MANILA—Francesco Vilardo and Samuel Vincent Ruggeri of Italy overcame Francis Casey Alcantara of the Philippines and Kelsey Stevenson of Canada, 2-6, 7-5, 10-3, to notch the doubles championship at the M15 Sharm ElSheikh tournament in Egypt on Saturday.
Alcantara and Stevenson, the No. 2 seeds of the Egypt Futures hard outdoor tilt, fell to the Italian top seeds in 1 hour and 26 minutes at Court 3 of Soho Square.
At 1-1 in the opening set, Alcantara and Stevenson rushed to edge out their opponents by earning 2 break points in the 3rd game.
A double fault from the Italians gave the Filipino and Canadian a 2-1 lead, which was extended further to 5-1.
Vilardo and Vincent Ruggeri fought back in the 7th game, saving 3 set points to trail at 5-2.
In the 8th game, Alcantara and Stevenson gained 3 set points again, courtesy of an ace. They wrapped up the opening set on their 1st set point, 6-2.
The Italian tandem wasted no time by holding a love service game to start the 2nd set, then securing 3 break points in the 4th game after Alcantara and Stevenson served a double fault.
The Filipino-Canadian team saved 2 break points, but the Italians capitalized on the 3rd break opportunity to break away at 3-1.
Alcantara and Stevenson responded by gaining 3 break points in the next game and reducing the deficit to 3-2.
They evened things out at 3-3 with an ace sealing the 6th game and aimed to take the lead by earning 4 break points in the following game, which Vilardo and Vincent Ruggeri saved to advance to 4-3.
Alcantara and Stevenson made a crucial save of a break point in the 8th game to level at 4-4.
At 5-5, Vilardo and Vincent Ruggeri held a love service game and broke serve to clinch the 2nd set, 7-5, and force a decider.
The 10-point match tiebreak was neck-and-neck until the 7th game, where the Italians gained a mini break to lead at 4-3.
They won the next 6 points to cruise to victory, closing the match, 10-3, with an ace.
Vilardo and Vincent Ruggeri reached the final by defeating Russians Kirill Mishkin and Vitali Shvets, 6-1, 6-1, while Alcantara and Stevenson ousted Chinese Taipei wildcards Wei-De Lin and Bang Shuo Yin, 7-6(4), 6-2.
The Filipino-Canadian tandem began their M15 Sharm ElSheikh campaign with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Marco Miceli and Roberto Miceli of Italy, then posted a 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over Cesar Bourgois of France and Loic Cloes of Belgium.
Alcantara, 30, is the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Doubles No. 655 with a career high of No. 257 in 2018.
The Cagayan de Oro native and Pepperdine University tennis scholar alum is the first Filipino grand slam champion after claiming the Australian Open junior boys’ doubles crown with Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei in 2009
In 2019, he won the Southeast Asian Games men’s doubles gold medal alongside Jeson Patrombon.