Mexican Santiago Gonzalez and Pakistani Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi won their first ATP Tour title as a team on Sunday, defeating British brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 to win the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.
Gonzalez and Qureshi reached their first tour-level final in February at the New York Open, ultimately falling short. But they took the next step at the ATP 250 clay-court event, entering the winners’ circle after one hour and 24 minutes. It’s been a long time coming for the Mexican-Pakistani duo, which captured an ATP Challenger Tour trophy together in Brazil 11 years ago.
“Thanks to Santiago. He’s been sticking up with me and believing in me,” Qureshi said. “I’m super-happy that we managed to win it. At the end of today he stepped his game up and really showed why he’s been Top 20, why he made the final of the French Open also on clay. This is his favourite surface and he definitely made the difference in the end today.”
It is Gonzalez’s 13th ATP Tour victory, and Qureshi’s 17th. Three years ago, Gonzalez made the Houston final with the Dominican Republic’s Victor Estrella Burgos, falling short against twins Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. He got revenge against the Americans on Saturday in the semi-finals.
Gonzalez and Qureshi were tremendous on return in the Match Tie-break, winning five of eight return points to beat the Brits. The winners earn 250 ATP Doubles Ranking points and a share of $33,000. After agreeing to become full-time partners in December, they hope to continue this success.
“We’re going to have ups and downs, but at the end, there are going to be more ups I think because we feel great on court and outside the court so the partnership is doing great,” Gonzalez said. “Hopefully this title will give us confidence for the rest of the clay-court season.”
The Skupski brothers will be disappointed to just miss out on their second ATP Tour title together, but this was their sixth final as a team. The fourth seeds add 150 points and a split of $16,920.