A LOOK BACK
International Challenger Ningbo (Ningbo, China): Second seed Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei won his 25th ATP Challenger Tour title with a dominant victory over Hiroki Moriya of Japan, 6-3, 6-1. Lu saved four match points in his semi-final win over sixth seed and #NextGen star Hyeon Chung of Korea. The veteran has been a dominant force at this event, winning three of the four editions of the Ningbo Challenger. He is also the third player to successfully defend a Challenger title this year.
Lu has recorded an outstanding 29-5 record on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2016, winning three titles (Ningbo, Surbiton, Ilkley) and finishing runner-up at two other events (Seoul, Bangkok)
Open Brest Arena Credit Agricole (Brest, France): Lucky loser Norbert Gombos of Slovakia completed an improbable week by sneaking into the main draw due to the withdrawal of French #NextGen star Quentin Halys, then capturing his first title of the year with a win over Yannik Reuter of Belgium, 7-5, 6-2. He is the first Lucky Loser to win a Challenger since 2013, when Jesse Huta Galung won in Cherbourg, France.
Lucky Loser Winners (since 1990)
|Norbert Gombos||2016||Brest (FRA)|
|Jesse Huta Galung||2013||Cherbourg (FRA)|
|Evgeny Korolev||2005||Aachen (GER)|
|Alexander Peya||2003||Aachen (GER)|
|Hyung-Taik Lee||2000||Bronx (USA)|
|Michal Tabara||1998||Prague (CZE)|
|Takao Suzuki||1997||Bombay (IND)|
|Attila Savolt||1996||Tampere (FIN)|
|Leander Paes||1992||Guangzhou (CHN)|
Gombos has turned his season around over the past month, reaching the final of another French Challenger in Orleans and recording semi-final finishes in two other Challenger events. The win will also propel Gombos back inside the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Reuter was competing in his first Challenger final since Meknes in September 2013. He is still looking for his first title at this level. However, he did score the biggest win of his career by upsetting top seed Jeremy Chardy of France in the semi-finals.
MOVISTAR Open by Cachantun (Santiago, Chile): Argentine veteran Maximo Gonzalez turned back the clock with an upset win over second seed and defending champion Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil, 6-2, 7-6(5). The 33-year-old Gonzalez won his first Challenger title of the year and first since prevailing 12 months ago at home in Corrientes. He now has 16 career Challenger singles titles, all of which have come on clay.
Dutra Silva was competing in his fourth Challenger final of the year (1-3), which also included a runner-up showing in Santiago this March.
Las Vegas Tennis Open (Las Vegas,Nevada): Australian Sam Groth fired a staggering 30 aces on his way to taking the title over fourth seed Santiago Giraldo of Colombia, 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5. Groth served 95 aces throughout the week and wasn’t broken once in his 62 service games, saving all four break points against him. Giraldo was riding a nine-match win streak, having prevailed in last week’s Challenger in Fairfield, California.
A LOOK AHEAD
There are five Challengers on the calendar this week, with the $75,000 tournament in Suzhou, China, taking top billing. The event returns for the second year. Lu looks for another title as the top seed, while Taro Daniel of Japan is the second seed. Two #NextGen stars are also in the draw, with Chung as the fourth seed and American Stefan Kozlov as the fifth seed.
The Hungarian city of Budapest hosts a Challenger for the first time since 2005 with this week’s $75,000 tournament. Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France is the top seed and Andrej Martin of Slovakia is the second seed. A slew of #NextGen stars are also in the draw including Halys, fifth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia and fellow Russian Andrey Rublev. Gombos looks to back up his run in Brest, while former Top 5 player Tommy Robredo continues his comeback from injury.
The $50,000 event in Lima, Peru, celebrates its 10th year. Defending champion Gastao Elias of Portugal is the top seed and Facundo Bagnis of Argentina in the second seed. 2013 champion Horacio Zeballos of Argentina is the third seed, while seventh seed Dutra Silva and Gonzalez look for another deep run in South America. Rising Norwegian teenager Casper Ruud is also in the draw.
The fifth edition of the $50,000 Challenger in Traralgon, Australia, is another popular event on the calendar. Aussie Jordan Thompson is the top seed, while #NextGen star Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan is the second seed. Reigning Australian Open boys’ singles champion and local favourite Oliver Anderson will be sure to draw plenty of interest as well.
Lastly, the $50,000 Challenger in Pune, India, is back for the third consecutive year. Evgeny Donskoy of Russia, last year’s runner-up, is the top seed, while #NextGen star Duckhee Lee of Korea is the second seed. Loval favourite Saketh Myneni is the third seed.
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: New in 2016, the ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.