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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Muller And Cuevas Secure Comeback Wins

Muller© Jalisco OpenGilles Muller won his first ATP Challenger Tour title since recovering from an elbow stress fracture in 2012.

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.

A LOOK BACK

Jalisco Open (Guadalajara, Mexico): Former World No. 42 Gilles Muller won eight matches in eight days as a qualifier to claim his seventh ATP Challenger Tour title, in Guadalajara. Muller, a three-time runner-up on the ATP World Tour, defeated Denis Kudla 6-2, 6-2 in the final after ousting top seed Kenny de Schepper earlier in the tournament. It was the Luxembourg native's first title since 2011 after suffering a stress fracture in his elbow a year later.

Seguros Bolivar Open (Barranquilla, Colombia): Pablo Cuevas won his second title since returning to action following knee surgery in 2012, routing Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-1 in the Barranquilla final. The Uruguayan improved to 8-3 in Challenger finals, ascending to his highest Emirates ATP Ranking (160) in over two years. Cuevas was ranked outside the Top 1000 just 11 months ago. For Klizan, it was the 2012 ATP Newcomer of the Year's 10th Challenger final and first at any level since winning his maiden ATP World Tour title in St. Petersburg in 2012. Cuevas pictured below (photo credit: Seguros Bolivar Open Barranquilla)

CuevasWhat the Players are Saying 
Muller: "The match was not easy. I was lucky to get away. I converted all of my break points and he didn't on any of his four, so I think that was the key to win the match.

"It means a lot, because I was injured last year for seven months and I've only been playing since mid-January. To win a tournament this early is really nice for me. It gives me a lot of motivation and a lot of satisfaction and hopefully I can continue on this level."

Cuevas: "I feel very emotional to have returned to win a tournament after two years away from the courts. I hope to return to bigger tournaments and that this becomes a new beginning."

WHAT'S AHEAD

Leon top seed Matthew Ebden looks to rebound from a first round exit in Guadalajara and is joined by Muller and recent Rimouski champion Samuel Groth. 2012 runner-up Rajeev Ram is seeded fifth.
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In Saint-Brieuc, France, 2009 finalist Adrian Mannarino is the top seed and is accompanied by four former champions. 2012 titlist Gregoire Burquier and 2011 champ Maxime Teixeira square off in a first round encounter. Marc Gicquel, who took home the trophy in 2006, is seeded fifth, while 2009 champion Josselin Ouanna is also in the draw.
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Olivier Rochus returns to Le Gosier, Guadeloupe, three years removed from capturing the inaugural title in the French island. Recent Cherbourg champion Kenny de Schepper is the No. 1 seed, while Benjamin Becker, who reached the Round of 16 at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Miami last week, is seeded second.
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© Tessa Kolodny

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