Alexa Milliam used her grit and smarts to outduel Tennielle Madis, 6-3, 6-3, and crown herself as the first Rina Cañiza Women’s Tennis Open champion at the PCA outdoor courts in Paco, Manila yesterday.
Bracing for a tough challenge against an unranked rival who barreled her way to the final with a couple of big wins in the lower half of the 64-player draw, the top seeded Milliam pulled through in a break-break game in the opening set by holding serve thrice then survived a back-and-forth battle of breaks in the next to clinch the victory.
The La Carlota ace, who trounced Shaira Rivera, 6-1, 6-2, in the semis, broke back in the seventh game to seize a 4-3 lead, held serve in the next before holding the 15-year-old rising star from Mlang, Cotabato to just one point in the ninth game for the decisive break and the victory worth P50,000.
Despite falling short of her title drive, Madis, who disposed of Nichole dela Rita, 6-2, 6-2, in the Last 4 phase of the event, received P25,000 and earned the respect of the field for her stellar play all throughout the Group A tournament.
Sharing the podium finish were Allyssa Bornia and Rivera, who came away with a 6-0, 6-4 triumph over Hannah Divinagracia and Joana Tan to nail the doubles crown in the weeklong event which also staked ranking points from the UTR (Universal Tennis Ranking) and UTP (United Tennis Philippines).
After shutting down the Divinagracia-Tan pair in the first set, Bornia and Rivera took four the first five games in the next, marked by an exchange of breaks, then held sway in the next five games, including a break back in the 10th.
Bornia and Rivera also pocketed P50,000.