Cruz cops 2 titles, clinches WTA Future Stars berth



Monica Therese Cruz mastered Rafaella Villanueva twice to capture the 14- and 16-and-Under crowns in the fifth Olivarez Cup Age Group Tennis Championship at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat yesterday with the duo clinching berths in the WTA Future Stars tournament set in Singapore in October.

The top-seeded Cruz, on a home study program, dominated Villanueva, 6-1, 6-2, to complete her romp in the 14-U section where she dropped just five games en route to the championship. As No. 4 seed in the 16-U play, Cruz stunned top seed Khim Iglupas, 6-3, 6-2, in the quarters, trounced Chloe Saraza in the semis, 6-1, 6-0, before reasserting her might over Villanueva, 6-1, 6-1, to complete a double.

Cruz and Villanueva, playing out of La Salle-Zobel, also gained the right to represent the Philippines in the WTA Future Stars meet which will feature the region’s top age-groupers on Oct. 17-20 at the Kallang Tennis Center.

“With their form and determination, we’re confident Cruz and Villanueva will do good in Singapore,” said Philta president and Paranaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez.

“It is our desire, through this Olivarez Cup and the Palawan Pawnshop circuit, to identify and develop future world-class tennis players and Cruz and Villanueva will be out to prove that they belong to that group,” said Palawan Pawnshop COO and president of PPS-PEPS Bobby Castro.

Top seed Nio Tria took the boys’ 12-U title with a walkover win over No. 2 Aljon Talatayod while finishing second in the 14-U class ruled by No. 1 Marcus del Rosario, 6-4. 6-2, even as Bryan Decasa bagged the 16-U diadem with a 6-1, 6-3 romp over Justin Suarez.

Top seed Marcen Gonzales, meanwhile, foiled Decasa’s bid for a double as he hacked out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory to pocket the 18-and-U crown in the first of four events presented by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Padala and sanctioned by the Philippine Tennis Association with Technifibre as the official ball.

Second seed Coleen Sioson upended No. 1 Ma. Dominique Ong, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, to snatch the girls’ 18-U plum while No. 2 Alexandra Eala pulled off a similar upset win over top seed Miles Vitaliano, 6-4, 6-1, for the 12-U crown in the tournament held in honor of Dr. Pablo Olivarez, one of the founding fathers of Philippines tennis, on his 80th birthday.

Meanwhile, action in the men’s inter-college tournament fires off today (Friday) with National U-A taking on La Salle-B, UST-C clashing with San Sebastian, La Salle-A facing off Jose Rizal U and NU-B squaring off with Perpetual Help.

The Interclub tournament, on the other hand, will start tomorrow (Saturday) with La Consolacion battling Mandaluyong and Elorde colliding with Villamor.

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