Four Filipino netters got wild cards in the $75,000 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger beginning on January 18 at the Rizal Memorial Tennis Center in Vito Cruz, Manila.
Reigning Philippine Co¬lum¬bian Association (PCA) Open champion Alberto Lim Jr. will be the youngest participant in the tournament at 16 as he spearheads the country’s campaign against the world’s best netter.
Joining him in the main draw are former Australian Open junior doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara, former Australian Open juniors singles quarterfinalist Jeson Patrombon, and Davis Cup veteran Filipino-American Ruben Gonzales.
Filipino-American Mico Santiago and former PCA Open titlist Patrick John Tierrro, meanwhile, will be playing in the qualifying stage.
A number of high-ranking foreign players have confirmed participation in the six-day meet including
Russian Mikhail Youzhny, who reached the semifinals of the US Open twice (2006 and 2010), and quarterfinals of the Australian Open (2008), French Open (2010) and Wimbledon (2012).
Also seeing action are Illinois Challenger winner Somdev Devvarman of India, Italy Challenger champion Sijslong Igor of the Netherlands, former Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Chris¬topher Rungkat of Indonesia, Radu Albot of Moldova, Vanni Luca of Italy and Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.
Last year, the Philippines hosted two $15,000 ITF Futures at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig City for the first leg and at the historic PCA indoor clay courts in Manila for the second leg.