Filipino net pair advances to Florida quarterfinals
Though it obviously wasn’t in the terms they liked, Filipino tennis stars Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales scored a breakthrough in their fledgling pro partnership after moving to the quarterfinals of the ITF Futures $25,000 tournament with a walkover win on Tuesday in Naples, Florida.
American foes Justin Butsch and Alexander Rybakov both tested positive for coronavirus and weren’t allowed to play, handing the Filipinos the win.
With the development, the Filipinos said they are not sure on whether organizers will push through with the tournament or cancel it for safety purposes.
“We still don’t know,” said Alcantara, 29. “If you test positive you are not allowed on the courts [so chances of spreading the virus is minimized]. We get tested every three days.”
Tournament schedules, though, still listed Alcantara and Gonzales going up against Peruvian third seeds Conner Huertas del Pino and Alexander Merino on Thursday.
The Filipinos debuted as partners in the pros last week, but crashed out in the first round of the ASC-BMW $25,000, also in Florida.
They are hoping to build this partnership into a regular touring alliance in the professional tennis circuit.
“We got high hopes because we have played together as partners several times and the results were good,” said Alcantara.
Together they scored the Philippines’ only win over Greece in last year’s Davis Cup tie held in Manila.
Alcantara won gold in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games partnering with Jeson Patrombon. There they beat Gonzales and Treat Huey in an all-Filipino final.
Gonzales won two SEA Games silvers in doubles, in tandem with Alcantara in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur and with Patrombon in 2015 in Singapore.