© Gerry Kripps

Dudi Sela won his 18th Challenger title and fourth in Vancouver.

Sela Adds To Challenger Legacy With 18th Title

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
Odlum Brown VanOpen (Vancouver, Canada): Dudi Sela was born and raised in Kiryat Shmona, Israel and currently lives in Tel Aviv, but the 30 year old might want to consider taking up residence in Vancouver after winning his fourth title in the Canadian city. Eleven years removed from his first Odlum Brown VanOpen title at the tournament’s inaugural edition, Sela downed John-Patrick Smith 6-4, 7-5 in one hour and 33 minutes, saving four of five break points.

"In Israel we practise on a court where the balls are not bouncing high and it's the same here," Sela told USTA broadcaster Mike Cation following the match. "I'm not that tall. This one suits me very well. I have many friends and family here. I feel at home. They are pushing me and I don't want to let them down. I feel like I'm playing in Israel."

With the title, Sela moved into sole ownership of second place on the all-time Challenger titles list, breaking from a tie with Japan’s Go Soeda with his 18th crown. He is now three titles behind Yen-Hsun Lu for first position. In addition, Sela became just the fifth player in Challenger history to win four or more titles at the same tournament, joining Hyung-Taik Lee (7 – Seoul), Marcos Daniel (6 – Bogota), Potito Starace (4 – Napoli) and Ricardo Mello (4 – Sao Paulo). He previously triumphed in ‘05, ‘08 and ‘10.

ATP CHALLENGER TOUR TITLE LEADERS

Player
Titles
1) Yen-Hsun Lu
21
2) Dudi Sela
18
3) Go Soeda
17
4) Takao Suzuki
16

"Of course I would prefer it to be ATP World Tour titles, but when I'm not playing my best in ATP I go to the Challengers to get my confidence back. It's good to go back and practise a lot and I think you're more relaxed in a Challenger and work on some things in your game."

Sela, whose wife is expecting their second child, expressed that chasing points for entry into tournaments is not his priority anymore. Family comes first and tennis will always be there.

"It's always nice to win a tournament and win a lot of matches. I didn't do that for a long time and this is a nice feeling. Every match I played better this week, so I feel really good and I want to play well in the US Open."

Meanwhile, second seed John Millman saw his match win streak come to an end at 11 straight with a second round defeat. The Aussie had won consecutive titles in Lexington and Aptos entering the week and is one of four players to achieve a win streak of 10 or more this year.

Maserati Challenger by Cittadino (Meerbusch, Germany): Andreas Haider-Maurer is closing in on a return to the Top 50 of the Emirates ATP Rankings after winning his ninth Challenger crown 6-2, 6-4 over Carlos Berlocq on Sunday in Meerbusch. It was the first final between Top 100 players this year, with Haider-Maurer at No. 61 and Berlocq No. 60. The top seeded Austrian needed six match points to prevail, saving seven of eight break points faced. He avenged four straight defeats to the Argentine, in what was their first meeting since 2011. Berlocq, meanwhile, registered his 250th match win on the circuit in reaching his 24th final. The loss ends his run of consecutive finals won at six.

Watch Haider-Maurer Uncovered

Internazionali di Tennis del Friuli Venezia Giulia (Cordenons, Italy): Third seed Filip Krajinovic is back in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings thanks to his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title run. The Serb, who reached a career-high World No. 86 in April, won his second title of the year, having beaten Paul Henri Mathieu in Braunschweig. He triumphed when Adrian Ungur retired down 5-7, 6-4, 4-1 with a right upper leg injury.

Elsewhere in the draw, Paolo Lorenzi topped countryman Filippo Volandri in a battle of the second and third winningest players in Challenger history, respectively. Italian veterans Lorenzi (317-208) and Volandri (306-171) surprisingly met for just the third time, having split their previous two encounters.

What The Players Said
Haider-Maurer: "Today I played very good, right from the beginning of the match. I took risks and often hit the lines. At the end of the match I got nervous, but I think that's normal in such a final, especially if you have an opponent like Carlos Berlocq on clay on the other side.

"From day to day I have played better and better this week and I felt very comfortable."

WHAT'S AHEAD
World No. 104 Daniel Munoz-de la Nava continues to close in on a remarkable first appearance in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at age 33. He is the top seed at the lone tournament of the week, in Manerbio, Italy. The event returns to the Challenger circuit after a three-year hiatus. Ungur, who won the title in 2011, is unseeded in this edition.