MANILA – Francis Casey Alcantara has fulfilled his goal of breaking into the top 300 with his current Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) doubles ranking of No. 292.
"I am super happy that I achieved my goal this year," said the 30-year-old player from Cagayan de Oro City in an interview on Wednesday. He has joined 16 tournaments this year.
The new ranking has given Alcantara a career boost as he prepares for five more tournaments -- two in Indonesia and three in Japan -- before the year ends.
"Hopefully, I can perform well in these tournaments," said Alcantara, who reached a career-best ranking of No. 257 in 2018.
Alcantara captured his third doubles title two weeks ago, teaming up with Pruchya Isaro of Thailand in the first leg of the Hai Dang Cup in Tay Ninh City, Vietnam.
But his campaign in the second leg was unsuccessful as he and partner Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam lost in the quarterfinal round to Tomohiro Masabayashi of Japan and Chak Lam Coleman of Hong Kong, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 4-10.
The Filipino-Vietnamese tandem clinched the Hai Dang Cup Week 2 title in June. Alcantara picked up his second title with Colin Sinclair of Northern Mariana Island at the ITF World Tennis Tour event in Cairo, Egypt in May.
Last month, Alcantara and Christopher Rungkat finished as runners-up in two USD50,000 events of the ATP Tour Challenger in Nonthaburi City, Thailand.
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 USD10,000 event 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 world No. 185 Rungkat played with Filipino-American Treat Huey at the 2022 Australian Open where they reached the round of 32. The Indonesian paired up with Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales in Italy and the Czech Republic also this year.
The 5-foot-9 Rungkat, who is now based in the United States, captured the SEA 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).
Meanwhile, Alcantara is expected to lead the Philippine tennis team in the Cambodia SEA Games and Hangzhou Asian Games next year. In the 2019 Manila SEA Games, he and Jeson Patrombon won the doubles title.
Alcantara became a member of the Davis Cup team in 2005. He 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)