same scoreline posted by Ikeda in ousting Indonesian Giorgio Soemarno before organizers of the Grade 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-under category event sponsored by the Phinma Group of Companies and the Philippine Sports Commission called off plays due to non-stop rain.

Three other matches in the boys’ side were left unfinished with top seed Bryan Otico trailing Japanese qualifier Keisuke Saitoh, 4-6, 0-1; third seed Arthur Pantino hanging tough against another Japanese ace Fumiya Yoshino, 3-6, 6-5; and Taiwanese Tsai Chang-lin holding to a 6-3, 3-2 lead over Indonesian Muhammad Althaf Dhaifullah.

Nine other matches in the boys’ division were reset for today (Wednesday), making the second day of action in the top-ranking tournament acked by Mariposa Foundation, Technifibre and Century Park Hotel a busy one with 13 girls’ contests also on tap.

Top seed Khim opens defense of her crown against American Aniya Holloway while Shaira Rivera, Rafaella Villanueva and Monica Cruz take on Jordan Harris, also of the US, New Zealand’s Oleksandra Kalachova and Taiwan’s Kuan Yi Lee, respectively, in the other featured matches.

Wild card entries Miles Vitaliano, Amanda Zoleta, Danielle Poblador and Frances Santiago likewise open their respective campaigns in the tournament serving as the first of two championships featuring the region’s leading and rising players.

Vitaliano mixes it up with Russian Mariya Krasakova, Zoleta faces Canadian Sabrina Alano, Poblador battles American Skyler Holm and Santiago collides with Aussie Kelly Martin.

Meanwhile, the PSC-Phinma IJTC Week 2 will be held November 22 to 27 with the qualifying sign-in on Nov. 19 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., also c/o Rawi and the qualifying matches set November 20 to 21.

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