PH netters start Asian Games campaign in Palembang

PALEMBANG, Indonesia — Jeson Patrombon is expected to win his first match in the singles event against Nazario Fernandes Gusmao of Timor Leste at the start of the tennis competition at the Jakabaring Sports Complex on Sunday.

Patrombon is also scheduled to play in the opening round of the men’s doubles event where he will team up with Francis Casey Alcantara. The Filipino pair will be facing Jabor Almutawa and Mubarak Zayid of Qatar, who both played in Incheon (2014) and Guangzhou (2010).

Also seeing action are the mixed doubles pair of Alberto Lim Jr. and Marian Jade Capadocia against India’s Divji Sharan and Kamran Kaur Thadi.

Meanwhile, Lim Jr. will take on China’s Zhang Zhizhen while Capadocia will meet Japan’s Eri Hozum, the 2014 Asian Games bronze medalist, in their opening singles matches on Monday.

The other Filipino pair competing on Monday is Alcantara and Kathrina Melissa Lenhert against Thailand’s Sanchai Ratiwatana and Nicha Lertpitaksinchai in first round of the mixed doubles event.

Ratiwatana and Lertpitaksinchai bagged the mixed doubles gold medal in the 2017 SEA Games. Lertpitaksinchai also won the women’s doubles gold in the 2017 SEA Games and the mixed doubles gold in the 2017 Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

National coach Cris Cuarto has high hopes on the mixed doubles pair of Alcantara and Lenhert.

“I think we have a good chance at medal in the mixed doubles with the tandem of Alcantra and Lehnart,” Cuarto said, “although I would be happy if any of our players or teams reaches the semifinals.”

The Philippines has won two bronze medals courtesy of Filipino-American players Cecil Mamiit (singles event) and Eric Taino (men’s doubles) in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.

Japan has dominated tennis in the Asian Games, winning a total of 85 medals, including 27 golds. South Korea is the second-best performing country with 54 medals, including 16 golds.

The only time Japan missed the podium was in 1986 while South Korea failed to win a medal in 1958 and 1962.

Indonesia’s Yayuk Basuki and Filipino Desideria Ampon have both won nine medals while India’s Leander Paes is one of seven players to win eight medals.

The gold winners in the 2014 Incheon Games are Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka (men’s singles), China’s Wang Quiang (women’s singles), South Koreans Chung Hyeon and Lim Yong-kyu (men’s doubles), Thailand’s Luksika Kuhkhum and Tamarine Tanasugarn (women’s doubles) and India’s Saketh Myneni and Sania Mirza (mixed doubles).