Bellucci Makes Triumphant Challenger Return In Braunschweig
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
Sparkassen Open (Braunschweig, Germany): Top seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil made his first ATP Challenger Tour event of 2016 a memorable one by defeating second seed Inigo Cervantes of Spain, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. Bellucci has now won nine career Challenger singles title, all of them on clay. He also won in Braunschweig in 2012 before going to win his first ATP World Tour title two weeks later in Gstaad.
Bastad Challenger (Bastad, Sweden): Second seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina won his second ATP Challenger Tour title of the summer with a convincing victory over fifth seed Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain, 6-3, 6-2. Zeballos also won the $50,000 event last month in Poprad Tatry, Czech Republic. He now has 16 ATP Challenger Tour singles titles, including 14 on clay.
Nielsen Pro Tennis Championship (Winnetka, Illinois): In an all-#NextGen final, top seed Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan defeated No. 8 seed Frances Tiafoe of the United States, 6-3, 6-2. The 20 year old was in top form all week and didn’t drop a set. He now has three ATP Challenger Tour titles, but this is his first outside of Asia. Nishioka is also projected to move into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings when the newest standings are released.
Tiafoe is still looking for his first ATP Challenger Tour title, dropping to 0-4 in finals.
Milo Open (Cali, Colombia): Seventh seed Darian King became the first player from Barbados to win an ATP Challenger Tour title by upsetting top seed Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. The win also marked King's first victory over a Top 100 player in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
The 35-year-old Estrella Burgos was looking for his sixth ATP Challenger Tour title, with three of his previous wins coming in Colombia.
Internazionali di Tennis dell’Umbria (Todi, Italy): In a battle between two players competing in their first ATP Challenger Tour final, qualifier Miljan Zekic of Serbia defeated qualifier Stefano Napolitano of Italy, 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-3. The 27 year old will move to a new career-high Emirates ATP Ranking in the newest standings when he lands well inside the Top 200.
A LOOK AHEAD
Three Challengers are on the calendar next week, with a new $75,000 event in Winnipeg, Canada, taking top billing. American Bjorn Fratangelo is the top seed, while Nishioka and Tiafoe will look to keep their current form going as the No. 2 and No. 7 seeds, respectively. Other notable names in the draw include former Top 40 player Marinko Matosevic and 15-year-old Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime, who reached the boys’ singles final this year at Roland Garros.
The $50,000 tournament in San Benedetto, Italy, returns for the 12th year. Local favourites are taking the top spots, with last year’s finalist Alessandro Giannessi as the top seed and Luca Vanni as the No. 2 seed. Napolitano will also look to continue his current form, while former Top 25 player Filippo Volandri of Italy seeks his first Challenger title of the year.
The $50,000 event in Poznan, Poland, returns for the 13th consecutive year, with past champions including David Goffin and Jerzy Janowicz. Radu Albot of Moldova will look to add his name to that list as the top seed, while Tobias Kamke of Germany is the No. 2 seed. Pedja Krstin of Serbia, a winner this year in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, is the No. 4 seed.
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