Gonzales, Cornea rule ATP Yokohama Challenger
Gonzales, Cornea rule ATP Yokohama Challenger

CHAMPS. Ruben Gonzales (right) and Victor Cornea turn back the hometown bets.

ATP Yokohama Keio Challenger

Philippine tennis team veteran Ruben Gonzales picks up his third ATP Challenger doubles title for the year

MANILA, Philippines –Philippine tennis team doubles stalwart Ruben Gonzales and partner Victor Cornea of Romania thumped Masamichi Imamura and Tomoya Fujiwara in straight sets, 7-5, 6-3, to clinch the doubles championship of the ATP Yokohama Keio Challenger on Saturday, November 5 at the Mamushidani Tennis Courts at Keio University in Japan.

Seeded third in the competition, the 37-year-old Gonzales and 29-year-old Cornea utilized their veteran smarts and powerful serves, which produced 8 aces, to prevail over the 23-year-old Imamura and the 21-year-old Fujiwara.

Not even the hometown crowd who cheered on every point earned by the Japanese duo could derail Gonzales and Cornea, who came from behind to pocket the opening set. 

The Filipino and Romanian carried their momentum to the second set after breaking serve in the sixth game to surge to a 4-2 advantage which they never relinquished. 

Partnering for the first time, it took a while for Gonzales and Cornea to find their rhythm as a pair in the tournament. They labored through their first two matches which they won in three sets. 

They rallied from a set down and a 3-5 deficit in the second set to upend the Japanese duo of Sho Shimabukuro and Yosuke Watanuki, 3-6, 7-5, 10-6, in the opening round of the tournament. They then followed it up with a thrilling quarterfinal victory over Romanians Nicholas Ionel and Filip Jianu, 6-2, 5-7, 10-6.

In the semifinal, Gonzales and Cornea turned back another Japanese tandem, Taisei Ichikawa and Yuki Mochizuki, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-2).

Gonzales has now won three ATP Challenger doubles championships for 2022. He will gun for his fourth title in the ATP Matsuyama Challenger, which is scheduled to begin on November 7, where he will team up with Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia. – 

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