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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Muller Wins Third Consecutive Title In Gimcheon

Muller© Ha-Dae JungGilles Muller won his 10th ATP Challenger Tour crown in Gimcheon.

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.


Adidas International Gimcheon (Gimcheon, South Korea): There are few players, if any, that are hotter than Gilles Muller these days. Muller claimed his third consecutive ATP Challenger Tour title in three weeks, holding off fifth-seed Tatsuma Ito 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4 in Sunday's final. At two hours and 19 minutes, it was the longest final of the year on the Challenger circuit. Muller, who entered the week coming off title runs in Shenzhen and Taipei City, added a 10th crown in total. He improves to 20-1 since mid-March. Also sweeping the three-week Asian stretch was the doubles tandem of Samuel Groth and Chris Guccione, who hoisted their fifth team trophy of the season.

SchwartzmanOpen du Pays d'Aix (Aix-en-Provence, France): The ATP Challenger Tour returned to the historic Country Club Aixois following a 10-year hiatus and 11 years after Mariano Puerta's upset of a 16-year-old Rafael Nadal in the final. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (pictured right in blue shirt alongside tournament director and former World No. 10 Arnaud Clement, photo credit: Audrey Roustan) halted a six-match losing streak in Challenger finals, since winning his maiden title in 2012. The third-seeded Argentine rallied past Andreas Beck 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday. He also triumphed in doubles, alongside Horacio Zeballos, topping Beck and Martin Fischer.

Roma Open (Rome, Italy): Sixth-seed Julian Reister reached his second straight final, defeating Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2 for the title in Rome. Reister, who fell to Simone Bolelli in last week's Tunis title match, won his fifth ATP Challenger Tour crown. The German will return to the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

What the Players are Saying 
Guccione, Groth

Muller: "Well obviously I'm very happy that I won that match. It was a very difficult match. Tatsuma played very well. The conditions were very not easy. Was very windy today. I'm starting to feel a little tired now from these amazing three weeks. My next tournament is next week in Busan and I'm trying to concentrate on that."

Groth (pictured left, photo credit: Ha-Dae Jung): "Yeah, it was a tough match. We had a lot of chances in the first set. 4 all 30-40, 5 all 30-40. It was a really good week for us. We beat them (Austin Krajicek and John-Patrick Smith) in super tiebreaks all three week. Chris and I had a really good three weeks in Asia."

They Tweeted It

Twitter@andi_beck (Andreas Beck)
Back home after good week in aix en Provence and looking forward to play my next Tournament in Heilbronn. #neckarcup #atpchallengertour

@dieschwartzman (Diego Sebastian Schwartzman)
Champions with @HoracioZeballos !!! Great week, tomorrow the singles final..

@SamuelGroth (Samuel Groth)
3 weeks, 3 doubles titles with Gooch! #doubles #gimcheon #korea #winners #challenger #title…

@PabloCuevas22 (Pablo Cuevas)
I did not finish the week as I wanted. In any case I won good matches and am getting closer to the goal. Let's continue improving. Roland Garros next.

@LaurentRochette (Laurent Rochette)
Just changed 165€ at the Uzbek bank.. #Samarkand #challengertour

The premier €85,000 Bordeaux Challenger welcomes an elite field, led by World No. 48 Julien Benneteau, two-time champion Marc Gicquel (2009, '11) and young gun Jiri Vesely. Steve Johnson, seeded second, has won 14 of 15 matches on the circuit since February.
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The inaugural Neckarcup, the second Challenger of the year to be held in Heilbronn, Germany, features highly-touted youngsters Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Kyle Edmund. Kyrgios looks to add a third consecutive clay-court title in 2014. Jan-Lennard Struff is the top seed. 

The two-week hard court swing in South Korea wraps up in Busan, where Lukas Lacko leads a field with three former champions, including second seed Go Soeda (2008), Tatsuma Ito (2012) and Jimmy Wang (2007).

The young gun theme of the week extends to Samarkand, Uzbekistan, where Borna Coric and Karen Khachanov are present. 2011 champion and World No. 55 Denis Istomin is the top seed on home soil.

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