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(C) Nino Alcantara


ATP: Alcantara, Sun finish runner-up in Zhangjiagang Challenger

Long-time Philippine national tennis team stalwart Francis Casey Alcantara and Fajing Sun of China struggled to find their rhythm as they fell to Matthew Romios of Australia and Ray Ho of Chinese Taipei, 3-6, 4-6, in the finals of the $80,000 ATP Zhangjiagang International Challenger held on Saturday, September 2.

This marks the second appearance in the ATP Challenger finals for Alcantara and Sun as a pair. They also finished as runners-up last July in the ATP Challenger Open Castilly y Leon in Spain, where they lost a heartbreaking three-set match to former world number two Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Dan Added of France, 6-4, 3-6, 10-12.

Alcantara and Sun fell behind with an early break in the first set against their Australian and Taiwanese opponents, finding themselves at a 1-4 deficit they couldn’t overcome, ultimately losing the opener after just nine games.

The second set followed a similar pattern to the first. A single service break was enough to decide the outcome, with Romios and Ho once again taking the lead from the beginning and maintaining their serve to secure the straight-set victory.

This marks the fifth runner-up finish in the ATP Challenger Tour for Alcantara, who is enjoying arguably the best year of his professional career. Currently ranked 226th in the world, Alcantara reached a career-high ranking of 224th in the world last August following a series of impressive performances in ATP Challenger events in Europe. He also won two titles on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tour and secured the gold medal in men’s doubles at the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games earlier this year.

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Alcantara will resume his campaign in China when he competes in the ATP Road to the Rolex Shanghai Masters Challenger event starting on September 4.

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