Former junior champion Francis Casey Alcantara turned back Liang Wen-Chun of Taiwan, 7-6 (1), 6-1, to reach the quarterfinals of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier ITF Men’s Futures 2 on Thursday at the PCA clay courts in Paco, Manila.
Alcantara admitted he was complacent going into the match. “I was a bit relax in the first set. Good thing, I was able to recover,” said the 23-year-old standout, which served six aces in the match that lasted for an hour and 23 minutes.
Alcantara ousted fifth seed Vinayak Sharma Kaza of India, 6-2, 7-6 (3), on the opening day of the tournament supported by Cebuana Lhuillier, Puma, Dunlop, The Philippine Star, Head, Babolat, Compass/IMOSTI and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao.
Alcantara, a Cagayan de Oro native, now had the difficult task of disposing off top seed Enrique Lopez-Perez of Spain, who gave eight-time PCA Open champion Johnny Arcilla the boot, 6-4, 6-3.
“I’ll just play my game. I got nothing to lose but I’m hoping for a close fight [against him],” added Alcantara.
Lopez-Perez, who reached his highest ATP singles ranking – 207— early this year, expressed his excitement for the upcoming match.
“I didn’t know any player from the Philippines but I was surprised that they know how to play the game well. They are fighters. They are more passionate, more heart. Playing with him [Alcantara] will surely be tough. I’ll just play my game, I am fast and have more experience,” said the 24-year-old Spaniard.
Meantime, Japanese netter Katsuki Nagao shocked second pick Harry Bouchier of Australia, 6-3, 6-2, while Manila ITF Men’s Futures 1 champion Makoto Ochi continued his impressive streak at the expense of fellow Japanese Kazuya Tamura, 6-7 (1), 7-6 (2), 6-1, in the event supported by Whirlpool/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 at Wire Rope Corporation.
“I’m very happy with the exposure that our players are getting from these ITF Futures tournaments. This will help them in representing the country in future international team competitions such as Davis Cup, SEA Games and Asian Games,” expressed Cebuana Lhuillier President and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier.
In men’s doubles, local bets Elbert Anasta and Patrick John Tierro jolted No. 2 Indian tandem opponents Kunal Anand and Vinayak Sharma Kaza, 6-4, 7-5, to advance into the quarterfinals.
Anasta and Tierro’s next match is a bittersweet affair as they face fellow Filipino bets Arcilla and Alcantara for a spot in the semis.
A total of $15,000 US dollars is up for grabs with the champ getting $2,160 while the runner-up takes home $1,272.