AUSTRALIAN Open juniors doubles titlist Francis Casey Alcantara proved he was a force to reckon with as he pummeled his way to the second round of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier ITF Men’s Futures 2 after a 6-2, 7-6 (3) upset of fifth seed Vinayak Sharma Kaza of India Wednesday at the PCA clay courts in Paco, Manila.
In a match that took one hour and 16 minutes to complete, the 23-year-old Alcantara came out with guns blazing in the first set, only to be shaken a bit when Kaza fought his way back in the second set.
Fortunately the Cagayan de Oro native, who scored five aces, was able to gain his bearings back and convert Kaza’s misses to his advantage.
“Alam ko naman yung game niya. Nung na-break niya ako early in the second set, nawala yung focus ko. Kaya naging patient lang talaga ako sa pagbalik-balik until na mag-miss siya,” said Alcantara, who also made it into the second round of the ITF Men’s Futures 1 last week.
Alcantara will duel Liang Wen-Chun of Chinese-Taipei, who prevailed over Ren Nakamura of Japan, 6-2, 7-5.
Also advancing to the second round was eight-time PCA Open champion Johnny Arcilla after posting a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 come-from-behind win over Chen Tin of Chinese-Taipei.
Arcilla will be facing top seed Enrique Lopez-Perez of Spain, who defeated Lee Kuan-Yi of Chinese-Taipei, 6-2, 6-0, last Tuesday.
The twin kill was a big sigh of relief after Filipino bets Elbert Anasta and Bryan Otico suffered disappointing losses to their respective Japanese foes in the tournament supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
Anasta fell short against sixth seed Makoto Ochi, 7-6 (6), 6-2, while Otico couldn’t find a way to get past Soichiro Moritani, 6-2, 6-4.
Anasta and Otico bid adieu to their ITF campaigns along with Patrick John Tierro and Rolando Ruel, who also fell victims to their corresponding foes last Tuesday.
It was a double victory for Alcantara, who, along with Arcilla, managed to outclass Jeson Patrombon and Yu Cheng-Yu of Chinese-Taipei, 6-2, 6-2, to advance into the quarterfinals of the men’s doubles in the event supported 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.
“I’m happy that our players are gaining valuable experience here. Everyone needs to experience this stiff competition to know what areas of their game they need to improve. Jeson Patrombon looked good in his win and I hope he would go deep into the tournament,” said Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier.
“The Arcilla-Alcantara tandem is doing really well in doubles competition for the second straight week. This experience will serve them in good stead in our Davis Cup campaign next year.”
The explosive Alcantara-Arcilla tandem awaits the winners between Anasta and Tierro, Kaza and Kunal Anand of India.
A total of $15,000 US dollars is up for grabs in the meet, with the champ getting $2,160, while the runner-up taking home $1,272.