Eric Jed Olivarez pounded out a key break in the early going then pulled off another late in the second set as he hacked out a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Fritz Verdad to secure the MITF Open Tennis Championship crown at the Metropolis courts in Iloilo City last Monday.
The 25-year-old product of Western Michigan University fashioned out those breaks in shutout fashions and never gave Verdad a chance to counter, gallantly holding his ground while at serve to spike his remarkable campaign in the Group A tournament that netted him P60,000.
He earlier routed Elemar Sealza, 6-1, 6-0, trounced Bryan Saarenas, 6-3, 6-1, before surviving Andre Alcantara, 7-6(2), 2-6, 6-2. The second-ranked Olivarez then turned back No. 6 Nilo Ledama, 6-2, 6-4, before facing off with Verdad.
He quickly stamped his class in the finals, breaking Verdad in the fourth game before holding sway. But Verdad came into the next frame determined to extend the match, trading serves in the first six games.
But Olivarez rattled off four straight points to break Verdad in the seventh, held serve in the next before they traded shutout wins in the next two, leading to the former’s victory that came after he ruled the Rep. Edward Hagedorn Open in Palawan last August.
Olivarez later teamed up with Josshua Kinaadman as they rallied past Vicente Anasta and Damian, 6-7(3), 6-2, 10-5, to snare the men’s double crown and complete a sweep of the premier titles staked in the first Open championship hosted by Iloilo.
Olivarez and Kinaadman earlier routed Jose Maria Pague and Saarenas, 6-3, 6-1, while Anasta and Damian foiled the Filipino-American pair of Andre Alcantara and Xavier Calvelo, 7-5, 6-4.
Sharing the spotlight in the week-long event were Hannah Divinagracia and Joana Tan, who downed Alexa Milliam and Elizabeth Abarquez, 8-3, for the women’s doubles Open trophy; Damian and Milliam, who beat Eric Tangub and Hannah Divinagracia, 8-4, for the mixed doubles title; Glenda Ong and Michelle Panis, who nipped Tan and Espie Divinagracia, 8-7(7) for the women’s 30s crown.
Eduardo Rodriguez Jr, and Guendell Orcullo, who won the 40s crown via a 4-4(ret.) win over Japhet Bartolome and Juvia Divinagracia; Danny Sajonia and Jonito Crisosto, who routed Tony Siega and Vicente Ducado, 8-3, for the 50s diadem; and Josephus Cerna and Justo Cerna, who took the 60s tiara with an 8-5 victory over Nene Sagansay and Rex Saison.
In the juniors’ category, Kendrick Bona ripped Ian Ituriaga, 6-0, 6-0, while Hannah Divinagracia smothered Louraine Jallorina, 6-1, 6-2, for the boys’ and girls’ 18-and-under titles, respectively.