Former junior star Alberto Lim, Jr. and veteran campaigner Fritz Verdad hacked out a pair of stirring semifinal reversals over third seed Vicente Anasta and No. 4 Eric Jed Olivarez, respectively, yesterday to forge a showdown for the Mayor Eric Olivarez Cup National Open Tennis crown in Sucat, Parañaque.
Lim, 24, overpowered Anasta, 6-1, 6-0, and moved a win away from ending a long major title spell while Verdad hacked out a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-2 decision over Olivarez in the lower half of the 64-player draw of the Group A tournament presented by Dunlop.
They dispute the crown and the top P50,000 purse plus trophy and UTP (Unified Tennis Philippines) and UTR (Universal Tennis) points at 10 a.m. today (Sunday) at the Olivarez Sports Center.
On their way to the finals, Lim eased past Miguel Castillo, 6-1, 6-1, stunned No. 6 Noel Damian, 6-1, 6-1, routed No. 11 Loucas Fernandez, 6-1, 6-0, and stopped Marco Macalintal, who scored a walkover win over top seed Johnny Arcilla, 6-1, 6-2, in the quarterfinals of the tournament hosted and sponsored by the Olivarez family, a long-time tennis backer.
Verdad, 29, trampled Laurenz Quitara, 6-2, 6-1, repelled No. 13 Eury Gaspar, 6-4, 7-5, and put one over second seed Jose Maria Pague, 6-1, 6-2, before battering No. 8 Jeleardo Amazona, 6-1, 6-0, to gain a crack at the championship in the event held under the PPS-PEPP program put up by Palawan Pawnshop president/CEO Bobby Castro.
Anasta held serve in the first game but Lim swept the next six with the latter proving more overpowering in the next which he claimed in shutout fashion.
In contrast, Verdad toughened up after yielding in the tiebreak in the first set, breaking Olivarez, the recent Hagedorn Open winner, in the third game of the second frame then winning the next three to seize control.
After trading serves twice in the deciding set, Verdad broke Olivarez in the fifth and seventh to complete his come-from-behind victory.
Meanwhile, John Benedict Aguilar surprised top seed Vince Serna, 6-2, 6-4, while Lexious Cruz turned back No. 3 Ivan Manila, 7-5, 1-6, 10-4, to advance to the boys’ 18-and-under finals, while Stefi Aludo clobbered Glydel Guevarra, 6-3, 6-0, to seal a title clash with No. 3 Joy Ansay, crushed second ranked Alecsa Ilano, 6-0, 6-2, in the girls’ division.