CHALLENGER WEEKLY SPOTLIGHT 2014
Challenger Spotlight: Goffin Triumphs In Tampere For Third Straight Title
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
Aamulehti Tampere Open (Tampere, Finland): David Goffin capped a sensational month of July with his third straight ATP Challenger Tour title, defeating top seed and home favourite Jarkko Nieminen 7-6(3), 6-3 in Tampere. The 23-year-old Belgian extended his win streak to 15 matches, claiming 30 consecutive sets in that span. Goffin improves to 6-1 in Challenger finals, denying Nieminen a third title in Tampere (2001-'02).
Oberstaufen Cup (Oberstaufen, Germany): Simone Bolelli continued his run of dominance on the ATP Challenger Tour with a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory over Michael Berrer in Oberstaufen. Bolelli extended his win streak to 15 straight as well, following titles in Vercelli and Tunis in April. The Italian veteran is 23-2 on the circuit in 2014, owning the highest win percentage among players with at least 20 matches played (.920). His four titles this year are second-most to Gilles Muller's five.
2014 Longest Win Streaks
|Gilles Muller (LUX)
|David Goffin (BEL)
|Simone Bolelli (ITA)
|Blaz Kavcic (SLO)
Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships (Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.A.): In a rematch of last year's Lexington Challenger final, James Duckworth avenged his 2013 defeat to James Ward, emerging with a 6-3, 6-4 win on Sunday. The match was moved indoors due to persistent rain and the Australian took full advantage of the faster conditions, firing eight aces, winning 85 per cent of first serve points and converting on all three break opportunities. It was the 22 year old's first ATP Challenger Tour crown.
President's Cup (Astana, Kazakhstan): Ricardas Berankis overturned a three-match Challenger losing skid in impressive fashion, winning his third title and first in more than four years in Astana. The Lithuanian held off fourth seed Marsel Ilhan 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in Sunday's final. Ilhan falls to 3-8 in title matches with the loss.
What the Players are Saying
Goffin: "I was looking for some confidence, that’s why I went to the Challengers. To play Jarkko here, in front of his own fans was a great challenge.
”I served really well and it helped me to stay in the match until 3-3 in the first set when Nieminen began the match very aggressively. Then I stayed focused, and played a really good tie-break.
"Physically I feel good, really fit. I'm ready to continue. I don’t spend a lot of energy in my play. I play fast and move well and the conditions here were good for me."
Nieminen: "I played my best tennis of the whole week in the first set, but I couldn’t put a final touch on it. David was an opponent of another caliber than the rest."
Bolelli (pictured above, photo credit: Oberstaufen Cup): "It was a great week for me. I improved day by day. It really was not easy for me today, because the court was very slippery in the rain. I won a few more of the important points that made the difference."
Berrer: "Simone was just a bit better today and I'm sure we will hear from him again in ATP [World Tour] tournaments in the next few weeks."
Duckworth: “I think it has been a gradual process of evolving my game. My trainers and I have put a lot of effort toward playing more aggressively, coming forward more, and making things happen under pressure. Playing aggressively is what I felt I did well today.”
Ward: "It was tough. I had a couple chances. I missed too many balls and it's disappointing, but move on and try to play better next week."
Rik de Voest (@RikdeVoest) July 26, 2014
The Open Castilla y Leon has a rich 23-year history on the ATP Challenger Tour, located at the Villa de El Espinar in Segovia, Spain. Past champions include Sergi Bruguera (2000), Rafael Nadal (2003), Juan Martin del Potro (2006) and Fernando Verdasco (2007). Adrian Mannarino is the top seed and young guns Kyle Edmund and Christian Garin are also present.
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The USTA Pro Circuit US Open Wild Card Challenge heads north of the border to Vancouver. Marcos Baghdatis is the top seed at the $100k event. Rik de Voest is competing in the last tournament of his career.
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The inaugural International Tennis Tournament of Cortina welcomes a strong field to the Italian city, nestled in the southern Alps. Simone Bolelli, seeded second, and No. 5 seed Filippo Volandri lead the home charge. Top seed Daniel Gimeno-Traver opens with a high-profile meeting with last week's Vegeta Croatia Open Umag quarter-finalist Borna Coric, age 17.
Pablo Cuevas is the top seed at the second edition of the Svijany Open, in Liberec, Czech Republic. Cuevas, who won his maiden ATP World Tour title earlier this month at the SkiStar Swedish Open, is enjoying a strong run of form, having triumphed in Umag last week. Blaz Rola is seeded second.
Watch free live streaming from the ATP Challenger Tour this week...
Segovia, Spain, Centre Court
Liberec, Czech Republic, Centre Court
Cortina, Italy, Centre Court