MANILA — Top seed Filipino Arthur Craig Pantino absorbed a shocking defeat to seventh seed Chinese Zicheng Zeng in the singles semifinal of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Becamex Cup at the Community Sport Center on Saturday.
The Cebuano netter fought hard throughout the match but he failed to overcome the equally-talented Zheng, who escaped with a 7-5, 6-3 win and marched to the final.
Zheng, who stunned third seed Taiwanese Yi Jui Lo, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinal round, will face fifth seed Vietnamese Phuong Van Nguyen.
Nguyen eliminated second seed Chinese Pengyu Lu, 7-6 (5), 6-4, in the quarterfinal and fourth seed Indian Siddharth Thankran, 6-2, 6-2, in the semifinal.
In the doubles category, the unranked pair of Pantino and Justin Suarez also failed to advance to the championship round after losing to top seeds Yi Juo Lo of Chinese Taipei and Pengyu Lu of China, 1-6, 3-6.
Lo and Lu will be up against fourth seeds Phuong Van Nguyen and Huynh Thinh of Vietnam, who rallied past Hong Kong’s Pak Hong Issac Chan and Tsz Yan Adrian Yao, 6-3, 4-6 [10-7] in the semifinal round.
Pantino, who is currently No. 266 in the world’s juniors rankings, reached the quarterfinal round of the another junior tournament in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
This year, Pantino has played in three tournaments in India, three in Thailand and one in China. Jean Malanum/PNA-northboundasia.com