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Challenger Spotlight: Lu Wins 21st Title; Muller Adds Fifth Of 2014

Lu© OEC SportsYen-hsun Lu (right) won his 21st ATP Challenger Tour title in Kaohsiung, defeating Luca Vanni.

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.


OEC Kaohsiung ATP Challenger (Kaohsiung, Taiwan): It was home cooking for Yen-hsun Lu, who retained the Kaohsiung title with a 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-4 victory over Luca Vanni. Lu won his 21st ATP Challenger Tour crown, extending his lead on the all-time Challenger titles list to five. Dudi Sela and Takao Suzuki are tied for second place with 16 titles each. It was the 30 year old's first of the year. As for Vanni, the Italian was competing in his first Challenger final at the age of 29, eight years after turning pro.

All-Time Challenger Titles Leaders

Player Titles
Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE)
Dudi Sela (ISR)
Takao Suzuki (JPN)
4 tied

Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger (Binghamton, New York, U.S.A.): Four-time ATP World Tour titlist Sergiy Stakhovsky (pictured left, photo credit: Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger) added a third Challenger title with a 6-4, 7-6(9) victory over Wayne StakhovksyOdesnik in Binghamton. The Ukrainian is in top form entering the Emirates Airline US Open Series, having reached the third round at Wimbledon earlier this month, ousting No. 12 seed Ernests Gulbis en route. Stakhovsky did not relinquish a set all week in Binghamton, joining an elite list of European champions that include Thomas Johansson (2007), Andy Murray (2005) and Ivo Karlovic (2003).

Guzzini Challenger (Recanati, Italy): Top seed Gilles Muller breezed to his fifth ATP Challenger Tour title of the year and 11th of his career, blasting past Ilija Bozoljac 6-1, 6-2 in the final of the Guzzini Challenger. The 31 year old is just one title shy of tying Younes El Aynaoui for the most in a single season. El Aynaoui captured six trophies in 1998. The champion in Guadalajara, Shenzhen, Taipei City and Gimcheon as well, Muller improved to 45-9 on the circuit this year.

Challenger Banque Nationale (Granby, Canada): Hiroki Moriya (pictured right, photo credit: Sarah-Jäde Champagne) claimed his maiden Challenger title on MoriyaSunday with a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-3 triumph over big-serving Frenchman Fabrice Martin. The 23 year old entered the week having dropped five of his previous six matches, but fought hard to win five three-setters en route to the title. Moriya is the second Japanese to win in Granby, joining three-time champion Takao Suzuki (1998, '00, '07). Moriya's coach Axel Pretzsch was the titlist in 2001.

Tecnifibre Who's Next: Moriya

Poznan Open (Poznan, Poland): David Goffin continued his assault on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning his second consecutive title with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over top seed Blaz Rola in Poznan. Goffin, the champion last week in Scheveningen, has not dropped a set during his 10-match win streak. He returns to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings with the title, his fifth in six Challenger finals.

What the Players are Saying
Stakhovsky: "It's been a great pleasure to play here in front of this crowd, which has been very supportive.

"I’m pleased to win this tournament. I got a lot of confidence from here, heading into Atlanta and then Washington, D.C., then a break heading into the US Open. It was an important week."

Moriya: "It was very hard to fight against his serve. I was so nervous, but I am very happy to have won today. It's special to win my first title in Granby, especially since my coach also won here in 2001."

Tweet of the Week

The ATP Challenger Tour returns to Astana, Kazakhstan, for the eighth edition of the President's Cup. Top seed and 2011 champion Mikhail Kukushkin leads the home charge, with second seed Blaz Kavcic looking to add a fourth title to his 2014 collection.

The Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships returns to Lexington as top seed Evgeny Donskoy leads a strong field that includes fifth seed and defending champion James Ward, 2013 runner-up James Duckworth and young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Top seed and World No. 58 Jarkko Nieminen competes on home soil in Tampere, his first visit to the Finnish city since claiming consecutive titles in 2001 and 2002. Defending champion Jesse Huta Galung is seeded fifth, while second seed David Goffin seeks a third title in as many weeks.

Seven different Germans have prevailed on home soil in Oberstaufen and seeds Peter Gojowczyk, 2011 runner-up Andreas Beck and Michael Berrer will look to join that list. Martin Fischer, champion in 2010, is seeded eighth.

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