FOLLOWING the success of the Francis Casey Alcantara-Johnny Arcilla tandem, tennis patron Jean Henri Lhuillier has vowed to host and sponsor more ITF tournaments in the country.
The president and CEO of Cebuana Lhuillier made the assurance following the success of the recent Manila ITF Men’s Futures 1 and 2 in which Alcantara and Arcilla emerged as champions in the doubles event.
“This is just fantastic. To see our Filipino players do well with Francis and Johnny even winning the doubles title is more than we could ever ask for,” said Lhuillier at the conclusion of the two-week event Sunday that saw top seed Spaniard Enrique Lopez-Perez bagging the mens’ singles title at the expense of Kento Takeuchi of Japan.
“Jeson (Patrombon) is also making a name for himself in the singles event. That is why I look forward to supporting more tournaments of this magnitude in our quest to help our Filipino players improve their skills and world rankings,” said Lhuillier.
The quick-fire tandem of Alcantara and Arcilla pulled a stunning upset against top seeds Katsuki Nagao and Hiromasa Oku of Japan, 6-2, 6-2, in the event supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI, and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
During the singles finals, Lopez-Perez overcame championship jitters in the opening set and poured everything in the second to turn back the third seeded Takeuchi, 7-6 (4), 6-4, for the title.
Hitting a spate of double faults in a match that took almost two hours to complete on a stormy day, Lopez-Perez finally settled down to get his bearings back for the win.
“I lost my confidence in the first set that resulted to a close game. But I just decided to play my game and run. He’s [Takeuchi] really good, he also likes to fight until the last point, but I think he likes hard court better than clay court,” said Lopez-Perez, who took home his second ITF title for the year after winning the first in Chandigarh, India last March.
It was payback time for the 24-year-old Spaniard, who was ousted by Takeuchi in the semifinals of the Manila ITF Men’s Futures 1 two weekends ago via another grueling match, 6-2, 1-6, 4-6.
Aside from the winning the crown, Lopez-Perez also bagged $2,160, while Takeuchi settled for the runner-up purse of $1,272 in the tournament sponsored by Whilpool/Fujidenzo, Broadway Motor Sales Corp. Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, Tyrecorp Incorporated, Pearl Garden Hotel, Metro Global Holdings Corporation, Avida, PVL Restaurant, Mary Grace Foods, Inc., Seno Hardware, and Wire Rope Corporation.