A pair of young Fil-Am players from Las Vegas pulled off back-to-back three-set escapes, including a 2-6, 6-2, 10-6 reversal over recent Olivarez Cup champions Fritz Verdad and Rolly Saga to gain in the MITF National Open Tennis Championships men’s doubles at the Metropolis courts in Iloilo City yesterday.
Andre Alcantara and Xavier Calvejo recovered from a first-set stumble with a big romp in the next then flashed superb form while playing on a shell court for the first time. They wore down Verdad and Saga in a fierce duel in the decider to nail the first semifinals berth.
“We want to thank PPS (Palawan Pawnshop) for inviting us. It was a really great experience for me and my partner, Xavier Calvelo,” said Alcantara, 16, who has an ITF ranking of No. 500 in the US Ranking Sectional No. 2.
“We were able to play with some really good players and it was the first time we got to play on shell courts. I learned a lot from Eric Jed (Olivarez) about how to change the pace of the game,” said Alcantara.
Calvejo, 17, has an ITF ranking of No. 300 in the US Ranking Sectional #1.
While Alcantara’s parents hail from Bicol and Quezon City, Calvejo traces his roots from La Union and Pangasinan. The duo earlier upended the No. 4 pair of Nilo Ledama and Justin Suarez, 4-6, 6-1, 10-5.
Both also dream of representing our country in big-time competitions, including the Davis Cup and the Asian Games.
They will next face the winners in the Vicente Anasta-Noel Damian vs Alexis Acabo-Eric Tangub duel being played at presstime.
The other semis pairing in the tournament, held as part of the Palawan Pawnshop program initiated by president/CEO Bobby Castro, pits top seed Josshua Kinaadman and Eric Olivarez against Jude Ceniza and Noel Salupado, and Jose Maria Pague and Bryan Saarenas against Miguel Iglupas and Joewyn Pascua.
No. 1 Kendrick Bona and Hanna Divinagracia, on the other hand, shared top honors in the 18-and-under juniors Group I category of the event at the La Paz courts. Bona routed Ian Ituriaga, 6-0, 6-0, while Divinagracia dominated Louraine Jallorina, 6-1, 6-2.
Elemar Sealiza and Alexandra Onte held off Francis de Juan, 5-4(6), 5-3, and Aleeva Suace, 4-0, 4-1, to rule the consolation pool.
Meanwhile, action shifts back to the Big City for the Rep. Edwin Olivarez Cup on Dec. 1-10 at the Olivarez Sports Center in Parañaue featuring the Open, Legends and Juniors, while the Dagitab Festival will be held on Dec. 12-21 in the City of Naga, Cebu.