ATP CHALLENGER TOUR FINALS 2011
Stebe Victorious In Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo, Brazil
by ATP Staff|
After losing his opening match in straight sets against Sela on Wednesday, Stebe benefitted from the round-robin format to recover and avenged that defeat in Sunday’s final as he broke Sela four times from eight opportunities for victory in 86 minutes.
"I can't believe it yet," admitted Stebe. "It was a great tournament, so many nice people. [Sela] is a really good player, he played already in the Top 30, and it's an amazing feeling to beat a player like this.
"I started a little weak (this week) but I kept trying to do my best and get back to my game and it worked out in the end. I was more aggressive and that's how it should be."
The 21-year-old Stebe capped what has been a breakthrough season. The German left-hander was outside the Top 400 of the South African Airways ATP Rankings in February. But after winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles in Bangkok (d. Weintraub) and Shanghai (d. Kudryatsev), and reaching the final in Kyoto (l. to Meffert), he cracked the Top 100 at No. 99 last month and is currently World No. 103.
Former World No. 29 Sela came into Sao Paulo at No. 9 in the 2011 ATP Year-To-Date Challenger Rankings after winning three titles in the space of five weeks at Busan (d. Ito), Fergana (d. Jones) and Nottingham (d. Chardy).