Tennis

Alcantara on track to become top PH tennis doubles player

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alcantara on track to become top PH tennis doubles player

ON A ROLL. Philippine tennis veteran Francis Casey Alcantara (right) in doubles action.

FRANCIS ALCANTARA INSTAGRAM PAGE

Tennis veteran Francis Casey Alcantara sustains his steady climb as the Cagayan de Oro native looks poised to claim the No. 1 spot in Philippine men’s doubles

MANILA, Philippines – Francis Casey Alcantara stayed on track to become the country’s new No. 1 in lawn tennis men’s doubles after getting off to a hot start in 2024.

Currently ranked 199th in the world, a new career-high, the Cagayan de Oro native jumpstarted the new pro season with a semifinal finish in the Bangkok Open 1, an $82,000 ATP Challenger held from January 1-6. He teamed up with Kaichi Uchida of Japan.

Alcantara has been on a roll since 2023 when he won five ITF doubles titles and reached the finals of the ATP Challenger tour twice. He also won a bronze medal in mixed doubles with Alex Eala in the Hangzhou Asian Games and bagged the men’s doubles gold medal with Ruben Gonzales in the SEA Games in Cambodia. 

Gonzales, ranked 168th in the world and the current Philippine No. 1 in doubles, has yet to begin his 2024 pro tour campaign.

As of Tuesday, January 9, Alcantara climbed to 182nd unofficially in the world rankings after scoring a win in the opening round of the ATP Challenger Bangkok Open 2. 

He is expected to ascend further up the world rankings after he and Sun Fajing  of China blasted Salvatore Caruso and Giovanni Fonio of Italy, 6-4, 6-3, in the Bangkok Open 2 semifinals held at the hard court of Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand in Nonthaburi on Friday, January 12.

It was Sun, currently 208th in the world, that Alcantara partnered with when he made the two ATP Challenger finals the previous year, and their chemistry has been evident when they rekindled their partnership this week in Nonthaburi. 

Alcantara and Sun have yet to drop a set the entire tournament. 

Caruso and Fonio were expected to provide a stiff challenge after they upset second seeds Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan of India in the quarterfinals. But the Italian duo were unable to snatch a set from the Filipino and Chinese tandem.

Alcantara will gun for his first ever ATP Challenger championship trophy when he and Sun go up against Manuel Guinard and Gregoire Jacq of France in the finals on Saturday. 

Guinard, 134th in the world, and the No. 139 Jaqc, scored an impressive straight-set victory over top seeds Luke Johnson of Great Britain and Skander Mansouri of Tunisia in Friday’s other semifinal encounter. – Rappler.com

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