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Alcantara, Sun, bows out in China F5 Futures semifinals

By Kristoffer Ed Bellen

MANILA--Filipino doubles specialist Francis Casey Alcantara and Chinese partner Fajing Sun's remarkable run in Wuhan, China fell short as they succumbed a thrilling 2-6, 6-4, 4-10 defeat against Finnish players Harri Hellovaara and Patrik Niklas-Salminen at the ITF China F5 Futures, Thursday.

Alcantara and Sun, who reached their maiden semifinals playing together as a pair, failed to advance in the title clincher after committing three successive double faults at the tie-breaker despite salvaging the game through a stellar second set.

As soon as Alcantara and Sun seemed to get going, the Filipino-Chinese tandem detonated in the third set after firing cold services, especially in their second attempts, as they finished the match with a total of seven double faults.

"In the tie-break we started bad and the three double faults cost us the match," Alcantara told Dugout Philippines.

The top-seeded duo, however, managed to prevent from getting swept by the Finnish nationals after winning 28 total points compared to the 26 points scored by the latter in the second set.

"We'll see in the tournament if we really are [working good together]," Alcantara remarked as he and Sun is set to play together for more in the next two weeks.

"It's getting there. [I am] slowly adjusting with my new partner," he added.

Meanwhile, Heliovaara and Niklas-Salminen staged an absolute upset against Alcantara and Sun after maximizing the latter's erratic game by outplaying them from the service line, highlighted by a dominant advantage in the service aces department, 4-1.

The Finnish tandem fired 63 total winners while also converting four of their seven breakpoints to outlast Alcantara and Sun in 64 minutes.

Heliovaara and Niklas-Salminen will next face the Japanese tandem of Shintaro Imai and Yuta Shimizu for the championship match.

Alcantara and Sun, on the other hand, will try to test their fate next at the ITF China F6 Futures at Luan, China.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @theballkidPH