Former top junior prospect Jeson Patrombon was in vintage form on Sunday, starring in the country’s twin victories at the start of the 18th Asian Games tennis championships at the Jakabaring Sports City courts in Palembang, Indonesia.
Under a sweltering sun, Patrombon opened the country’s campaign in the men’s singles with a 6-1, 6-0 rout of Timor Leste’s Nazario Fernandez Gusmao, then teamed up with Francis Alcantara in the afternoon in dispatching Qatar’s Jabar Al Mutawa and Mubarak Zayid, 6-4, 6-2, in doubles play.
But the first-time partnership of AJ Lim and Marian Jade Capadocia suffered a stinging 4-6, 4-6 loss to the seventh-seeded Indian tandem of Khamran Kaur Thandi and Divij Sharan in the mixed doubles.
Patrombon will be up against Chinese 12-seed Wu Yibing, who drew a bye, in the next round, while he and Alcantara will face the fourth-seeded Chinese-Taipei squad of Chien Ti and Peng Shin-Yin, who likewise drew a bye, in the succeeding round.
“Masaya po ako dahil nakapagbigay kumpiyansa itong singles panalo sa akin. Kilala ko yong makakalaban kong Chinese. Magaling siya,” said Patrombon, referring to Wu, who is currently the world’s number 1 junior and 2017 US Open junior champion.
Once ranked a high number-seven in the world junior ratings, the 26-year-old Patrombon vowed, “Basta lalaban ako.”
On the other hand, Lim and Capadocia were broken in the fifth games of the first and second sets, paving the way for the Indians to fashion out the close decision.
“Babawi na lang po ako sa singles,” said the University of the East tennis standout after the tough match that lasted nearly 90 minutes.
“For a first-time partnership, AJ and Jade pretty well,” noted head coach Chris Cuarto, “but they were up a veteran tandem who knew how to play the bigger points.”