• Rivera saves day for PH bets, Hammond gains


    Shaira Rivera fashioned out a 6-2, 6-3 romp over Lunda Kumhom of Thailand to make up for a string of setbacks suffered by the local bets from foreign opposition in the Phinma-PSC Juniors Tennis Championships Week 2 at the Manila Polo Club in Forbes Park on Wednesday.

    Rivera imposed her will early against Kumhom then fended off the Thai’s fightback to complete the straight-set victory that came after Melanie Dizon, Isabela Carlos, Rafaella Villanueva and Winona Cabardo bowed out one after the other to seeded foreign rivals.

    Dizon fell to No. 2 Thai Punnin Kovapitukted, 6-0, 6-1; Carlos blew a tight first-set game and dropped a 7-5, 6-1 decision to seventh-ranked Japanse Saki Oyama; Villanueva yielded to Annika Kannan of India, 6-2, 6-3; and Cabardo succumbed to No. 2 Lisa Mays of Australia.

    But Rivera, a veteran of the WTA Future Stars, will have her hands full in the second round where she will face No. 5 Wing Ka Lin of Hong Kong for a spot in the quarterfinals of the Group 4 ITF (International Tennis Federation) 18-and-under event sponsored by the Philippine Investment Management Consultants (Phinma) and Technifiber.

    Meanwhile, Nicole Hammond kicked off her Week 2 campaign the way she closed out the first leg of the annual ranking event sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association (Philta) as the power-hitting American whipped Malaysian Elsa Wan, 6-0, 6-0.

    Hammond, who swept compatriot Elizabeth Stevens to rule Week I, never gave Wan a chance in their brief encounter, scoring almost at will to advance to the second round against Chinese No. 4 Xuanjin Li, who eased out Sydney Enriquez, 6-2, 7-6(2).

    Enriquez tried to rebound with a gutsy stand in the second set but lost steam and poise in the tiebreaker and headed to where the other Pinays bets before her had trooped—to the exit.

    Others who advanced in girls’ play were Wing, who thumped Singapore’s Ashley Yim, 6-1, 6-1; Malaysian Elysia Wan, who upended Korean Chae Hyun Sim, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2; Hong Kong’s Sheena Karrasch, who thwarted Aesha Patel of the US, 6-4, 6-4; and Charmaine Shie Yi-Seah of Singapore, who beat Suhana Das of Malaysia, 6-3, 6-1.


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