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Alcantara, Canadian partner drop another ITF Finals heartbreaker

Southeast Asian Games men’s tennis doubles gold medalist Francis Casey Alcantara and Canadian partner Kelsey Stevenson settled for runner-up honors after dropping a three-set thriller in the final of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) M15 Egypt Men’s Future.

Alcantara and Stevenson staged a furious rally in the final set but fell short to the young Russian pair of Marat Sharipov and Petr Bar Biryukob in the championship match, 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 8-10, on Saturday, at the Soho Square in Sharm ElSheik, Egypt.

The Filipino and Canadian tandem held off every fightback of their rivals to prevail in the close and exciting first set which reached a tiebreak.

However, the 19-year-old Sharipov and 20-year-old Biryukob seized control of the match by going up a service break in the 2nd set and pulling away to win comfortably. The Russians sustained their momentum in the 3rd set as they raced to a seemingly insurmountable 7-2 advantage in the super tiebreak.

Alcantara and Stevenson, however, mounted an epic comeback to tie the count twice, 7-7 and 8-8, before their Russian rivals pocketed the next two points to clinch the match and the championship.

Displaying sharp form all week long, Alcantara and Stevenson opened the tournament by taking out 4th seeds Aleksandre Bakshi and Aleksandre Metreveli of Georgia in the first round, 3-6, 6-1, 10-7.

After earning a walkover victory in the quarterfinals, Alcantara and Stevenson made mincemeat of Italians Marco Brugnerotto and Lorenzo Rottoli, 6-0, 6-2, in the semifinals to earn a shot at Sharipov and Biryukov.

This is the second time this March that Alcantara and Stevenson made the finals of an ITF event. Last March 6, the two dropped a three-set finals heartbreaker in an ITF pro tour event also held in Egypt.

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