Unheralded Elijah Guillermo dished out top form and hacked out a 6-2, 6-4 victory over second seed Dan Mates to barge into the semifinal round of the boys’ premier division in the PPS-PEPP Fr. Fernando Suarez Open Championships at the Brent Tennis Center in Biñan, Laguna last weekend.
Guillermo rode on a pair of lopsided triumphs over Gene Zuno (4-0, 4-0) and Jefferson Planilla (4-0, 2-0 ret.) to topple Mates and arrange a Final Four duel with Laurenz Quitara, who gained with a 1-0 ret. win over Stephen Catipon.
Top seed Leyton Portin and No. 4 Jester Ocio forged a clash in the upper bracket with the former thwarting Terrell Arejola, 7-5, 6-3, and the latter holding off Jason Camanting, 6-4, 6-2, in 18-U play of the two weekend tournament kicking off the second half of the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala tennis season.
Lance Fernandez also scored a 1-0 ret. victory over injured top seed Exequiel Jucutan to seal a semis faceoff with No. 4 Allen Rombawa, who foiled Kurt Balela, 3-6, 6-0, 10-1, while No. 2 Thomas Bernardo took a 2-6, 5-2 ret. win over Keno Enriquez for a duel with fifth ranked Sai Lago, who stopped Ocio, 6-3, 6-1, in the 16-U side of the event held in honor of healing priest Fr. Suarez, a tennis buff.
Bernardo and Lago will also dispute one of the final berths in 14-U section after the former turned back Balela, 6-3, 3-6, 10-3, and the latter trounced Frank Dilao, 6-0, 6-0. Unranked Marcus Guinoo scored a walkover win over Lukas Yupangco to forge the other semis clash with second seed Joshua Diva, who crushed Jeff Jimenea, 6-2, 6-4.
In girls’ play, top seed Bliss Bayking and No. 2 Denise Bernardo shoot for the semis seats against France Idjao and Shedyl Gica, respectively, while Gaby Zoleta tangles with Margaud Rosales, and Julia Ignacio clashes with Kaye Emana in the 18-U category of the event put up by PPS-PEPP headed by Bobby Castro and sanctioned by the Unified Tennis Philippines made up of PPS-PEPP, Cebuana Lhuillier, Wilson, Toby’s, Dunlop, Slazenger and B-Meg.
Zoleta, Idjao, Rosales, Gica and Ignacio, on the other hand, head the 16-U quarterfinalists who include Melody Dizon, Chelsea Roque and Mica Emana with Emana and Roque joining Dizon along with Indi Fandino, Felicia Araneta, Murphy Matthews, Sandra Apostol and Sophia Moreno in the Last 8 of the 14-U division.