Alcantara last Filipino standing in ITF Futures 2
The touted foreign juggernaut left local hopes in tatters again Thursday on the shell-clay surface most favored by Filipino aces.
Francis Casey Alcantara showed he had something more to give, but the veteran Johnny Arcilla and Jeson Patrombon got the door.
Showcasing his gritty, crowd-pleasing style, Alcantara outlasted Chinese Taipei’s Lian Wen-chu, 7-6 (7-1), 6-1, and barged into the quarterfinals of the 34th Philippine Columbian Association (PCA) Open-Cebuana Lhuillier ITF Men’s Futures 2 at the PCA courts in Paco.
But it wasn’t that easy for the last of the five Filipino entries in this $15,000 event.
Alcantara found himself in a 2-5 rut in the opening set and had to scramble to forge a tiebreak which he handily won.
“I think I relaxed too much because I knew I could beat him,” said the 23-year-old former Pepperdine University stalwart. “When he broke me, I said to myself I needed to focus better. I waited until he started making errors.”
But eight-time PCA Open champion Arcilla, with the slow, looping returns, ran out of tricks and lost a 6-4, 6-3 decision to Spanish top seed Enrique Lopez-Perez, who next faces Alcantara for a spot in the semifinals.
Patrombon bowed to a superior Kunal Anand of India, 6-4, 6-4, later in the day.
Alcantara, the 2009 Australian Open boys doubles champion, fired six aces in the match that lasted one hour and 23 minutes.
“I don’t feel any pressure because I have nothing to lose,” said Alcantara of his match today. “I will try to make it very close.”
Lopez-Perez said he has nothing but admiration for the Filipinos—the majority of whom are wild-card entries in the tough tournament.
“They are fighters, they are more passionate, more heart,” he said. “Playing him (Alcantara) will surely be tough.”