Dalisay lone Filipino left in ATP tourney
On the day day his compatriots got the boot, 16-year-old Diego Garcia Dalisay stood tall for the Philippines.
The Filipino-Spaniard became the lone Filipino in the qualifying round when he bested countryman Fritz Verdad, 6-3, 6-2, Saturday to keep his hopes alive for a main draw slot in the ATP Challenger Philippine Open at Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Born and raised in Madrid to a Filipino mother from San Nicolas, Batangas, Dalisay handily defeated Verdad using his smarts and power under the newly roofed, re-surfaced and lighted RMTC center court.
“It feels great. Tomorrow I will be playing with No. 7 in the draw and maybe top 400 in the world, but I have nothing to lose and just enjoy and get experience,” said Dalisay, who trains under national mentor Roland Kraut.
He will go up against Croatian Nikola Mektic, a 27-year-old Tour veteran and No. 347 in the world who outlasted Italian Stefano Napolitano, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the $75,000 meet sponsored by Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Tennis Association, Cebuana Lhuillier, Dunlop and Chris Sports.
Given the chance, the 6-foot power baseliner Dalisay will like to play for the Philippines after obtaining Filipino citizenship recently.
Two other Filipinos, Patrick John Tierro and Leander Lazaro, fell to their respective foes and headed out in the meet organized by Sports Events Entertainment Management and aired by TV5.
The 30-year-old Tierro, veteran of many international meets, yielded to 28-year-old doubles expert Yi Chu-huan of Chinese Taipei, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Lazaro bowed to South African Ruan Roelofse, 6-1, 6-2.
Mico Santiago, an American with Filipino lineage, also bowed out, dropping a 6-4, 6-4 decision to Poland’s Grzegorz Panfil.
Also winning their opening matches were Indians Sundar Prashanth and Sanam Singh and Gerard Granollers of Spain.