MANILA – Filipino tennis player Francis Casey Alcantara stayed on course to breaking into the world's Top 300 doubles rankings after winning his third title this year.
Alcantara and partner Pruchya Isaro of Thailand defeated Yu Hsiou Hsu of Chinese Taipei and Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul of Thailand in the final of the US$25,000 Hai Dang Cup 2-6, 6-2, 10-3 in Tay Ninh City over the weekend.
"I'm happy to win again here in Vietnam. I achieved my goal this year already, I’m back to Top 300 with a few more tournaments left for this year," said Alcantara in an online interview on Tuesday.
"I have one more tournament here and hopefully, I can keep my winning form," he added.
The 30-year-old netter from Cagayan de Oro City is currently No. 319 based on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings. He reached a career-best No. 257 in December 2018.
Alcantara was No. 329 after two runner-up finishes at the Bangkok Open ATP Challenger Tour in Nonthaburi City last month.
He teamed up with Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia in the two events, both offering a total cash prize of US$50,000. They lost to No. 3 seeds Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe and Yuta Shimizu of Japan, 1-6, 3-6, in the first tournament.
In the next one, they fell to Chung Yunseong of South Korea and Ajeet Rai of Australia, 1-6, 6-7 (6).
Alcantara first played with Rungkat at the 2016 ITF Futures 2, a US$10,000 event held in Hong Kong. They reached the semifinal round but succumbed to Markus Kerner of Estonia and Mikelis Libletis of Latvia, 3-6, 6-1, 7-10.
The 32-year-old Indonesian is currently world No. 219. He has joined 10 tournaments this year, including the Australian Open where he and Fil-Am Treat Huey reached the round-of-32. He paired up with Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales in Italy and the Czech Republic.
The 5-foot-9 Rungkat, who is now based in the United States, captured the Southeast Asian Games men's singles title twice (2011, 2017). He also bagged the mixed doubles gold medal in the SEA Games (2021, 2019) and Asian Games (2018).
Alcantara's first title this year was in June. He and Vietnam's No. 1 player and SEAG singles gold medalist Nam Hoang ruled the Hai Dang Cup Week 2 event, beating Ji Hoon Son and Ulsung Park of South Korea, 6-3, 6-1, in the final.
In May, Alcantara secured the doubles plum with Colin Sinclair of Northern Mariana Island at the ITF World Tennis Tour event in Cairo, Egypt.
Alcantara claimed the 2019 SEA Games doubles title with Jeson Patrombon. He became a member of the Philippine Davis Cup team in 2005.
Alcantara is the first Filipino junior Grand Slam champion, achieving the feat when he won the Australian Open doubles title with Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in 2009, the same year he reached his highest ranking of world No. 14. (PNA)