Ymer Continues Ascent With Maiden Challenger Title
Citta’ di Caltanissetta (Caltanissetta, Italy): The young guns are making their move in the Emirates ATP Rankings and 19-year-old Swede Elias Ymer refuses to be left behind. The rising star captured his maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown on the clay of Caltanissetta, overcoming a red hot Bjorn Fratangelo 6-3, 6-2 in 85 minutes. He staved off all four break points faced, becoming the fifth teenage titlist on the circuit this year, joining Jared Donaldson, Hyeon Chung, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Alexander Zverev. Ymer is the first Swede to win since Robin Soderling in Sunrise, U.S.A. in 2009 and is projected to rise to a career-high Top 150 spot in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
Aegon Surbiton Trophy (Surbiton, England): Matthew Ebden rallied from the brink in Saturday’s Aegon Surbiton Trophy final, saving two match points to defeat Denis Kudla 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(5). Ebden survived both championship points at 5-3 in the deciding set to cap a strong week on the grass of Surbiton, claiming his first ATP Challenger Tour title since 2013. It was the Aussie’s fifth crown in eight finals on the circuit and second on grass after winning his maiden title in Nottingham ‘13. Ebden improved to 3-0 against Kudla in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Kudla, who was contesting his seventh ATP Challenger Tour final, is eyeing the $50,000 prize in Tecnifibre’s Young Guns On The Road contest. The American is competing against fellow Tecnifibre clients Filip Peliwo, Jules Marie and Hiroki Moriya, with two criteria determining the champion: on-court performance and social network activity. A jury of three experts will select the winner at the end of the 2015 season. Learn more here.
Sparta Prague Open (Prague, Czech Republic): Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos has had quite the eventful past couple of weeks on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 24 year old needed five match points to claim his second title of the year 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2) over Albert Montanes in Saturday’s Prague final. At three hours and 17 minutes, it was longest final on the circuit this year. The win comes one week after Gombos squandered eight match points in falling to Martin Klizan in the first round in Prostejov. He became one of 11 players with multiple titles this year, having also won on the hard courts of Cherbourg in February.
Hoff Open (Moscow, Russia): Daniel Munoz-de la Nava was forced to battle into the inaugural Hoff Open final, winning a trio of three-set encounters entering Sunday’s title match. It did not take long for the 33-year-old Spaniard to hoist the trophy, however, securing a 6-0, 6-1 rout of Radu Albot in 71 minutes. He broke serve in six of 10 opportunities, claiming his third ATP Challenger Tour title and second of the year (Napoli). Meanwhile, earlier in the week, Teymuraz Gabashvili saw his winning streak come to an end after 12 straight victories. It was the second-longest such streak on the circuit this year after Hyeon Chung’s 14.
What the Players are Saying
Ymer: “I’m really happy to win my first Challenger. I really enjoyed my time in Caltanisetta and I'm really thankful for the support from the crowd.”
Gombos: “I would like to thank especially the spectators who managed to watch the whole match in such heat. Only one or two balls decided today - and everyone saw how big a fighter Albert is. Now I have to visit my physio as soon as possible to be ready for my next tournament in Poprad.”
Ebden: “I was really lucky, he (Kudla) played well all match but I just hung in there. It could’ve gone any way but I played some good points. Thank you to the crowds because you’ve been amazing and to have a full stadium is superb. It’s great to have Surbiton back as part of the Aegon Trophy. There’s nothing like playing grass-court tennis in the U.K.”
There are five tournaments on the docket this week, with three on clay, one on hard and one on grass.
Moscow runner-up Radu Albot is in Fergana, Uzbekistan as the third seed. The 2013 champion is joined by top seed Teymuraz Gabashvili. Meanwhile, the grass-court swing concludes in Ilkley where Malek Jaziri leads the field and Matthew Ebden looks to make it two-for-two. Caltanissetta champ Elias Ymer faces second seed Dudi Sela in the first round.
On clay, the inaugural Blu-Express.com Tennis Cup in Perugia, Italy, features Pablo Carreno Busta and 15-time Challenger champion Carlos Berlocq. Another inaugural clay-court event is in Poprad, Slovakia, where Blaz Kavcic and Norbert Gombos are competing. Defending champion Maximo Gonzalez is in Blois, France, as the top seed, while 2014 runner-up Gastao Elias is seeded fifth.