Patrimonio settles for silver in tennis

KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippines collected its second silver medal in tennis on Saturday following the loss of Anna Clarice Patrimonio in the rain-delayed women’s singles final of the 29th Southeast Asian Games here.

The 23-year-old Patrimonio tried her best but her effort fell short against Thailand’s No. 1 player Luksika Kumkhum, 0-6, 1-6, in their 40-minute encounter at the National Tennis Centre on Jalan Duta.

“I was nervous because I was playing against the tournament top seed,” said the 5-foot-9 Patrimonio, a member of four-time UAAP champion National University.

On her way to the final round, Patrimonio defeated fourth seed Cambodian Andrea Ka, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in the semifinal; Indonesian Beatrice Gumulya, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinal; and Singaporean Charmaine Seah Shi Yi, 6-0, 4-6, 6-4, in the first round.

Kumkhum, who is the world’s No. 180 singles player, was expected to win the gold medal. She was a member of the women’s team that won the gold in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games.

“I am happy to win,” said Kumkhum, who won the women’s doubles gold with Noppawan Lertchiwakaran on Friday.

When asked to comment on Patrimonio, Kumkhum said, “She is a good player”.

Kumkhum, who has 11 singles and 8 doubles titles from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s Circuit, is a member of the Federation Cup team since 2013.

Her career-best ranking was No. 85 (singles) and No. 139 (doubles) two years ago.

Before the SEA Games, the native of Chantraburi province in eastern Thailand also played in nine tournaments in the Women’s Circuit, reaching the final of the USD25,000 Incheon event in South Korea, where she lost to Korean Han Wa-Lae, 6-7 (2), 5-7.

The Philippine tennis team won its first silver from the men’s doubles pair of Francis Casey Alcantara and US-born Filipino Ruben Gonzales, who lost to many-time champion Sonchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana of Thailand, 4-6, 6-2 (7-10) in the final on Friday.

The Filipino netters also had two bronze medals coming from Filipino-Americans Ruben Gonzales and Denise Dy in the mixed doubles, and Filipino-German Katharina Lehnert and Dy in the women’s doubles on Thursday.

In the 2015 SEA Games, the Philippines won one gold, three silvers and four bronzes.

Dy and Filipino-American Treat Huey won the mixed doubles gold while the three silvers came from the women’s doubles (Dy and Lehnert), Gonzales and Jeson Patrombon (men’s doubles) and the women’s team (Dy, Lehnert, Patrimonio and Khim Iglupas).

The bronze medalists were Lehnert (women’s singles), Patrombon (men’s singles), Alcantara and Huey (men’s doubles) and the men’s team (Huey, Alcantara, Gonzales and Patrombon).