MANILA, Philippines - Top seed Jurence Mendoza and prodigy Alberto Lim came away with victories in varying fashions on Thursday to advance to the quarterfinal round of the Phinma International Juniors at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Mendoza, 16, recovered from an early second set breakdown and essayed a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Wu Tung Lin of Chinese Taipei while Lim, the youngest participant at 13, rallied from a set down to upend fifth pick Chen Xin of China, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, and surge into the Last 8 of the event bankrolled by Phinma.
Mendoza, who smashed Korean Kweon Jigin, 6-2, 6-2, in Monday’s opening round, will take on No. 6 Razak Abdul of Malaysia for a spot in the semis of the ranking event, the first of two tournaments lined up by the Philippine Tennis Association.
Abdul booted out Australian qualifier Brian Tran, 6-4, 6-4, while Lim, who earlier trounced New Zealand’s Connor Heap, faces Japan’s Shoma Kato, who stunned Thai No. 3 Teeradon Tortrakul, 6-2, 6-1, in today’s resumption of the event sponsored by Technifibre (official ball), Viva (official mineral water) and Powerade (official energy drink).
“I struggled a bit early in the second set but good thing I recovered,” said Mendoza, who is set to see action in his first ever Grand Slam tournament in the Australian Juniors Open early next year.
Lim, meanwhile, recovered in time to stay in the hunt for the crown.
“I was rushing things up in the first set so I adjusted by becoming more patient, which worked,” said Lim, a member of the Philippine Tennis Academy who recently reach the semis in a Grade Four event in Indonesia.
It was a big win for the Letran freshman who once thought of quitting the sport when ranged against older rivals.
“When I first tried him against older players after he made it to the finals of the Orange Bowl in the US, he cried and almost quit,” said coach Manny Tecson.
“Good thing he never quit because I know this boy is intelligent and will go places,” he added.
Mendoza, Lim and Marian Jade Capadocia were the last remaining Filipinos in Week One after the latter shocked girls’ top seed Sri Varishnava of India, 6-1, 6-2, Tuesday to set up a duel with No. 8 Ma Yi Chi of Chinese Taipei at 9 a.m. today.
Like Lim, unseeded Aussie Daniel Nolan pulled the rug from under No. 8 Sora Fukuda of Japan, 6-4, 0-6, 6-1, to arrange a quarters showdown with Japan’s Shoki Kasahara, who made it through after Thai Paramin Plodpai retired due to a left rib spasm after trailing, 5-7, 1-2.
Kasahara was also credited for eliminating No. 2 Chen Wei Jen of Chinese Taipei, 7-6(2), 7-5, two days ago.
Also moving on were No. 4 Yusuke Takahashi, who downed Chinese Taipei’s Lu Chang Wu, 6-3, 6-0, and No. 7 Thailand’s Congsup Congcar, who turned back qualifier Takashi Yasugami, 6-1, 7-6 (9).