Tennis: Huey, Gonzales bag Savannah Challenger title

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 01 2022 06:43 PM

Ruben Gonzales and Treat Huey of the Philippines won the 2022 Savannah Challenger doubles title. Photo courtesy of Savannah Challenger on Instagram.
Ruben Gonzales and Treat Huey of the Philippines won the 2022 Savannah Challenger doubles title. Photo courtesy of Savannah Challenger on Instagram.

MANILA — No. 4 seeds Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines conquered the all-Asian final of the Savannah Challenger to bag their first doubles title together on the ATP Challenger Tour, Saturday in the United States.

Huey and Gonzales, the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games silver medalists for men’s doubles, saw off Tung-Lin Wu of Chinese Taipei and Zhizhen Zhang of China, 7-6(3), 6-4, at The Landings Club in Georgia.

“Thanks to the fans for coming out,” Huey said during the trophy presentation, adding that there was all-out support for both teams.

“Playing in front of you guys is amazing,” Gonzales added. “Hope to see you next year.”

The Philippine Davis Cuppers and veteran doubles specialists, both 36, also thanked each other in their speeches.

“An amazing player. He carried me all week,” Gonzales said of Huey, a Wimbledon men’s doubles semifinalist and SEA Games mixed doubles gold medalist with eight ATP doubles titles.

With their triumph on Saturday, ATP Doubles World No. 138 Huey now has 18 Challenger championships and ATP Doubles World No. 181 Gonzales has six Challenger titles.

Huey’s most recent title was won in March at the Phoenix Challenger with Denis Kudla of the U.S., while Gonzales last won a Challenger crown in 2021 in Bucharest, Romania with Hunter Johnson of the U.S.

A CLOSELY FOUGHT CLASH

Both teams impressively held serve throughout the first set, with Huey and Gonzales overcoming two break points in the opening game, and saving another break point in the seventh game.

After holding love service games to reach 6-6, it was the Filipino team that first secured a mini break to have 2-0 lead in the tiebreak, courtesy of a Huey backhand volley winner.

Wu and Zhang also had a mini break to level at 2-2, and Huey and Gonzales broke once more in the seventh point to advance to 4-3.

A forehand return of serve error from Wu and Zhang gave Huey and Gonzales three set points, and the Filipino duo clinched the first set, 7-6(3), after Huey fired a forehand passing shot winner.

In the second set, Huey and Gonzales made a crucial break for a 2-1 lead after Wu and Zhang hit a lob error.

Two consecutive backhand volley winners by Gonzales widened their lead to 4-2, while an ace from Wu and Zhang, their eighth in the match, made them trail at 3-4.

Serving for the championship at 5-4, Huey and Gonzales earned three match points with a clutch ace by Huey.

The Filipino tandem, however, committed forehand errors in the next two points.

In their third championship point, which was also a break point for Wu and Zhang, Huey set up the point with a left corner serve and Gonzales ended it with a crisp backhand volley winner.

Huey and Gonzales took the match, 6-4, earning 80 points and receiving $3,100 in prize money.

En route to the final, they defeated Americans Alex Lawson and Reese Stalder in the first round (6-1, 6-3) and American James Cerretani and South African Ruan Roelofse in the quarterfinals (6-2, 7-5).

They then scored an upset against second-seeded Americans Jackson Withrow and Robert Galloway, 6-4, 6-7(5), 10-7, in the semifinals.