Top seed Clarice Patrimonio and No. 2 Khim Iglupas posted a pair of lopsided victories to arrange another title duel even as the men’s top seeds rolled into the semifinal round of the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala Pintaflores Festival Open at the Sacata Tennis Club in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on Thursday.
Patrimonio dropped just two games to ease out Chloe Mae Saraza, 6-2, 6-0, in the quarterfinal round then dominated No. 4 Shaira Hope Rivera, 6-0, 6-1, to cruise to the finals of the centerpiece event sponsored by Palawan Pawnshop and presented by Slazenger.
But Iglupas also turned in an impressive win, shutting out Erika Mae Manduriao, 6-0, 6-0, in the Last 8 then blasting third seed Hanna Espinosa, 6-2, 6-1, in the lower half of the 16-player draw featuring the country’s leading players.
This marks the third time that Patrimonio and Iglupas will slug it out for the crown in this year’s PPS-PEPP calendar. Iglupas swept Patrimonio in the Olivarez Cup finals but the latter struck back in the Tuna Festival Open and hacked out a three-set win.
Patrimonio broke Riviera right from the start then swept the next five games. Rivera, who beat Rachelle de Guzman, 6-1, 6-0, in the quarters, held serve in the second set but failed to neutralize Patrimonio’s power and superb all around game to yield the next five.
Iglupas also broke Espinosa in the opener then took three of the next four games before the latter broke the former in the sixth game. But Iglupas broke back in the seventh then held serve in the next to clinch the set.
The 18-year-old ace from Iligan then re-stamped her class in the second, winning the next six games after Espinosa held serve.
“The women’s final promises to be another slam-bang affair with both players coming into the championship in peak form while an equally exciting semis is in the works in the men’s side with the top four seeds making it,” said Palawan Pawnshop CEO and president Bobby Castro, who also lauded the all-out support of the host city led by San Carlos City Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr., councilor Criston Carmona and the LGUs of San Carlos along with former Rep. Julius Ledesma IV and Vice Gov. Bong Lacson.
No. 1 Johnny Arcilla, meanwhile, lined himself up for a fourth straight Open crown in this year’s PPS-PEPP calendar, beating Marcen Gonzales, 6-1, 6-2, to advance to the semis against No. 4 Leander Lazaro, who demolished Calvin Canlas, 6-1, 6-2.
Second seed Patrick John Tierro had an easier time reaching the Final Four, scoring a 1-0 (ret.) win over John Mari Altiche for a face-off with No. 3 Vicente Anasta, who survived Fritz Verdad, 4-6, 6-3, 10-8.
Arcilla, the Davis Cup veteran, won the Olivarez Cup Open crown last Aug., ruled the Tuna Festival Open in Gen. Santos City last September then ran away with the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo two weeks ago, keeping his bid for another Open romp for the second straight year alive.
The last PPS-PEPP Open tilt is the Dagitab Festival in Naga City, Cebu on December 18 to 22.