“Happiest day of my life.”
That’s how Jenaila Rose Prulla described her sensational 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over seven-time champion Marian Jade Capadocia yesterday in crowning herself the queen of 39th PCA Open Tennis Championships queen at its Plaza Dilao, Paco indoor court.
There was no fear anymore in the 17-year-old San Jose del Monte, Bulacan lass as she disposed of the same person who smashed her into submission when they met three years ago.
But compared to the last time, Ms. Prulla is no longer a bewildered, frail 14-year-old as the three years that passed turned her into a taller, bigger and more experienced tennis killing machine that Ms. Capadocia could no longer handle.
“I’ve gotten taller by around two inches, I have more muscles now because I focused on fitness so I can have power. And most importantly, I’m no longer afraid like before,” said the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games quarterfinalist.
The 27-year-old Ms. Capadocia knew she’s facing a different Ms. Prulla but she didn’t expect she was this tougher and more dangerous.
Ms. Capadocia tough didn’t go down without a fight as she fought back from a 4-3 deficit and even came on the verge of snatching the second set and forcing a deciding one where she hopes to salvage another title — her eighth.
Ms. Prulla though didn’t let it happen and courageously battled back to force a tiebreaker where she rallied from a 3-1 deficit by stringing together six straight points in sealing the triumph.
It was in that stretch that Ms. Capadocia found herself in trouble with after falling due to a tightening right leg.
She was given a warning at first and then a point deduction next.
When she did get up, she was no longer the same person possessing that blistering two-handed groundstrokes that was her ticket to winning seven crowns here.
“I couldn’t explain the feeling, this is probably the happiest day of my life,” said Ms. Prulla,who engraved her name as one of the prestigious clubs’ great champions while pocketing P100,000 courtesy of Smart/PLDT, official ball Dunlop, Manila councilor Jong Isip, San Jose Salt, W. L. Food Products, Palawan Pawnshop and Pagcor. — Joey Villar