Heart-stopping Finals Aplenty In Week 12 Of ATP Challenger Tour

Rodionov wins Challenger 100 event in Biel
March 27, 2023
Ricardas Berankis celebrates winning the 2023 St. Brieuc Challenger.
Philippe Kermoal
Ricardas Berankis celebrates winning the 2023 St. Brieuc Challenger. By Grant Thompson

It was a weekend of comebacks and thrilling championship matches on the ATP Challenger Tour, three of four tournaments were decided in final-set tie-breaks.

Ricardas Berankis and Hugo Grenier survived three-set finals to claim Challenger titles while Alessandro Giannessi fended off a championship point in Zadar, Croatia to win his fourth Challenger crown. In Switzerland, Jurij Rodionov successfully defended his title at the Biel Challenger.

Berankis survived home hope Dan Added in the St. Brieuc Challenger final to win his 14th Challenger title. Despite having two match points in the second set, Berankis was pushed to a decider but ultimately prevailed 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-6(5) to win the Open Saint-Brieuc Armor Agglomeration.

ATP Challenger Tour 

En route to his first Challenger title since August 2019 (Vancouver), the 32-year-old Berankis ousted top seed Antoine Escoffier in the quarter-finals.

In Las Franquesas Del Valles, Spain, second seed Grenier rallied from a set down in each of his final three matches to claim his fourth Challenger title.

In the championship match, the Frenchman completed a comeback from 2-5 in the deciding set to defeat British qualifier Billy Harris 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3) and win the Challenger Club Els Gorchs.

<a href=''>Hugo Grenier</a> (left) and <a href=''>Billy Harris</a> at the Las Franquesas del Valles Challenger trophy presentation.
Hugo Grenier (left) and Billy Harris at the Las Franquesas del Valles Challenger trophy presentation. Credit: Jordi Ramos

“This week was amazing for me because the beginning of the season hasn’t been easy for me,” Grenier said. “I won [the semi-final and final] in a third-set tie-break so for me it’s an amazing week. It’s always good to win those long matches.”

Harris was competing in his first Challenger final after upsetting top seed Max Purcell in the final four to end the Aussie’s 18-match win streak.

On the clay courts of Croatia, Giannessi saved a championship point at 5/6 in the third-set tie-break to escape Sebastian Ofner 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6) and win the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open.

Despite holding a 4-0, 40/0 lead in the deciding set against Ofner, the 32-year-old Italian was forced to a tie-break before scoring his fourth Challenger title and first since May 2019 (Vicenza).

At the FlowBank Challenger Biel in Switzerland, fans were treated to a final between the 2021 champion Liam Broady and the reigning titlist Rodionov, who dropped just one set en route to defending his title. The Austrian Rodionov led Broady 6-3 before the Brit retired with a wrist injury.

<a href=''>Jurij Rodionov</a> in action Sunday at the Biel Challenger.
Jurij Rodionov in action Sunday at the Biel Challenger. Credit: Meierhans Fotografie

The 23-year-old Rodionov, who is No. 126 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, earned his sixth Challenger title and first of this season.

“[Biel] is like home to me,” Rodionov said. “I haven’t lost a match on this soil, it just feels great. I hope I can continue my momentum into the next few weeks and gain a lot of points before Roland Garros and Wimbledon to hopefully get into the main draw.

“Unfortunately [Sunday’s] final didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I wish Liam a quick recovery.”


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