Tierro bows out to Singh in Olivares Cup semis

Manolo Pedralvez
Filipino netter Patrick Tierro battled back from losing the first set to his Indian foe but eventually fell in the third set of the Olivares Cup semifinals

OUT. Pinoy tennis player Patrick John Tierro bowed out in the semifinals of the Olivares Cup on Saturday. Photo by Tom Guevarra

MANILA, Phiippines –  What a big difference service breaks make.

Tell that to Patrick John Tierro, who gained a crucial one in the second set but blew a tide-shifting game-changer in the third, bowing out to Indian sixth seed Karunuday Singh 2-6, 6-4, 2-6 in the Olivares Cup men’s singles semifinals at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center on Saturday, March 29.

With the count tied at 2-all in the deciding set, Tierro lost steam after wasting a 15-40 advantage in the fifth game to the plucky Indian, who hung tough and battled to three deuces before finally holding serve.

Singh used the escape act as a springboard in cruising past the Filipino wild card entry the rest of the way to enter the finals of the $15,000 International Tennis Federation Futures event.

Ranked No. 8 once on the US collegiate circuit as a University of Georgia varsity player, the 23-year-old New Delhi native will face third-seeded Japanese Shuichi Sekiguchi, who upset Aussie No. 1 seed Benjamin Mitchell 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, in tomorrow’s finals.

Showing he still had plenty to spare, the Indian partnered in the afternoon with Slovak Ivo Klec in the men’s doubles finals to topple the top-seeded duo of Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales and Thai Sonchat Ratiwatana 6-4, 3-6 (10-8). 

“I felt mentally drained after losing that potential service break,” said Tierro glumly after the match. “This was the chance I had been waiting for but I lost my focus after that.”

Left unspoken was the fact that it was the third grueling consecutive three-set encounter played under scorching conditions since Wednesday for the Pinoy netter, who looked spent after being blown off the court in the first set.

But he regrouped in the second set as neither player gave any quarter in the first eight games, the score tied at 4-all with Singh serving in the ninth.

Tierro attacked the Indian’s creaky backhand, surging to a 15-40 edge before Singh double-faulted and got  broken, much to the delight of the hometown crowd, among them Philippine Tennis Association president Edwin Olivares.

The Indian threatened to break back in the 10th game in forcing deuce at 40-40, but the Filipino foiled him by scoring two straight points in wrapping up the set at 6-4.  

Tierro earned eight ITF ranking points plus $753 (P33,8850) as a semifinalist while getting a good workout for next week’s Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group 2 semifinals between the Philippines and Pakistan.

The best-of-5 tie is scheduled April 4 to 6 at the Philippine Columbian Association indoor clay court. – Rappler.com

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