MANILA – No. 4 seeds Treat Huey of the Philippines and John-Patrick Smith of Australia missed out on another chance to clinch an ATP Challenger Doubles title after losing in the Atlantic Tire Championships final in Cary, North Carolina.
Huey and Smith were upended by American No. 1 seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow, 5-7, 6-2, 10-5, at the Cary Tennis Park Stadium on Saturday.
A holder of eight ATP Doubles titles and 18 Challenger Doubles titles, Huey lost in last month’s Vancouver Open doubles final in three sets alongside Smith against No. 3 seeds Andre Goransson of Sweden and Ben McLachlan of Japan.
In the Town of Cary, Huey and Smith failed to break serve in the fourth game, but saved a break point in the ninth game to be at 5-4 after Smith hit a forehand volley winner.
Lammons and Withrow secured a crucial break in the 11th game to serve for the set at 6-5, and they forced an unreturned serve from Huey to take the first set, 7-5.
At 2-2 in the second set, Huey and Smith pulled away with two service holds and a service break courtesy of a double fault.
They broke once more to force a super tiebreaker, 6-2, after a backhand return by Lammons and Withrow was hindered by the net cord.
Although Huey and Smith opened the 10-point decider with a volley winner, they struggled with a string of errors, handing over three mini breaks to the top seeds who advanced to 7-2.
An ace and a forehand service return error gave the Americans seven match points, 9-2, but their dash to the title was stalled by a resurgence from Huey and Smith.
Huey let out a backhand volley winner and Smith forced a netted backhand service return to narrow the gap to 4-9.
A forehand on-the-run crosscourt pass by Smith saved another match point, 5-9, until Lammons and Withrow forced a forehand service error from Huey to be the Cary champions, 10-5.
Huey and Smith started their Cary campaign with a 2-6, 6-4, 12-10 victory over wildcards Martins Rocens of Latvia and Fons Van Sambeek of the Netherlands in the first round.
They backed this up with a 7-6(6), 6-4 win over American Hunter Reese and Dutch Sem Verbeek in the quarterfinals, and a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory over British Aidan McHugh and American John McNally in the semifinals.
Huey, a 2016 Wimbledon gentlemen’s doubles semifinalist and former ATP Doubles World No. 18, has won two ATP Challenger Doubles titles this year.
In March, he and American Denis Kudla ruled the Arizona Tennis Classic while in April, he teamed up with countryman Ruben Gonzales to conquer the Savannah Challenger.
The succeeding team-up of Huey and Gonzales in May also proved to be triumphant as they bagged the men’s doubles gold medal at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam.
As of September 12, the 37-year-old Filipino-American doubles specialist Huey is the ATP Doubles World No. 102.