PJ Tierro, Fil-Am Santiago gun for berths in main draw of ATP Challenger Philippine Open
PJ Tierro sees action in the qualifiers beginning on Saturday. 

PATRICK John Tierro and Mico Santiago vie for spots in the main draw on Saturday in the ATP Challenger Philippine Open qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

Tierro, a former PCA champion, and Santiago, a Fil-American ranked No. 738 in the world, look to join Ruben Gonzales, Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon, and teenage sensation AJ Lim in the main draw of the US$75,000 ATP Challenger tournament slated on January 18-24.

Gonzales, Alcantara, Patrombon, and Lim earned wild card berths in the biggest tennis tournament hosted by the country in years after attracting some of the top 200 players in the world.

Matches begin at 11 a.m. in the tournament organized by Sports Events Entertainment Management Inc., and also sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Tennis Association, Cebuana Lhuillier, Dunlop, and Chris Sports.

Meanwhile, Patrombon can't hide his excitement over the tournament he considers a big boost to Filipino netters as he plunged straight into practice immediately after a three-week training in Chinese Taipei. 

“This is a very tough tournament where even the top 200 in the world need to make qualifying. My mindset here is to win one match at a time and see how it goes,” said the Ilagan native.

“This is the type of tournament that catapults players to big-time tennis, so we have reason to hope for the best,” said Philta vice president Randy Villanueva.

The tournament will be aired on TV5.

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