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MANILA, Philippines – Philippine national tennis team veteran Francis Casey Alcantara made sure to end his season on a high note.
In his last tournament for 2023, Alcantara joined forces with Indonesian star Christopher Rungkat to down Thijmen Loof of the Netherlands and Pruchya Isaro of Thailand, 6-4, 6-2, in the finals of the KL M15 ITF World Tennis Tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Saturday, December 2.
The championship encounter was a fitting matchup to wrap up the tournament as it featured the top-seeded Alcantara and Rungkat pitted against second seeds Loof and Isaro.
But Alcantara and Rungkat showed that the seedings did not give an accurate picture of how much better they are as the top-ranked duo, downing their foes in just 1 hour and 12 minutes at the National Tennis Centre in Jin Tuanka Abdul Halim.
The opening set remained tied until the eighth game at 4-4 before Alcantara and Rungkat won back-to-back games for a 1-0 set lead.
Loof and Isaro leveled the second set at 2-2, but Alcantara and Rungkat swept the next four games to win their second doubles championship in two weeks in Malaysia.
Alcantara and Rungkat emerged as champions the previous week in the ITF M15 Ipoh Perak, where they also prevailed in straight sets over Loof and another Thai player, Wishaya Trongcharoenchakul.
Currently No. 231 in the world, Alcantara is expected to move further up the world rankings and surpass his career-high of No. 223.
Aside from the pair of ITF titles he won in Malaysia, Alcantara won a men’s doubles gold with Ruben Gonzalez in the Southeast Asian Games in May and a mixed doubles bronze with Alex Eala in the Asian Games in September. – Rappler.com