MANILA, Philippines - Top seed Ronel Estanislao and Paul Vivas recovered from a second-set setback then asserted their might in the decider to carve out a 21-15, 16-21, 21-11 decision over fellow national team mainstays Joper Escueta and Ariel Magnaye to roll into the semifinal round of the Open men’s doubles of the FDG Cup Open and Invitational Badminton Championships at Powersmash in Makati late Friday.
The victory came after Estanislao and Vivas outlasted the Toby Gadi-I Komang Wijaya duo, 21-17, 24-22, in the Last 16 to set up a quarterfinal clash with the Escueta-Magnaye tandem, which routed Winston Aquilo and Tums Gabuelo, 21-9, 21-10, in their side of the duel in the centerpiece event offering a record purse of P200,000.
Andrei Babad and Paul Pantig likewise went through a cliffhanger to fend off Kevin Dalisay and Christopher Flores, 21-19, 25-27, 21-16, and arrange a Final Four clash with Estanislao and Vivas in the top-level event held in honor of Robinsons Land Corp. president Frederick Go.
Meanwhile, Go teamed up with world No. 5 men’s singles player Simon Santoso of Indonesia in an exhibition match with the world No. 4 mixed doubles tandem of Tontowi Ahmed and Liliyana Natsir yesterday.
Santoso, third in this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix Gold, later partnered with local ace Kennevic Asuncion against the Ahmed-Natsir tandem, the All England Badminton Open mixed doubles title-holders and winners of this year’s Indonesian Open Grand Prix, in highlight matches of the two-day tournament that featured the cream of the country’s crop and rising stars.
The Ateneo-RLC pair of Patrick Natividad and Indon Perdian Fascal Rusman, on the other hand, flashed top form to oust second seed Ariel delos Santos and Gabriel Villanueva, 21-5, 21-12, and seal a semis duel with national team members Carlos Cayanan and Gerald Sibayan, who held off Vinci Manuel and Alvin Morada, 22-20, 22-20, in the lower half of the draw.