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Challenger Weekly Spotlight: 17-Year-Old Zverev Wins Maiden Title

Zverev© Thomas AmmerpohlAlexander Zverev (right) poses with Braunschweig tournament director and former World No. 2 Michael Stich.

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

Sparkassen Open (Braunschweig, Germany): 17-year-old young gun Alexander Zverev took the ATP Challenger Tour by storm last week, winning his first title on the clay of Braunschweig. The former top-ranked junior and 2014 Australian Open boys' titlist became the 12th-youngest player to prevail on the circuit. He is one of 37 players to claim their maiden Challenger title by age 18 and did so having won just one match in six previous events. Zverev, a wild card, registered the first Top 100 victories of his career in defeat of Tobias Kamke in the first round, top seed Andrey Golubev in the semi-finals and Paul-Henri Mathieu 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 for the title. The German vaulted 380 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high World No. 285 with the win.

Youngest To Win A Challenger Title

Player Age Title
Michael Chang (USA)
15y,7m 1987 Las Vegas
Richard Gasquet (FRA)
16y 2002 Montauban
Bernard Tomic (AUS)
16y,4m 2009 Melbourne
Kent Carlsson (SWE)
16y,7m
1984 New Ulm
Marcos Ondruska (RSA) 16y,7m 1989 Durban
Rafael Nadal (ESP) 16y,9m 2003 Barletta
Novak Djokovic (SRB) 17y 2004 Budapest
Paul Dogger (NED) 17y 1988 Oporto
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 17y,1m 2005 Montevideo
Horacio de la Pena (ARG) 17y,1m 1983 Thessaloniki
Fabrice Santoro (FRA)
17y,2m 1990 Telford
Alexander Zverev (GER)
17y,3m 2014 Braunschweig

Nielsen Pro Tennis Championship (Winnetka, Illinois, U.S.A.): Seventh seed Denis Kudla upended Farrukh Dustov 6-2, 6-2 for his fourth ATP Challenger Tour crown and first of the year. Kudla, who ousted 2012 champion John-Patrick Smith in the semi-finals, is the 13th different American to triumph in Winnetka since the tournament's inception in 1984. He also won the doubles title alongside Australian rising star Thanasi Kokkinakis. Meanwhile, 19-year-old qualifier Mackenzie McDonald reached the semis in his first Challenger event. McDonald impressively qualified for the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati last year, upsetting Nicolas Mahut and Steve Johnson.

Tecnifibre Who Is Next: Kudla

Distal & ITR Group Tennis Cup (Todi, Italy): Another Tecnifibre standout, Aljaz Bedene, improved his record in Challenger finals to a staggering 8-1, denying 2010 Wimbledon boys' champion Marton Fucsovics 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in Sunday's final. The Slovenian won his first title of the year in impressive fashion, rallying Mannarinofrom a set down in four of his five matches!

Watch ATP World Tour Uncovered: Bedene

Trofeo Ricardo Delgado Aray (Manta, Ecuador): Adrian Mannarino's journey from Wimbledon to the Manta title, his sixth on the ATP Challenger Tour, is jaw-dropping. Just two days after falling in the second round on the grass of the All England Club (l. to Robredo), Mannarino (pictured left, photo credit: Promociones Valdivieso) began his qualifying campaign on the clay of Manta after a near-6,000 mile journey. The Frenchman would win seven matches in eight days, topping Guido Andreozzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the final and becoming the first European to prevail in Manta.

What the Players are Saying
Zverev (pictured right): "It feels great. I didn't expect to win. I beat three Top 100 players and I never beat even one before that. It's great for me the way I played there and I'm really happy to come out with the win.Zverev

"Paul is such a great player. He's almost a legend to me. He was No. 12 in the world. That I beat someone like him is unbelievable. I don't understand it yet.

"[Cracking the Top 300] like that and not through Futures and lower tournaments is even better. I showed that I can play at that level and I'm really happy that it happened that quick."

Kudla: "The title means a lot especially being the first time I have won singles and doubles. It's a great start to the hard court season and I'm hoping to build as much as I can on this win leading up to the US Open."

Mannarino: "I'm very happy to win here after a long trip from Wimbledon and having to qualify. People here have been very friendly. It is always a pleasure to play in front of such a large crowd."

Tweet of the Week

WHAT'S AHEAD
Home favourite Blaz Kavcic leads the field in the second edition of the Slovenia Open, on the hard courts of Portoroz. Gilles Muller, seeded second, seeks a fifth title in 2014.
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Three former champions are in the draw at the San Benedetto Tennis Cup, in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. Defending champ Andrej Martin is seeded eighth, while 2012 titlist Gianluca Naso and second seed Maximo Gonzalez (2008) are also present.
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The clay courts of Scheveningen, Netherlands, host the 22nd edition of the Sport 1 Open. Top seed Robin Haase and defending champion Jesse Huta Galung lead the home charge. 2011 titlist Steve Darcis received a wild card.
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Watch free live streaming from the ATP Challenger Tour this week...

Portoroz, Slovenia, Centre Court

San Benedetto, Italy, Centre Court

Scheveningen, The Netherlands, Centre Court

Watch more live and archived matches from Portoroz, San Benedetto and Scheveningen

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