Lim makes history, dethrones Tierro in PCA Open final
Philippine tennis is making a brand new start and on Sunday it crowned a brand new champion.
At 16 years old, Alberto Lim Jr. signaled a new era in local tennis when he bundled out all the hotshots one after another before knocking down the biggest of them all in defending champion Patrick John Tierro, 6-5, 7-6 (7-5), to become the youngest men’s singles champion ever in the Philippine Columbian-Cebuana Lhuillier Open.
Lim was dragged to a tiebreak in the second set after Tierro broke him in the 9th game but held his nerves under pressure to prevail in the match that last two hours.
He and Tierro are assured of wild card slots in the Manila ITF Futures 2 which is an entry-level professional meet in the circuit.
“I’m so relieved because the pressure was too much. I was facing the top player in the Philippines (Tierro) and was gunning to become the youngest champion,” said Lim who hails from Matatalaib, Tarlac.
Lim beat Manny Tolentino’s record as youngest champion in 1982, winning the 2015 crown at age of 16 years and four months, edging the latter by two months.
And more than that, he is threatening to turn another chapter in the sport.
In his way to winning the title, Lim outlasted another “generation-next” player in Francis Casey Alcantara (7-6 (7-6), 3-6, 6-3), in the quarterfinals before downing 8-time champion Johnny Arcilla (7-5, 4-6, 6-1) in the semifinals.
Lim, a champion twice over in two Grade 1 juniors this year, encountered a bump on the road, dropping a serve in the 10th game when he was serving for the match and had to pull it off through tiebreak.
“I gave it my all. I was too tired. But PJ really wanted it. I give credit to him,” said Lim who broke for 2-1 in second but dropped the serve for 5-5 that paved way for a tiebreak.
Letting out yells and turning around for massive forehands, Lim took command for 2-0 in tiebreak but saw Tierro tying it twice, the last at 5-5 when the youngster hit wide.
After a long exchange, Tierro hit a weak return that Lim charged for a thunderous smash for championship point. Fast-fading, Tierro once again hit at the net as Lim celebrated the victory with a howl.
Tierro and Lim both earned automatic tickets to the main draw of the upcoming 2015 Manila International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s Futures Leg 2 set on Oct. 12.
Lim pocketed the P50,000 top prize, while Clarice Patrimonio, who ruled the women’s singles event, won P20,000.