NATIONAL team mainstay Malvinne Ann Alcala and Malaysian partner Yogendran Krisnan pulled off a stirring 21-16, 21-19 victory over the top-seeded pair of Toby Gadi and Gelita Castilo to reach the last-16 stage of the Open mixed doubles of the FDG Cup Open and Invitational Badminton Championships at Powersmash in Makati on Friday.
The 16-year-old Alcala, coming off a win in last week’s Swiss International Juniors 19-under division, and Krisnan overpowered the Ateneo pair in the opening frame, then hung tough in the second to complete the 25-minute victory and prime themselves up for the top P120,000 purse.
Alcala and Krisnan were chasing one of the quarterfinals berths at posting time against John Greg Paz and Jen Cayetano, who scored a walkover win over John Aguila and Ma. Kristine Gaspar in the upper half of the draw.
Bianca Carlos and Indonesian I Komang Wijaya also hacked out a tough 21-15, 23-21 victory over Alvin Morada and Marina Caculitan while Paul Vivas and Indon Lili Wang routed JC Clarito and Jovally Cabanero, 21-12, 21-9, to advance to the second round.
Meanwhile, Alcala and Wang teamed up in the Open women’s doubles to beat Mona Santoso and Jubie Vallarta, 21-13, 21-16, and set up a second-round duel with second seed Jen Cayetano and Kim Mayono, who drew a first-round bye in the event held in honor of Robinsons Land Corp. president Frederick D. Go.
Meanwhile, world No. 5 men’s singles player Simon Santoso of Indonesia and Frederick Go face off with the world No. 4 mixed doubles tandem of Tontowi Ahmed and Liliyana Natsir in one of the two exhibition matches set at 3 p.m. serving as the highlight of the two-day tournament.
Santoso, third in this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix Gold, will later team up with local ace Kennevic Asuncion against the Ahmed-Natsir tandem, the All England Badminton Open mixed doubles title-holders and winners of this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix.