Tiafoe Toasts Back-To-Back Challenger Clay Crowns
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
Open du Pays D’Aix (Aix en Provence, France): Frances Tiafoe is flourishing on the clay this campaign. The #NextGenATP American secured back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles on the green clay (Sarasota) and the red clay (Aix en Provence) for his fourth trophy at this level. Victories over fellow #NextGenATP prospects Quentin Halys and Reilly Opelka earned the 19 year old a spot in the final. A battling 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) win over third seed Jeremy Chardy chalked up Tiafoe’s first Top 100 win on red clay, earning a career-high No. 65 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The French Challenger title sends Tiafoe to third in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
FILA Seoul Open Challenger (Seoul, South Korea): Two tournaments in Korea within a fortnight and two titles for Thomas Fabbiano. The Italian lifted the trophy in Gimcheon (d. Gabashvili) before replicating his success in Seoul with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph over 19 year old Korean Soon Woo Kwon. A third ATP Challenger Tour title of 2017 earns Fabbiano a 32-place rise to World No. 101.
Karshi Challenger (Karshi, Uzbekistan): Belarusian Egor Gerasimov navigated past all his opponents in straight sets, before a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over Cem Ilkel added to his title in St. Brieuc, France, (d. Kamke) in March. As a result, Gerasimov’s position in the Emirates ATP Rankings is boosted by 55 spots to World No. 170.
Rome Garden Open (Rome, Italy): Marco Cecchinato defeated second seed Nicolas Kicker and Italian Gianluigi Quinzi on home soil en route to the final. The World No. 105 secured a fourth ATP Challenger Tour title with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Jozef Kovalik.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Egor Gerasimov: “I don’t feel like a champion, but I’m very happy. I’ve already been in Uzbekistan for a month, playing Futures and preparing for Challengers. I’m keeping focused all of the time and I’ve had very good preparation, which was key this week.
"I think every year the players on the ATP Challenger Tour become stronger and everything becomes stronger every year,” added the 24 year old. “I will try to get closer to the Top 100. I think that’s my main goal for 2017.”
A LOOK AHEAD
Four tournaments fill a busy billing this week. Three-time finalist (2004, 2008 and 2010) Yen-Hsun Lu and Vasek Pospisil lead the strong field on hard courts at the $150,000 Challenger event in Busan, South Korea. Teenagers Soon Woo Kwon and Duckhee Lee will hope to go deep into the draw in front of home support.
Onto the clay at the €106,000 event in Bordeaux, France, where all eight seeds are in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. The tournament is held at the historic Villa Primrose Tennis Club, which opened for play in 1897. Aix en Provence finalists Tiafoe and Chardy are also joined by 2016 champion Rogerio Dutra Silva and four French wildcards.
Karshi finalists Gerasimov and Ilkel return to action in Uzbekistan at the $75,000 clay event Samarkand. World No. 124 Sergiy Stakhovsky tops the billing alongside two-time champion (2013 and 2015) Teymuraz Gabashvili.
Germany is also hosting on the ATP Challenger Tour this week with the €64,000 event in Heilbronn. #NextGenATP quartet Alexander Bublik, Stefan Kozlov, Casper Ruud and Denis Shapovalov will vie for the title in a field led by Argentine Nicolas Kicker.
ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: The ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallenger at twitter.com/ATPChallenger.