Elbert Anasta pulled off a stinging straight-set win over heavy favorite Treat Huey, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), yesterday and joined defending champion Johnny Arcilla and top seed Marc Sieber in the men’s singles semifinals of the Philippine Columbian Association Open tennis championships.
A three-time member of the national Davis Cup team who was not expected to go beyond the quarterfinals despite his No. 4 ranking, Anasta stunned the big crowd at center court with big serves and gritty returns by ousting the country’s top Davis Cupper today.
Anasta, who won a tournament in Singapore and the Olivarez Open recently, will be playing in his second PCA Open semifinal since 2009 against second seed Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales, who overpowered Jeson Patrombon, 6-2, 6-2.
Arcilla overcame his hard-fighting long-time rival and doubles partner PJ Tierro, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3, while the Fil-German Sieber easily bundled out young upstart Jurence Mendoza, 6-1, 6-2.
“I remained confident and didn’t hold back,” said the 30-year-old Anasta, an Army enlistedman, in Filipino.
He broke Huey’s serve in the seventh game to take the first set and then held his own in a tightly fought second set before prevailing in the tiebreak over the world No. 35 doubles player.
Defending champion Marian Jade Capadocia routed Hannah Espinosa, 6-3, 6-1, to arrange a women’s singles semifinal showdown with Clarice Patrimonio, who outlasted Fil-Am Toby Miclat, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Patrimonio, the losing finalist last year, lost a 4-2 lead in the first set before dominating the second. She pulled through after breaking the 18-year-old Miclat from 0-40 in the 10th game.
Fil-German top seed Katharina Lehnert was in her usual deadly form in booting out Alyssa Labay, 6-1, 6-0, to advance against Rachelle de Guzman, who eliminated Aileen Rogan, 6-2, 6-4.
The women’s singles semifinals of the event also sponsored by Kia, Dunlop, Head, Babolat, Whirlpool, PCSO, PVL Restaurants, is set today. The men’s singles semifinals will be played tomorrow.
Arcilla bounced back after losing serve in the first game of the match to wrap up the opening set, but Tierro, also a former Davis Cup player and former PH No. 1, fought back behind a solid serve to force a deciding set.
“It’s hard to play him because we always play each other,” said Arcilla in Filipino of his doubles teammate after the two-hour match.
“He was hitting well which put me on the defensive. But in the third set I attacked him.”