PH to host first ever ATP Challenge on January 18
Joey Villar (philstar.com) - January 13, 2016 - 12:52am

MANILA, Philippines – A former World No. 8 player and a pair of fast-rising stars from the US and India will banner a strong cast when the Philippines hosts the first ever $75,000 ATP Challenge from January 18 to 24 at the newly refurbished Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.

Russian Mikhail Youzhny, currently ranked No. 33 in the world whose peak was at No. 8 seven years ago years ago, has confirmed participation in the biggest event the country is staging outside the star-studded International Tennis Premier League every December the past two years.

American Frances Taifoe, who is being picked as the next big US star, will play as one of the wild card entries while Indian ace Somdev Devvarman, who is now ranked 177th in the world, is also participating after recently topping a Challenger event in Illinois.

Also coming over are Dutch Sijslong Igor, 28, who just won a Challenger in Brescia, Italy; Radu Albot of Moldova, who is 121st in the world; Vanni Luca of Italy, who is 106th; and Lukas Lacko of Slovakia, who is 110th in the world.

“This one of the biggest, if not the biggest, we're hosting. This is next-level tournament and the players coming over are regular campaigners in the ATP tour,” said Philta vice president and Davis Cup administrator Randy Villanueva.

Filipinos Francis Casey Alcantara, Jeson Patrombon and Alberto Lim, Jr. will spearhead the country's campaign after getting wild card slots given to the host.

Fil-Am Ruben Gonzales, Patrick John Tierro and Fil-American Mico Santiago gained wild card entries to the qualifying round which starts tomorrow.

Interestingly, the event will coincide with the opening the newly constructed covered main playing area where the likes of Youzhny are most likely playing.

AMERICAN FRANCES TAIFOE DAVIS CUP DUTCH SIJSLONG IGOR FIL-AM RUBEN GONZALES FILIPINOS FRANCIS CASEY ALCANTARA INTERNATIONAL TENNIS PREMIER LEAGUE JESON PATROMBON AND ALBERTO LIM LUKAS LACKO OF SLOVAKIA PATRICK JOHN TIERRO AND FIL-AMERICAN MICO SANTIAGO RADU ALBOT OF MOLDOVA RANDY VILLANUEVA
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