AS EXPECTED, the big guns led went out firing on all cylinders yesterday.
Favorites Marc Sieber, Johnny Arcilla, Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon and Ruben Gonzales brushed off their respective foes to make it to the men’s singles second round of the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open tennis championships presented by Cebuana Lhuillier.
Filipino-German top seed Sieber slammed unheralded Jarryd Manduriao, 6-0, 6-0, to lead the bright lights of Philippine tennis who, for the first time, gathered for the country’s oldest and most prestigious tournament.
Second seed Gonzales, a vital cog in the country’s Davis Cup campaigns, also breezed through with an easy 6-0, 6-0 triumph over junior standout Dheo Talatayod.
Six-time champion Arcilla, considered as the old bully of the PCA’s famed clay-shell courts, also hurdled his first-round assignment after beating Joshua Miranda, 6-1, 6-4.
“It’s only the first round that’s why I still have jitters, maybe by Tuesday (second round) I get my groove back,” said the 32-year-old Arcilla, the last year’s champion.
When as asked how he sees the competition, Arcilla, a regular member of the Philippine Davis Cup team, said in Filipino: “They said I’m the legend here but this year we have a monster. It’s going to be very tough.”
He was referring to the 24-year-old Sieber, who beat him in the 2010 finals.
“It’s very clear that he’s a cut above the rest. He should be in the Davis Cup,” added Arcilla.
Twenty-year-old Alcantara proved too tough for Kristian Tesorio, 6-1, 6-2, to also advance along with childhood rival Patrombon, who barged into the next round with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over lucky loser Joshua Kinaadman in the tournament backed by Kia, Dunlop, Babolat, Head, PCSO and PVL Restaurants.
“This is a very tough [event]; the level is high which makes it more challenging,” said Alcantara, who was part of the duo that topped the 2009 Australian Open juniors doubles.