PH pair wins by default as virus hits Florida tilt

Published February 24, 2021, 1:11 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Francis Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales won by default in the ASC BMW $25,000 Men’s World Tennis Tour in Naples, Florida after one of their doubles opponents tested positive for COVID-19.

Alcantara and Gonzales were scheduled to play against Justin Butsch and Alex Rybakov in the first round Tuesday (early Wednesday in Manila) when officials decided not to push through with the match due to the said health test result.

The name of the player was withheld for privacy purposes.

“He didn’t show up na sa courts kanina,” Alcantara said in a message to Manila Bulletin.

With the development, Alcantara and Gonzales advanced to the quarterfinals of the clay court Futures tournament against Peruvian third seed Conner Huertas del Pino and Alexander Merino, who survived Italy’s Francesco Ferrari and Great Britain’s Mark Whitehouse, 7-5, 7-6, (5).

Regardless of how the victory was obtained, it served as a first win as partners for Alcantara and Gonzales in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour.

They lost their opening round match in the first leg of the tournament last week, which also served as their first event since the pandemic.

Alcantara said the tournament will still push through despite the positive case, but organizers remain strict and vigilant with their health restrictions.

“We’re safe naman here,” he said.