Filipino tennis star Ruben Gonzales cops Vegas Open doubles crown

This just might have been one of the toughest tournaments in the career of Philippine lawn tennis national team veteran Ruben Gonzales.

He and doubles partner Ruan Roelofse of South Africa had to face three tandems that were all ranked higher than them. They also had to beat all their opponents in matches that lasted until the super tiebreakers. The Filipino and the South African duo proved that they were up to the challenge.

Gonzales and Roelofse won yesterday the $54,160 Las Vegas Tennis Open, an ATP Challenger Tour event, held at the hard courts of the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) campus. The unseeded pair faced top seeds Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico in the first round and escaped with a 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 win. In the quarterfinals, Gonzales and Roelofse faced a stiff challenge from wildcard entry Stefan Kozlov and Jack Vance of the United States before prevailing, 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.

The 3rd seeded American pair of Evan King and Hunter Reese awaited Gonzales and Roelofse in the semifinals. Undaunted by their favored opponents, Gonzales and Roelofse continued their dream run with a 6-2, 3-6, 10-4 victory to earn a spot in the finals against another tandem from the United States, Nathan Pasha and Max Schnur.

The championship lived up to expectations as both finalists battled tirelessly. In a match that was so close that it could have gone either way, Gonzales and Roelofse proved to be the steadier pair as they emerged triumphant, 2-6, 6-3, 10-8.

Gonzales, now ranked 204th in doubles in the latest ATP World Rankings, and Roelofse have been on a good run in recent weeks. They made the semifinals of the ITF $25,000 event held in Oklahoma in the first week of October before making the finals of another ITF $25,000 tournament held the week after in Claremont, California.

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