Pantino seals ITF Phinma title duel vs Mitsui


Top seed Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan and No. 2 Arthur Pantino sustained their awesome forms to ease out their respective semifinal rivals in emphatic fashions yesterday and forge an explosive showdown for the boys’ singles title in the Phinma-PSC Juniors Tennis Championships Week I at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park on Saturday.

Mitsui clobbered Indonesian No. 4 Odeda Arazza, 6-1, 6-1, minutes after the Filipino ace smothered third ranked Taiyo Yamanaka, also of Japan, 6-1, 6-2, completing the top two players’ romps from elims to the finals of the Group 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-and-under event sponsored by the Philippine Investment Management Consultants (Phinma) and Technifiber and sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta).

Heading to today’s 10 a.m. finals, Mitsui dropped just seven games heading while Pantino, a Philippine Tennis Academy product, yielded nine games, guaranteeing a slambang duel of aggressive baseline players in the first of two ITF-sanctioned tournaments supported by Technifiber ball as official ball, official hotel Jinjiang Inn, Makati and the Philippine Sports Commission.

But while the boys’ draw went according to form, reversals marred the girls’ semifinals as Elizabeth Stevens stunned No. 2 Lisa Mays of Australia, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, and while doubles partner Nicole Hammond, who bundled out top seed Ting Pei Chang of Taiwan in the first round, trampled No. 4 Wing Ka Lin of Hong Kong, 6-2, 6-1, to arrange an all-American finals.

Meanwhile, Pantino, from Cebu, and Michael Eala are disputing the doubles plum with Japanese Kei Manaka and Yamanaka with Hammond and Stevens facing Jingyi Li and Fangran Tian of Taiwan in their side of the finals at presstime.

Meanwhile, Week 2 of the ITF ranking event will be played Nov. 21-26 with the two-day qualifiers slated on today (Sunday) and Monday, also at the MPC, according to tournament director Chris Cuarto with Malaysian Razmee Rawi as the tournament referee.


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