CHALLENGER WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT 2014
Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Ginepri Turns Back The Clock In Tallahassee
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
Tallahassee Challenger (Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.A.): Robby Ginepri overcame a torrential rain storm that forced play indoors for three days to win his fifth ATP Challenger Tour title and first since 2003. The 11-year, five-month drought marked the third-longest stretch between titles in Challenger history after Thomas Johansson (12 years, two months) and Tommy Robredo (11 years, nine months). Ginepri defeated Frank Dancevic 6-3, 6-4 in the final. The former World No. 15 also clinched the USTA's wild card into Roland Garros with his semi-final victory over James McGee, having earned the most points in the three-week swing between Sarasota, Savannah and Tallahassee.
Watch Ginepri Interview
ATP Challenger China Int'l (An Ning, China): Young guns stole the show in An Ning, with Borna Coric and Jordan Thompson reaching the semi-finals and Australian Alex Bolt claiming his maiden Challenger crown. Bolt entered the week having won just three total matches on the circuit. The 21 year old defeated fellow first time finalist Nikola Mektic 6-2, 7-5 in Saturday's final.
Tunis Open (Tunis, Tunisia): As Simone Bolelli (pictured left, photo credit: Tunis Open) continues his ascent towards a Top 100 return, the ATP Challenger Tour is taking notice. The 28-year-old Italian defeated Julian Reister 6-4, 6-2 in the Tunis final for his second consecutive title, second in the African city (2007) and 11th overall. Also the champion last week in Vercelli, Bolelli improves to a staggering 18-2 on the Challenger circuit in 2014.
Santaizi ATP Challenger (Taipei City, Taiwan): Joining Bolelli with three titles in 2014 is Gilles Muller, who also collected his second crown in as many weeks (and ninth overall) after turning aside John-Patrick Smith 6-3, 6-3 in the Taipei City final. Muller improved to 26-6 on the year and 15-1 since mid-March, relinquishing just one set in the last two weeks after claiming victory in Shenzhen.
Prosperita Open (Ostrava, Czech Republic): Andrey Kuznetsov rallied past Miloslav Mecir 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in Ostrava, capturing his fifth Challenger trophy in seven finals. Mecir, who was appearing in his first final, is the son of a three-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion and singles gold medalist at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Meanwhile, top seed Radek Stepanek saw his Challenger winning streak end at 17 with a quarter-final loss to Kuznetsov.
Seguros Bolivar Open Cali (Cali, Colombia): Gonzalo Lama (pictured right, photo credit: Oficina de Prensa Seguros Bolívar Open) won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Marco Trungelliti. At 21, he is the youngest Chilean to win a Challenger title since Nicolas Massu triumphed in Santiago in 1999. The Martin Rodriguez pupil will leap 61 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high World No. 254.
What the Players are Saying
Ginepri: “Every time you step into a tournament you try and take one step at a time. This feels incredible. I was more relaxed to play the final than the semis, but it freed me up and I felt great.”
Kuznetsov: "I would like to congratulate my opponent Milos. It was a great week for him here and by any means it was not easy to beat him today. Big thanks also goes to my father, who has been travelling with me for the last five weeks, and we are both looking forward to get back home tomorrow. I won here singles and doubles, so I couldn´t wish for more. It was a great tournament and I hope I´ll be able to come back next year."
Mecir: "It was a really great week here! I felt big support from all the people who came and made a perfect atmosphere for us players. I would love to come back next year and try to win the title."
Lama: "I'm feeling really great. I have been improving and these moments are the result of my training and my sacrifice during all these years. It was a tough match today, because Marco was confident and he wanted to win in his second Challenger final, but I stayed calm to get the victory."
Muller (pictured left, photo credit: OEC Sports): "Although my serve was not as good as yesterday, I'm satisfied with the performance today. I'm glad to recover from injury and hope to stay healthy."
Sam Groth (Taipei City doubles champion): "It was always going to be a difficult final. For us it's been a great two weeks. We won last week in Shenzhen and now here. Hopefully we can do well again in Korea."
The inaugural €64,000 Open du Pays d'Aix welcomes a strong field led by American Denis Kudla and second-seed Blaz Rola. The ATP Challenger Tour returns to the historic Country Club Aixois following a 10-year hiatus, when Fabrice Santoro defeated Arnaud Clement in the 2004 final. Mariano Puerta upset a 16-year-old Rafael Nadal for the title the year before.
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The two-week hard-court swing in South Korea begins in Gimcheon. Bolt enters the main draw as a special exempt after winning in An-Ning and Taipei City finalists Muller and Smith are also present.
Aix-en-Provence, France, Centre Court
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Rome, Italy, Centre Court
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