Jeson Patrombon delivered a virtuoso performance as the Philippines forced a 1-1 draw with top seed Thailand in opening singles matches of their Asia Oceania Zone Group II second-round tie at Philippine Columbian Association Saturday.
Nominated as the country’s No. 1 player, Patrombon broke the serve of Thailand No. 2 Jirat Navasirisomboon in the first game of their opening set on the way to scoring a 6-2, 6-2 win.
Using his familiarity of the surface to full advantage, the feisty Iligan City native threw the Thai off his comfort zone with a variety of shots that caught his rival flat-footed.
“Good start for us, Jeson was very patient. He never allowed Jirat a space to attack,” said the hosts' captain, Chris Cuarto. “He saw Jirat’s weakness, so binigay niya halos lahat ng bola sa backhand niya kaya nag-struggle 'yung Thai.”
“Weakness talaga niya yung backhand since nu'ng huli po kaming naglaban. Kaso noon po, nakuha niya 'yung game ko. Pero dito ako naman 'yung nagkakompiyansa. Hindi ko na siya binigyan ng chance,” said Patrombon, who fired 3 aces and 9 service winners.
But the spark ignited by Patrombon’s was doused by Thailand No. 1 Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, who used his vast experience to beat 19-year-old Joseph Brian Otico, 6-3, 6-4.
The opening-day results make Sunday’s doubles match important with Francis Casey Alcantara and Johnny Arcilla going up against twins Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana.
“Critical sa amin ito (Sunday), but we like our chances kasi sila gusto nila hard court, ako naman dito,” said Arcilla, considered the best shell-court player in the country.
The reverse singles are also scheduled in the afternoon with Patrombon taking on Wishaya. The second reverse match will be played 30 minutes after the fourth rubber.