Ajdukovic, Kypson Soar To Career-Highs After Challenger Triumphs
Ajdukovic returned to the winners’ circle in Kobe, Japan, where he cruised past home hope Sho Shimabukoro 6-4, 6-2 in the Hyogo Noah Challenger final. Ajdukovic, 22, won three deciding-set matches en route to the title.
The split native won his maiden Challenger title in August in Luedenscheid, Germany and following his title run in Japan, Ajdukovic is at a career-high No. 145 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Kypson defeated second seed Alex Michelsen 6-4, 6-3 in the Paine Schwartz Partners Challenger final in Champaign, Illinois. The 24-year-old American started the year outside the Top 500 and has now risen to a career-high No. 192 following his first hard-court title.
“I’ve played a lot on clay, I maybe prefer clay a little bit but I think my game is suitable for faster surfaces as well,” Kypson told commentator Mike Cation. “I think I can play on everything, it’s just a matter of doing the things that are required for each surface. I think one of my skills is that I can adapt to the conditions pretty well. As long as I play the style that needs to, I think I can have success on any surface, so I’m happy to win on a hard court.”
Players from the United States have now tied Italians for third most ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023 (16), trailing Argentina (21) and France (27). Kypson won the USTA’s Roland Garros wild card challenge earlier this season and is now in prime position to win the USTA’s wild card competition for the Australian Open, only trailing Michelsen, who could get into the season’s first major via direct entry.
In other ATP Challenger Tour action, Belgian Zizou Bergs dropped just one set all week at the Challenger Banque Nationale de Drummondville in Canada, where he defeated second seed James Duckworth 6-4, 7-5 in the final to lift his sixth Challenger trophy.
“It’s especially special because it comes after a period that was harder because of an injury I had,” Bergs said. “To have a good, convincing week means a lot to me. It gives me motivation and confidence for finishing this year strong.”
Zizou Bergs celebrates winning the Drummondville Challenger. Credit: Sarah-Jäde Champagne
Bergs, who is No. 152 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, suffered a left wrist injury in July which forced him to hit only slice backhands for three months. The Drummondville Challenger was Bergs’ second tournament since returning to full health.
German Maximilian Marterer rallied past last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Good to Great Challenger final in Danderyd, Sweden. The 28-year-old lefty is a nine-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, including two triumphs this season.
“I came with a lot of confidence from the last weeks to this event,” said Marterer, who made the Ismaning Challenger final earlier this month. “I felt really good from the first practise I had here, so it was about keeping the head down and going round by round.
“It gives me a lot of good emotions and confidence for next year. During the year, it was not easy for me. I was ranked in a different region and had some issues with my body. Never expected to finish inside the Top 100 at the end of the year. It’s crazy how it turned into a positive way.”
Maximilian Marterer wins the Good to Great Challenger in Danderyd, Sweden. Credit: Good to Great Challenger
At the Uruguay Open in Montevideo, Facundo Diaz Acosta was crowned champion after Brazilian Thiago Monteiro was forced to retire due to a right hand injury with the Argentine leading 6-3, 4-3.
Diaz Acosta has enjoyed a career-best season. The 22-year-old made his Top 100 debut in July and has collected four ATP Challenger Tour trophies this year. A pivotal moment came for the Buenos Aires native in the semi-finals Saturday, when he saved three match points to survive Gustavo Heide.