Gonzales wins 8th ATP Challenger doubles title in Yokohama

Rosy Mina

Posted at Nov 05 2022 04:33 PM

Victor Vlad Cornea of Romania and Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Yokohama Keio Challenger on Twitter.
Victor Vlad Cornea of Romania and Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Yokohama Keio Challenger on Twitter.

MANILA – No. 3 seeds Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines and Victor Vlad Cornea of Romania ruled the Yokohama Keio Challenger International Tennis Tournament in Japan with a 7-5, 6-3 win in the final on Saturday.

Gonzales and Cornea fought off Japanese wildcards Tomoya Fujiwara and Masamichi Imamura by clawing back from 3-5 in the first set and sustaining their momentum in the second set.

“Thanks again to Victor for carrying me this week, And thanks again for everyone in the tournament – sponsors, ball kids, everyone. Thanks for helping. It’s been a great time here,” Gonzales said during the trophy ceremony.

“Thanks for all the fans who came out. Thank you very much for your support. And we'll see you next year,” continued the Filipino doubles specialist, who also congratulated Fujiwara and Imamura for a great tournament and wished them the best of luck for the future. 

The Yokohama championship is the eighth ATP Challenger Tour title of Gonzales and his third of the season, following his victories at the Republica Dominicana Open with American Reese Stalder and Savannah Challenger with countryman Treat Huey.

In the Yokohama final, Gonzales and Cornea trailed at 1-3 and then at 3-5, after which they equalized by saving a set point by breaking serve with a forehand down-the-line passing shot by Cornea.

At 6-5, the Filipino-Romanian duo earned three set points and broke at 40-15 via a Cornea forehand overhead smash to take the first set, 7-5. 

The fight remained close at the beginning of the second set, 2-2, until Gonzales and Cornea held and broke for a 4-2 edge.

With Gonzales on serve, they saved a break point to advance to 5-2, and the Japanese team responded with a service hold to be at 3-5.

As they were serving for the match, Gonzales and Cornea gained three match points and sealed the win, 6-3, at 40-30 courtesy of an ace by the Romanian.

In the opening round, Gonzales and Cornea overcame local bets Sho Shimabukuro and Yosuke Watanuki, 3-6, 7-5, 10-6, while Fujiwara and Imamura ousted Francis Casey Alcantara of the Philippines and Nam Hoang Ly of Vietnam, 6-3, 6-2.

Another three-setter was won by Gonzales and Cornea in the quarterfinals over Nicholas David Ionel and Filip Cristian Jianu of Romania, 6-2, 5-7, 10-6. 

They went on to score a smashing semifinal triumph over Taisei Ichikawa and Yuki Mochizuki of Japan, 7-6(5), 7-6(2), before emerging as the champions with 80 points and $3,100 worth of prize money. 

Gonzales, the 37-year-old ATP Doubles World No. 142, has a total of 26 professional doubles titles. 

In May, Gonzales and Huey became the men’s doubles gold medalists at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. 


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