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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Johnson Continues Torrid Pace With Le Gosier Title

Johnson© Sylvain PigeauSteve Johnson won his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title, defeating Kenny de Schepper in Le Gosier.

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.


Open de Guadeloupe (Le Gosier, Guadeloupe): There is perhaps no hotter player on the ATP Challenger Tour in recent months than Steve Johnson. The former college standout at the University of Southern California reached his third consecutive Challenger final, claiming the Le Gosier title 6-1, 6-7(5), 7-6(2) over top seed Kenny de Schepper. Johnson converted on his fifth match point to defeat the Frenchman, improving to 14-1 since early February and ascending to a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 69. Johnson, who defeated Tommy Haas en route to his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Delray Beach, has soared a whopping 91 spots since the start of the season.

Challenger Ficrea (Leon, Mexico): Rajeev Ram became the fourth different American to win on the ATP Groth, RamChallenger Tour this year after routing Samuel Groth 6-2, 6-2 in the Leon final. Ram joins Johnson (Le Gosier, Dallas), Bradley Klahn (Maui, West Lakes) and Wayne Odesnik (Chitre) as players from the United States with Challenger crowns in 2014. It was his sixth title and first since prevailing in Rio Quente last year. Groth was contesting his second final in three weeks after winning his maiden title in Rimouski. Groth and Ram pictured right (photo credit: Cynthia Jimenez/Challenger Ficrea)

Open Harmonie Mutuelle (Saint-Brieuc, France): No. 8 seed Andreas Beck won his fifth Challenger title in 13 finals, and first in five years, topping Gregoire Burquier 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday. The former World No. 33 snapped a four-match losing skid in Challenger finals, registering his 170th match victory on the circuit. For Burquier, it was the 29-year-old Frenchman's fourth final. Beck pictured below (photo credit: Open Harmonie Mutuelle)


What the Players are Saying 
Beck: "I am very happy to have won here. I feel like I'm progressing again and I really hope to be back in the Top 100."

Ram: "Thanks to all the people who supported me during the week. I feel very good about winning. I think I had a great match with Sam."

Groth: "I think it was a great week. I was in the finals in singles and doubles and fortunately I was able to win in doubles, but Rajeev is a great player and should be congratulated."


 They Tweeted It

Twitter@SamuelGroth (Samuel Groth)
Lost final today in Leon, overall a great week also winning the doubles title. And a new career high singles ranking of 136!!!

@RajeevRam (Rajeev Ram)
Thanks to everyone for the nice messages.  Had a good couple of weeks in Mexico.  Now for a little r&r and then it's back to work

@andi_beck (Andreas Beck)
Winner !!!!!

@SJohnson_89 (Steve Johnson)
What an amazing week in Guadeloupe!! Great tournament and great people. Thanks for a special week!! Now on to Houston!!!

Recent Panama City champion Pere Riba is the top seed in Mersin, Turkey, and is joined by Andreas Haider-Maurer, Aljaz Bedene and Julian Reister. 19-year-old young gun Kyle Edmund, of Great Britain, will compete in his first Challenger event of the year.

In the second edition of the Taroii Open de Tennis, in Itajai, Brazil, three-time Challenger finalist Blaz Rola is seeded No. 1. Six Argentines are among the seeded players, including Horacio Zeballos, Facundo Arguello and Guido Pella. 2012 Roland Garros junior champion Kimmer Coppejans contests his second Challenger event of the year.
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