Shapovalov Takes Maiden Challenger Title On Home Soil
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
Challenger Banque Nationale Drummondville (Drummondville, Canada): #NextGenATP player Denis Shapovalov delighted the home crowd with his first Challenger title by defeating fourth seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 6-3, 6-2. He is the youngest Challenger winner this year and the first 17-year-old Challenger titlist since Norwegian Casper Ruud prevailed last September in Seville, Spain.
Drummondville has become a second home on tour for Shapovalov. having won his first Challenger match there last year and first title today. Shapovalov’s time in Drummondville this year is also projected to push him into the Top 200 of the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the youngest player currently in that echelon.
Shapovalov is just the third Canadian champion since 2014, joining Frank Dancevic (Kosice, Slovakia '14) and Peter Polansky (Gatineau, Canada '16). At 17 years, 11 months, he's also the youngest Canadian to win a Challenger title.
Youth was also on full display in his semi-final win over good friend and fellow Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. The match was the youngest Challenger semi-final or final in nearly 30 years, since Richard Fromberg (17) defeated Johan Anderson (16) in Madeira, Portugal in 1988.
Watch: Auger-Aliassime Hot Shot
BMW Of Dallas Irving Tennis Classic (Irving, Texas): Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain continued his love affair with Irving by taking the title over Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. The 27 year old is now 14-1 in Irving, having won here in 2015 (d. Smyczek) and finished runner-up last year (l. Granollers). He picks up his 12th Challenger title with the win in Sunday’s final.
Pingshan Open (Shenzhen, China): Second seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan continues his outstanding start to 2017 by prevailing 7-6(6), 6-4 in the final over sixth seed Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia. The 28 year old now has eight Challenger titles and two this season, having prevailed earlier this month in Yokohama, Japan. All of his Challenger wins have come in Asia, but this is his first title in China since prevailing in Shanghai in 2013.
Copa Ciudad De Tigre (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Third seed Taro Daniel of Japan dashed the title hopes of eighth seed and local favourite Leonardo Mayer with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory in the final. The 24 year old earned his fifth Challenger title with the win. Daniel continues to establish himself as a clay-court expert, having won his last four titles on clay.
A LOOK AHEAD
There are two Challengers on the schedule this week, with the $50,000 event in Guadalajara, Mexico, taking top billing. This event returns for the seventh straight year and features Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic as the top seed. Vasek Pospisil, who made headlines for his win over World No. 1 Andy Murray in Indian Wells, is the second seed. Former Top 15 player Jerzy Janowicz is also in the draw and Shapovalov looks to build on his run in Drummondville.
A new event is also on the schedule with a $50,000 Challenger in Quanzhou, China. Sugita looks for another big week in China as the top seed and #NextGenATP player Duckhee Lee of Korea is the second seed.
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