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ATP: Ruben Gonzales wins third title of season, bags Yokohama doubles title

Ruben Gonzales’s and Victor Cornea’s first partnership turned out to be a fruitful one.

The third seeded pair overcame the hometown crowd and Masamichi Imamura and Tomoya Fujiwara to win the men’s doubles championship of the ATP Yokohama Keio Challenger.

The Filipino and Romanian tandem prevailed in straight sets over their youthful Japanese rivals, 7-5, 6-3, on Saturday at the Mamushidani Tennis Courts at Keio University.

After dropping serve early in the first set, Gonzales and Cornea had to play catch up until they finally broke serve in the 10th game to regain the lead and eventually take the opener.

The second set remained tight until the 6th game when two perfectly placed lobs by Cornea and a crosscourt winner by Gonzales enabled them to take a 4-2 advantage which they extended to 5-2 on Gonzales’ serve.

The Japanese managed to hold serve in the eight game to narrow the gap but it only delayed the inevitable as Cornea held serve in the ninth game and closed out the match with an ace.

The 37-year-old Gonzales, who pocketed the Vietnam SEA Games men’s doubles gold medal last May with Treat Huey, earned his third ATP Challenger title for the year. He teamed up with Huey to triumph in the Savannah Challenger last April just before the SEA Games. His second title run came last August when he and American partner Reese Stadler emerged champions of the Santo Domingo Challenge in the Dominican Republic.

Gonzales will be gunning for another title next week when he teams up with Indonesian star Christopher Rungkat in the ATP Matsuyama Challenger. Also seeing action in the tournament is Francis Casey Alcantara who will once again partner with Vietnam’s top player Nam Hoang Ly.

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