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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Falla Wins 10th Challenger Title

Falla© Ligue Calédonienne de TennisAlejandro Falla won his 10th ATP Challenger Tour title Saturday in Noumea.

Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to who’s in action in the week to come.


Challenger BNP Paribas de Nouvelle-Caledonie (New Caledonia): Top seed Alejandro Falla cruised to his 10th ATP Challenger Tour crown, dropping just one set en route to the title in the South Pacific island town of Noumea. The Colombian veteran, who reached his lone ATP World Tour final on home soil last year in Bogota, defeated Canadian No. 6 Steven Diez 6-2, 6-2 in the final, resoundingly sealing the match with an ace. It was the 22-year-old Diez’s first Challenger final.

In other news, 2012 breakout young gun and former World No. 42 David Goffin faltered in his comeback from a broken left wrist, retiring from his second round match against Austin Krajicek with a right quadriceps injury.

Aberto de Sao Paulo (Brazil): Joao Souza dominated on home soil, winning his seventh ATP Challenger Tour title and third in Brazil. A repeat of the Sao Jose Do Rio Preto final in October, Souza turned away Alejandro Gonzalez in straight sets once again. The 6-4, 6-4 victory gave the No. 7 seed his first hard court crown. He supplants Thomaz Bellucci as Brazil’s top ranked player. For Gonzalez, the 24 year old dropped his second consecutive final in Sao Paulo after losing to Filippo Volandri in the title match of the ATP Challenger Tour Finals just a few months ago.

Joao Souza won his third title on home soil and seventh overall, in Sao Paulo. Photo credit: Roberto Cardoso/Perspic

What the Players are Saying
Falla: “I fought hard in Noumea. It was a perfect way to start 2014. I hope to finally pass the third round of the [Australian] Open in Melbourne and then we’ll see what happens. I am confident in my game and I hope to get back into the Top 50."

Souza: “I am sure that winning this competition will give me a lot of confidence for the season. I will keep working hard…Unfortunately, I cannot go to Australia. I had scheduled a flight for last night but I couldn't board for a good reason. I will train for the next two weeks to get prepared for the South American tournaments.”

Gonzalez: “I felt very well playing this week in Sao Paulo. I didn’t get the title but I hope to return next year and do my best.”

The ATP Challenger Tour is on a two-week hiatus before action picks up in earnest the week of January 20, with tournaments in Germany, Colombia and the United States. 

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