The Rapid Rise Of Oscar Otte in Qingdao Challenger
Before March, Oscar Otte had never won a singles match on the ATP Challenger Tour in six previous attempts.
A victory over Edward Corrie at the Open Harmonie Mutuelle last month laid the foundations for a stunning run this week at the $125,000 event in Qingdao, China.
Otte, currently No. 367 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, qualified for the main draw in Qingdao, and has since won three matches to the loss of just four games to advance into a maiden ATP Challenger Tour semi-final. He defeated local wild card Aoxiong Wang 6-1, 6-0, followed by a 6-1, 6-1 win over rising Australian teenager Alex De Minaur, before a 6-0, 6-1 victory over China's Di Wu.
“I’ve managed to get through matches saving my energy and have just performed better and better,” said Otte. “The conditions here are also very good for me. It’s a slow surface and I have time for my shots, so it suits me.”
As a result, the 23 year old will break into the Top 300 in singles for the first time, an accomplishment he credits to his new strict nutrition regimen and doubles prowess. In fact, Otte has also advanced to the doubles final in Qingdao alongside his countryman Andreas Mies.
“I changed to a healthier diet a couple of months ago, which is helping me physically and mentally, as I no longer get tired on court,” noted Otte. “I’ve also found a way to play my game more consistently. It’s working really well.”
Otte’s doubles ranking is superior at No. 206 and the German believes aspects of this form of the game can enhance his variety and tactical armoury in singles play.
“Playing doubles helps a lot, especially with my return game,” revealed Otte. “I can find a way to the net a lot easier, my volleys have obviously improved a lot, adding more to my aggressive game style. I can now mix it up in singles, playing serve and volley.”
This season Otte frequently plies his trade at Futures events, which has reaped reward with three singles titles and three doubles trophies, but he’s targeting more regular success on the ATP Challenger Tour.
“The difference between the Futures and the Challengers is quite high. On the Challenger Tour the set-up is great, it’s very professional,” added Otte. “The hotels and transport are better and you always have new balls and water! You also have more professional players on the Challenger Tour.”
Otte is thrilled by his deep run in Qingdao and aims to feed off that confidence, but is adamant he wants this tournament to continue.
“I’m really happy so far, but hopefully I have more matches here. I’m not done here yet and I’m always looking forward.”
Otte will look to complete a dream run to the Qingdao final when he faces #NextGenATP player and fifth seed Quentin Halys on Saturday. Watch free live streams of all the action in Qingdao.