CHALLENGER WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT 2014
Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Kyrgios Rallies Past Sock For Savannah Title
by Josh Meiseles|
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
Savannah Challenger (Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.): Nick Kyrgios prevailed in a blockbuster battle of young guns with Jack Sock, in Sunday's Savannah final. It was a special day for Kyrgios, who rallied from an early deficit to defeat the American rising star 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 on his 19th birthday. He claims his second consecutive title during the U.S. clay-court swing after winning in Sarasota the week before. The Australian becomes the first teen to win in back-to-back weeks since Grigor Dimitrov in 2010, ascending to a career-high World No. 151 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
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Citta' Di Vercelli - Trofeo Multimed (Vercelli, Italy): Simone Bolelli (pictured right, photo credit: Andrea Cherchi) continued his torrid 2014 ATP Challenger Tour campaign, improving to 13-2 on the year with his second title and 10th overall. Bolelli triumphed on home soil following a 6-2, 6-2 victory over qualifier Mate Delic on Sunday. The 28 year old hoisted the Bergamo trophy in his comeback debut in February, having been sidelined with a wrist injury for seven months. Delic, meanwhile, reached his first final in just his sixth tournament on the circuit.
Gemdale ATP Challenger (Shenzhen, China): A prelude to the inaugural Shenzhen Open, a new ATP World Tour 250 tournament to be held in September, the Shenzhen Challenger was the lone hard-court event of the week. Gilles Muller improved to 21-6 in 2014 with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over second-seed Lukas Lacko in the final, giving him an eighth Challenger trophy. Muller, who did not relinquish a set all week, was also the champion in Guadalajara last month (d. De Schepper). The 30 year old waited seven years to exact revenge on Lacko after losing to the Slovakian in the Kolding, Denmark final in 2007.
Campeonato Internacional de Tenis de Santos (Santos, Brazil): Maximo Gonzalez (pictured left, photo credit: Joao Pires/Fotojump) won his 12th Challenger crown in 17 finals in Santos, denying defending champion Gastao Elias a repeat title with a 7-5, 6-3 win. The Argentine claimed his 200th clay-court Challenger victory with a second round win over Mathias Bourgue. He also captured the doubles title, alongside countryman Andres Molteni.
What the Players are Saying
Kyrgios: “I knew I was going to have to play some of my best tennis to win today. It was serve and forehand, that's what makes me great. I stuck in the match and served well.
“I thought I started moving better, but he was drop shotting, he was playing pretty smart. I was pretty lucky to get the win."
Bolelli: "I played some great tennis and I'm fortunate to win the tournament. I dedicate this title to my team. With patience, after these years, I'm happy to win again."
Muller (pictured right, photo credit: Will Wang/Shenzhen Challenger): "It was not easy to play Lukas and he's always a tough player. I enjoy winning here and wish to come back for further tournaments."
Gonzalez: "I'm very happy. This [title] was from many years of work. I managed to control my nerves to win both doubles and singles. It was physically a very tough tournament which proves that I am well.
"That was five years ago (referring to his career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of 58 in 2009). I think I improved on many things. My goal is to return to the Top 60, but I think my nerves are not allowing me to return to that level of play. I'm trying to play more calmly and I believe this will help me get back there."
Elias: "I really wanted the win here in Santos, but today he (Gonzalez) played better than me. We were both tired and he was better than me physically and is to be congratulated. I now go to Oeiras and stay in Europe until Roland Garros."
They Tweeted It
The three-week Har-Tru USTA Pro Circuit Wild Card Challenge concludes in Tallahassee, with Daniel Kosakowski seeking to book a spot in his first Grand Slam, in Roland Garros. Kyrgios, seeded eighth, looks to sweep the series. Three former champions are in the field, including top seed Donald Young (2011), No. 2 seed Tim Smyczek (2012) and 2008 titlist Bobby Reynolds.
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The third of eight premier $125,000 events in 2014 is held in Tunis, Tunisia. World No. 63 Kenny de Schepper is the top seed and will vie for his second title of the year (Cherbourg). The Frenchman faces Bolelli, the 2007 champion, in the first round. Defending champion Adrian Ungur is seeded fifth.
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World No. 41 Radek Stepanek leads a strong field in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Stepanek is riding a 15-match ATP Challenger Tour win streak after winning in Prostejov, Orleans and Mons last year. He is seeking to become the eighth different Czech player to hoist the trophy since 2005. Stephane Robert, champ in 2011, is seeded second.
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The carpet courts of Taipei City host the inaugural Santaizi Challenger, the first Challenger to be played on the surface since 2011 (Kyoto). Top seed Yen-Hsun Lu eyes his 21st title.
In An Ning, China, young guns abound. A battle of former US Open junior champions Borna Coric (2013) and Oliver Golding (2011) headlines the first round. Australian Jordan Thompson contests his sixth Challenger tournament and second of the year.
Tallahassee, U.S.A., Centre Court
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Tunis, Tunisia, Centre Court
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