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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: Benneteau Triumphs In Bordeaux

Dustov© Valera Lim/SamarkandFarrukh Dustov prevailed on home soil, winning the title in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

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

Samarkand Challenger (Samarkand, Uzbekistan): Farrukh Dustov cruised to the title on home soil on Saturday, dropping one set en route to his third Challenger crown and first since 2011. The fourth seed defeated first-time finalist Aslan Karatsev 7-6(4), 6-1 in the final. Dustov is the third Uzbek to win in Samarkand, following in the footsteps of Oleg Ogorodov (1999, '01) and Denis Istomin (2011).

NeckarCup (Heilbronn, Germany): Jan-Lennard Struff had the right stuff to upend Marton Fucsovics on home soil, claiming the Heilbronn Challenger 6-2, 7-6(5). The German overturned an 0-8 record in Challenger finals to win his maiden title. Two weeks ago, Struff reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final at the BMW Open by FWU AG (l. to Fognini) in Munich.

Aussie rising star Nick Kyrgios saw his 10-match winning streak snapped after registering consecutive titles in Sarasota and Savannah, falling to Andrej Martin in the first round. Meanwhile, countryman Thanasi Kokkinakis reached his first ATP Challenger Tour semi-final as a qualifier. The 18 year old's second round meeting with American veteran Michael Russell featured an 18-year age difference!

BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux 2014 (Bordeaux, France): Julien Benneteau (pictured right, photo Benneteaucredit: Villa Primrose) finally returned to the winners circle, prevailing on home soil in Bordeaux for his third ATP Challenger Tour crown. Benneteau, who is 0-9 in ATP World Tour finals, waited three years since his most recent title run in Rennes and will look to his strong week in southern France to turn around his tour-level fortunes. The 32 year old turned aside second seed Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2 in Sunday's final. Johnson entered the encounter with a 18-1 record on the Challenger circuit since February.

Busan Open (Busan, South Korea): It was 'all systems go' for Go Soeda after the Japanese won his 14th Challenger title, and second in Busan (2008), without dropping a set. Soeda, who is now tied for seventh on the all-time titles list with Carlos Berlocq and Marcos Daniel, won 6-3, 7-6(5) against Jimmy Wang in Sunday's final.

Gilles Muller, who entered the week having won 15 matches in 18 days following a trio of titles in Shenzhen, Taipei City and Gimcheon, pulled out due to fatigue.

SoedaWhat the Players are Saying
Benneteau: "Winning a tournament was very welcomed and it does not happen often in a season. The victory gives me confidence to play well in Nice and arrive at Roland Garros hoping to make a good run."

Soeda (pictured left, photo credit: Busan Open): "The facilities are great, the weather was great to play in and I thank the fans for their support. I want to come back next year."

WHAT'S AHEAD

The $50,000 hard-court Karshi Challenger is the lone event on the calendar this week. Alexander Kudryavtsev is the top seed, while Canadian young gun Filip Peliwo is seeded second.
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