SEA Games: PH assured of gold, silver in men’s doubles tennis

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 20 2022 06:04 PM

Defending men’s doubles gold medalists Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon of the Philippines at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Tennis Federation.
Defending men’s doubles gold medalists Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon of the Philippines at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Tennis Federation.

Similar to 2019, Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon will face Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales in an all-Filipino final at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games tennis men’s doubles competition in Vietnam.

At the 2019 Manila SEA Games, Alcantara and Patrombon prevailed over Huey and Gonzales in straight sets. 

Defending gold medalists Alcantara and Patrombon saw off Quoc-Khanh Le and Van Phuong Nguyen of Vietnam, 6-4, 6-2, in the semifinals on Friday at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Centre Court in Tu Son, Bac Ninh. 

At 3-3 in the first set, Alcantara and Patrombon broke with a return of serve forehand winner and then held a love service game to be at 5-3.

After taking the first set, 6-4, they raced to a 5-1 lead in the second set after being down, 0-30, in the sixth game.

Serving for the match at 5-2, they earned four match points courtesy of a forehand cross court volley winner from Alcantara, the 2009 Australian Open boys’ doubles champion. 

A long forehand return of serve from the Vietnamese awarded the match to the Filipinos, 6-2.

It was a straight-sets win as well for No. 1 seeds Huey and Gonzales in the semis, where they eliminated home bets Minh Tuan Pham and Linh Giang Trinh, 6-4, 6-2.

Huey and Gonzales broke to lead at 4-3 in the first set after the Vietnamese team hit a forehand error.

Serving for the set at 5-4, Gonzales let out a backhand volley winner that sealed the love service game and awarded the Filipino netters the first set, 6-4.

Huey and Gonzales, the 2022 Savannah Challenger doubles champions and 2019 SEA Games men’s doubles silver medalists, soared to a 5-1 lead in the second set.

They achieved victory, 6-2, courtesy of a backhand winner from Huey, an eight-time ATP doubles titlist and SEA Games men’s team and mixed doubles gold medalist.

Alcantara, Patrombon, Huey, and Gonzales have already won a bronze in Vietnam after losing to Thailand in the men’s team event semifinals.

Huey won his second bronze in the mixed doubles event with Alex Eala, who played singles at Centre Court before the men’s doubles semifinals.

Eala caps off SEA Games debut with 3rd bronze

Earlier in the day, Eala earned her third bronze medal at the Hanoi SEA Games, following her defeat to Thailand in the women’s singles semifinals.

No. 2 seed Eala, 16, suffered a 4-6, 1-6 loss at the hands of No. 4 seed Luksika Kumkhum, 28.
 
In the final, Kumkhum will go up against countrywoman Anchisa Chanta, 19, who scored an upset against No. 1 seed Chanelle Van Nguyen of Vietnam in the semis.
 
Eala has won two other bronze medals in her SEA Games debut, courtesy of her semifinal results in the women’s team event and mixed doubles with Huey. Both semis were lost to Thailand. 

The Hanoi SEA Games semifinal was the third meeting of Eala and Kumkhum, with the first being the W25 Chiang Rai final in Thailand that went in favor of the Filipino in straight sets.

Eala and Kumkhum met again in the SEA Games team event semifinals, where the Thai overcame the Filipino in three sets.

On Friday, the Filipino and Thai were tied at 4-4 until Kumkhum broke on her third opportunity and held serve to clinch the first set, 6-4, on her fourth set point.

Kumkhum kept going in the second set, taking a 4-1 lead until Eala called for a medical timeout. 

When play resumed, Kumkhum held serve then broke to claim victory, 6-1, causing Eala to settle for bronze – the same result that her mother, Rizza Maniego-Eala, had in the 100m backstroke swimming competition of the 1985 Bangkok SEA Games.

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