By Jean Malanum

TITLE SHOWDOWN. Unseeded Tennielle Madis (right) and top seed Alexa Joy Milliam will dispute the singles title in the Rina Cañiza Women’s Open Tennis Championships at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) outdoor courts in Paco, Manila on Friday (Feb. 11, 2023). (Contributed photo) 

MANILA – Unseeded Tennielle Madis stayed on track with her title bid after marching to the final round of the Rina Cañiza Women’s Open Tennis Championships to be held on Friday at the Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) outdoor courts in Paco, Manila.

Madis, who hails from M’lang, North Cotabato, pulled off a 6-2, 6-2 victory over No. 14 Nichole Dela Rita to arrange a championship duel with top seed Alexa Joy Milliam in the tournament co-sponsored by the Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala (PPS-PEPP).

“This is my first Open tournament. I hope to perform well in the final,” said the 15-year-old Madis, who was leading 7-6 (2), 4-0 when Rachel Patricia Velez, a gold medalist at the 2015 and 2017 Palarong Pambansa, retired due to leg cramps during their quarterfinal encounter.

Meanwhile, Milliam of La Carlota town in Negros Occidental province downed No. 16 Shaira Hope Rivera of Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental, 6-1, 6-2, to reach her first Open final.

“I am happy with the way I played today,” said the 17-year-old Milliam, who relied on her solid forehand to beat the SEA Games veteran, who incidentally is still recovering from a knee injury.

“This is my first Open final so I’m excited. I hope to perform well and win,” added Milliam, who lost in the opening round of her first Open tournament in 2018.

Last year, she reached the PCA Open semifinal but lost to national player Marian Capadocia, 2-6, 2-6. She also bagged four 18-Under titles.

Milliam and teammates Jenaila Rose Prulla and Alexandra Eala won the World Junior Tennis Championships Asia-Oceania Final Qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on April 13, 2019.

In the doubles, top seeds Rivera and Allyssa Mae Bornia defeated Dela Rita and Debbie Gom-Os, 6-2, 6-1, to forge a title showdown with Maria Divinagracia and Joanna Tao Yee Tan.

Divinagracia and Tan ousted second seeds Nina Angeline Alcala and Aileen Rogan, 7-5, 6-4, in the semifinal.

Cash prizes at stake are PHP50,000 (singles champion), PHP25,000 (runner-up), PHP10,000 (semifinalists) and PHP5,000 (quarterfinalists). The Top 16 will get PHP2,500 each while the qualifiers will receive PHP1,500.

The doubles champions will share the PHP50,000 top prize while the runners-up will split the PHP25,000 cash prize. The semifinalists and quarterfinalists will earn PHP10,000 and PHP5,000, respectively.

Meanwhile, the National Collegiate Tennis Championships will begin on Feb. 13. Players may contact tournament organizer Bobby Mangunay at 0915-404-6464. (PNA)