Arthur Pantino knocked down winners in varying forms and came away with an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 victory over Japanese Ryota Ishii to roll into the boys’ singles semifinals of the Phinma-PSC Juniors Tennis Championships Week I at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park yesterday.
But while the second-seeded Pantino notched his second straight-set win in row and stayed in the title hunt in the Group 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-and-under event, compatriots Jose Antonio Tria and Michael Eala succumbed to strong foreign opposition in the quarterfinals.
Tria, who earlier beat Taiwanese Kung Chun Jui, 6-1, 6-2, dropped a 6-2, 6-4 setback to third ranked Taiyo Yamanaka, while Eala, who toppled Japanese Kei Manaka, 6-3, 6-2, in the second round, also yielded a 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 4 Muhammad Arazza of Indonesia.
Melanie Dizon also failed to sustain her charge in the girls side of the event sponsored by the Philippine Investment Management Consultants (Phinma) and Technifiber and sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) as she bowed to second seed Lisa Mays of Australia, 6-2, 6-4, and missed the semis.
That leaves the Philippine Tennis Academy stalwart Pantino as the last Filipino hope with the Cebuano ace, a member of the national junior Davis Cup squad, facing Yamanaka for a berth in the finals of the first of two ITF-sanctioned tournaments supported by Technifiber ball as official ball, official hotel Jinjiang Inn, Makati and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Top seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan overpowered Malaysian Shamirul Shahril Adam Das, 6-0, 6-2, to set up a Final Four duel with Arazza in the upper half of the 32-player draw.
Meanwhile, Week 2 will be played Nov. 21-26 with the two-day qualifiers slated on tomorrow and Monday, also at the MPC, according to tournament director Chris Cuarto with Malaysian Razmee Rawi as the tournament referee.
Also making it in the girls semis are American Nicole Hammond, who repulsed China’s Fangran Tian, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2; Hong Kong’s Wing Ka Lin, who turned back Aesha Patel of the US, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3; and Elizabeth Stevens, who upended Japanese Saki Oyama, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.