ALBERTO Lim Jr. battled back from a set down to frustrate Russian Alexander Yarkov, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, on Tuesday to kick off hisbid for a second straight championship in the Phinma International Juniors Tennis Championships at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
Coming off a sensational triumph in Week One of the ranking tournament, capped by a 6-3, 6-3 romp over Yusuke Takahashi of Japan in the final, the unseeded Lim struggled in the early going but found his rhythm in time to turn back the taller, power-hitting Yarkov.
"I was a little impatient in the first set so I made some adjustments and tried to change some of my approaches, which worked," said Lim, the youngest participant in the event at 13.
The Letran mainstay, who is expected to improve his 873rd ranking in the world by the ITF, next faces sixth seed Congsup Congcar of Thailand, a 6-3, 6-0 winner over Victor Gurevich of the US.
While Lim advanced, Marian Capadocia, winner of last week’s girls title, fell by the wayside early, bowing to unheralded Nozomi Ohya of Japan, 3-6, 3-6, in the event backed by Technifibre (official ball), Viva (official mineral water) and Powerade (official energy drink) and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
The other Filipino ace, Jurence Mendoza, was supposed to play in Week Two as the tournament top seed but begged off at the last minute due to a pulled muscle in his left leg and a sudden decision to take an entrance exam in the US where he hopes to obtain an athletic scholarship.
Third pick Maika Jae Tanpoco and unseeded Katrina Orteza downed their respective rivals to carry the fight for the local bets and make up for the loss Capadocia.
Tanpoco was leading Thailand's Anais Nussaume, 6-2, 1-2 when the latter retired while Orteza pulled the rug from uner Japan's Miyo Kobayashi, 6-3, 6-0.
Tanpoco will meet India's Pranjala Yadlapalli, who turned back Russia's Flyora Shiyanova, 7-6 (2), 6-3, while Orteza takes a crack at top seed Chang Ya-ting of Chinese Taipei, who beat Russia's Anna Grigoryan, 6-1, 6-3.
Other Filipina bets who dropped their opening-round matches were Maia Bernadette Balce, Maria Angela Sunga and Rachelle de Guzman.
Balce bowed to Great Britain's Grabriella Patricia Taylor, 1-6, 0-6; Sunga was eliminated by No. 4 Plobrung Plipuech, 3-6, 0-6; and de Guzman absorbed a 4-6, 4-6 setback to Thai Wanvisa Thurakitseree.