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ATP: Ruben Gonzales falls in Manama Challenger final, but gains career-high ranking

Philippine national tennis team doubles specialist Ruben Gonzales and Fernando Romboli of Brazil fell in straight sets to third seeds Patrik Niklas-Salminen of Finland and Bart Stevens of the Netherlands, 3-6, 4-6, in the finals of the ATP Manama Challenger held at the Public Security Officer’s Club in Gudaibiya, Bahrain on Sunday.

The fourth-seeded Gonzales and Romboli were coming off a huge three-set semifinals victory over the top-seeded pair of Roman Kebavy of the Czech Republic and Jonny O’Mara of Great Britain. Niklas-Salminen and Stevens, meanwhile, booted out the second seeds in the semifinals also in three sets.

The final, however, was devoid of drama as Niklas-Salminen and Stevens immediately stamped their class from the opening set and repeatedly fended off all attempts by Gonzales and Romboli to turn things around and extend the match to a super tiebreak.

It was still a good result for Gonzales and Romboli who were teaming up for just the second time. The Filipino and Brazilian duo made the semifinals of the ATP Challenger Tenerife held in Spain the previous week.

Gonzales, who in tandem with Treat Huey won the men’s doubles gold medal of the Southeast Asian Games held in Vietnam last year, also made the finals of the ATP Challenger Cleveland Open held from January 30 to February 6 with American partner Reese Stalder.

With his string of successes over the past three weeks, Gonzales has now climbed to number 120 in the ATP men’s doubles world ranking, a new career-high for the 37-year-old veteran.

Gonzales will hope to sustain the momentum of his pro-circuit campaign when he teams up anew with Stalder in the ATP Monterrey Challenger set to take place from February 20-26 in Monterrey, Mexico.

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