Mendoza, Nguyen head PH bid in Lancer tennis
MANILA, Philippines—Young internationalists Jurence Mendoza and Tamitha Nguyen will backstop the Filipinos’ bid when the 23rd Mitsubishi Lancer International Junior Tennis Championships fires off on March 20 at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
The 15-year-old Mendoza stunned the local tennis scene last year when he barged into the finals of the tough PCA Open before bowing to veteran Davis Cupper Johnny Arcilla.
Nguyen, daughter of former national champion Edna Olivares, campaigns in the continental ITF junior circuit and already has several titles under her belt.
The entry of Mendoza and Nguyen in the world-class 18-and-under tournament bolsters the country’s bid for a first title since 1995, when Maricris Fernandez ruled the girls’ tournament.
“In my appreciation, I think we have a very good chance, especially Jurence,” said Philippine Tennis Association president Edwin Olivarez during the event’s formal launch yesterday at the PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue in Manila.
Olivares said Mendoza, who studies at the Olongapo National High School, reminds him of Jeson Patrombon.
The sensational Patrombon, now 19, reached the boys finals of the Mitsubishi tournament last year, but lost to Australian Andrew Whittington, 6-2, 6-3.
“He reminds me of Jason, they’re of the same size,” said Olivarez, who was joined by Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. vice president for marketing Froi-lan Dytianquin and advertising and PR manager Arlan Reyes in the session presented by Smart, Pagcor, and Shakey’s.
Among the favorites this time are world No. 15 Nikola Milojevic of Serbia and Stefan Vinti of Romania, and world No. 10 Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands, and Eliveta Kulichkova of Russia.
“It’s definitely a tough tournament,” said Dytianquin.
Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, Americans Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, and Leander Paes of India saw action in the tournament during their teens.
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