Philippine national tennis team mainstay Francis Casey Alcantara and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia continued to defend Southeast Asian turf in the Bangkok Open 2.
Alcantara and Rungkat defeated 2012 London Olympian Vishnu Vardhan and Anirudh Chandrasekar of India in three pulsating sets, 2-6, 6-4, 11-9, on Friday in the semifinals of the only ATP Challenger series held this year in the Southeast Asian region.
The Filipino and Indonesian tandem appeared in danger of missing out on a finals berth as they dropped serve twice and were dominated thoroughly by their Indian rivals in the first set.
The breakthrough for Alcantara and Rungkat came in the 5th game of the second set when they went up 3-2 after they broke the veteran Vishnu’s power serves. It would be the only time they would break serve in the entire match, but it proved enough for them to seize the opening and extend the match to a super tiebreak.
Alcantara and Rungkat carried over their momentum to the deciding set as they raced to a 5-2 lead. But Vardhan and Chandrasekar would not go away quietly as the Indian pair rallied back and overtook Alcantara and Rungkat who all of a sudden found themselves facing a 6-7 deficit.
Showing nerves of steel, Alcantara and Rungkat overcame a match point at 8-9 and scored the next three points to seal the victory and advance to the finals this weekend at the hard courts of Rama Gardens Hotel.
Alcantara and Rungkat will await the winner of the other doubles semifinal match pitting third seeds Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe and Yuta Shimizu of Japan versus Yunseong Chung of South Korea and Beibit Zhukayev of Kazakhstan