Arcilla bags Kia Am pairs berth with Patrimonio

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NEWLY crowned Philippine Columbian Association Open men’s singles champion Johnny Arcilla and women’s singles semifinalist Clarice Patrimonio are set to leave for Melbourne next week to compete in the Kia Amateur Australian Open tennis championships.

The pair will compete against players from around the world in one of the side events of the season’s first grand slam championship.

The 32-year-old Arcilla held his ground against a tough field, beating Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales in the final for his seventh singles title.

Patrimonio, 19, made the semifinals in the women’s singles won by 17-year-old Marian Jade Capadocia, who bested Fil-German Katharina Lehnert in the final.

Kia, which sponsored the PCA Open for the first time, dangled the Australian side event’s slots to players 18 years and older who do not compete in regular pro circuits.

“It’s good exposure for both Johnny and Clarice because the tournament invited only the top 16 pairs in the world,” said PCA Open chief of organizing committee Roland Kraut.

Kraut, who is also the Davis Cup nonplaying captain, said Arcilla and Patrimonio will form Team Philippines in the event. The pair will then join the other Filipino players seeing action in the Australian Open main event.

Treat Huey, the world’s No. 35 in doubles, is set to team up with Dominic Inglot again, while 16-year-old Jurence Mendoza will take his chance in the juniors singles qualifying along with the 13-year-old AJ Lim.

Davis Cupper Francis Casey Alcantara became the first Filipino to win an Australian Open title in 2009, when he partnered with Chinese Taipei’s Hsieh Cheng-peng to bag the boys’ doubles top prize in 2009. Jeson Patrombon reached the quarterfinals of the boys’ singles the following year.

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