Ebden Returns To Top 100 With Canberra Crown
A LOOK BACK
Apis Canberra International (Canberra, Australia): The Australian summer of tennis kicked off last week with Jason Kubler hoisting his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy in three years. Another Aussie would end a title drought on Sunday, as Matthew Ebden claimed his first Challenger crown since 2015 with a 7-6(4) 6-4 victory over second seed Taro Daniel. Ebden, who reached the final at the ATP World Tour event in Newport in July, is back in the Top 100 for the first time since 2014 after undergoing knee surgery. On the comeback trail, the 29-year-old ascends to No. 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with his seventh Challenger title in total.
Charlottesville Men's Pro Challenger (Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.): Tim Smyczek took the ninth edition of the indoor hard court event in Charlottesville, marking the third straight year an American has prevailed on home soil. Smyczek downed countryman and top seed Tennys Sandgren 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2 in exactly two hours, rallying from a set and a break down. It was a significant victory for the 29-year-old, who claimed his first ATP Challenger Tour title in more than two years (Tiburon 2015). He rises 31 spots to No. 158 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Bauer Watertechnology Cup (Eckental, Germany): Maximilian Marterer is sprinting to the finish line in 2017 with a bevy of strong results on the ATP Challenger Tour. A title in Banja Luka in September was followed by victory in Monterrey in October, and the German was not done. He lifted his third trophy in as many months on Sunday on home soil in Eckental, defeating Jerzy Janowicz 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-3. Marterer rises to a career-high No. 90 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. It was a hard-fought run to the title, which included a pair of comeback wins from a set down in the first and second rounds.
Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil (Guayaquil, Ecuador): Austria's Gerald Melzer won ATP Challenger Tour titles in consecutive weeks, going back-to-back in Lima, Peru and Guayaquil, Ecuador. He defeated Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-1 for the trophy in Guayaquil on Saturday, dismissing the Argentine in just 56 minutes. Melzer is set to return to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since January.
Shenzhen Longhua Open (Shenzhen, China): Third seed Radu Albot clinched his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title and first of the year, defeating qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 6-4 in Shenzhen. Albot finished runner-up to Miomir Kecmanovic in last week's final in nearby Suzhou, but would go one step further to cap the Chinese swing. The Moldovan rises 17 spots to No. 86 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, just five positions off his career-high.
A LOOK AHEAD
Five events are on the calendar this week, including two prestigious European tournaments. A stacked Slovak Open in Bratislava welcomes defending champion Norbert Gombos, fifth seed and 2004 winner Marcos Baghdatis, top seed Mikhail Kukushkin and #NextGenATP Felix Auger-Aliassime and Sebastian Ofner. Meanwhile, in Mouilleron le Captif, France, 2015 champ Benoit Paire and Germany's Peter Gojowczyk lead the charge. Marterer looks to add a fourth title in three months, while Alexander Bublik and Elias Ymer highlight the #NextGenATP contenders.
On the clay of Montevideo, home hope and top seed Pablo Cuevas returns in search of a third title (2009, 2014). Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Michael Mmoh and Stefan Kozlov lead the teen charge on the indoor hard courts of Knoxville, U.S.A. Finally, Albot and Ebden look to go back-to-back as they descend on Kobe, Japan, where eighth seed John Millman lifted the trophy in 2015.