Francis Casey Alcantara wore down fellow Davis Cupper PJ Tierro with a superb all-around game and pulled off a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory to capture the men’s Open singles crown in the sixth Olivarez Cup Tennis Championships at the Olivarez Sports Center in Sucat, Parañaque City on Sunday.
Alcantara baffled Tierro with dazzling drop shots, came through with ferocious volleys and spiked his triumph over the top-seeded bet with a number of big serves, including one that netted him the pivotal win in a thriller of a tiebreaker in the third and another ace that ended the energy-sapping three-hour and 30-minute encounter.
“I’m so happy to win this one. I never really got to compete here the last few years but definitely this (victory) is a big boost to my career,” said the 23-year-old Alcantara, the only Filipino to win a Grand Slam event – the boys’ doubles crown, in partnership with Taiwanese Cheng Peng Hsieh, in the 2009 Australian Open.
It was an inspiring win for Alcantara, a wild card entry in the top-ranking event held in honor of former Paranaque City Mayor Pablo Olivarez and who eased past Rollie Anasta, 6-1, 6-3, and Kim Saraza, 3-1 (ret.) before trouncing No. 4 Anthony Alcoseba, 6-2, 6-2, in the Last 16.
Alcantara, who reached the semis in his only other stint in 2012 in this annual tournament presented by Palawan Pawnshop-Palawan Express Pera Padala through COO Bobby Castro and sanctioned by Philta, bundled out No. 5 Rolando Ruel Jr., 6-2, 6-0, to barge into the Final Four where he faced not only the second seeded bet but also the reigning three-time champion in Johnny Arcilla.
“My win over Arcilla in the semis was also a key. That really pumped me up,” said Alcantara, referring to his come-from-behind 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the many-time PCA Open titlist.
For his feat, Alcantara pocketed the top P50,000 and will take a brief rest in Cagayan de Oro and resume his campaign in the Futures Tour.