Borges Wins Biggest Career Title At Phoenix Challenger

Portuguese No. 1 earns second Challenger crown of 2023
March 20, 2023
Nuno Borges is crowned champion at the premiere Challenger 175 event in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mary Grace Grabill
Nuno Borges is crowned champion at the premiere Challenger 175 event in Phoenix, Arizona. By Grant Thompson

Nuno Borges has done two things on the ATP Challenger Tour this season: win matches and lift trophies.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old extended his Challenger-match winning streak to 10 by triumphing at the Arizona Tennis Classic. Borges rallied from a set down in the final to defeat qualifier Alexander Shevchenko 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and win the premiere Challenger 175 event.

“So proud, so happy. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep tonight,” Borges said. “Honestly I don’t even know what to say, I was in qualies when I first signed up, but got in last minute to the main draw. Really low expectations with having a tough first round right away. Kept fighting every match one at a time.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

After earning his highest-ranked win in the opening round against World No. 38 Diego Schwartzman, Borges built upon his momentum to claim the biggest title of his career. Following his upset victory against the Argentine, Borges then defeated Roman Safiullin, Alexei Popyrin, Jan-Lennard Struff, and Shevchenko to win his fourth Challenger title.

“Somehow I found myself in the final and I finally did it,” Borges said. “I feel like I’m still absorbing it but it’s unbelievable. These last few weeks have been amazing. First Challenger 175 event, it’s a very special place. It motivates me a lot for everything else.”

<a href=''>Nuno Borges</a> celebrates his title at the <a href=''>Arizona Tennis Classic</a> with a pool plunge.
Nuno Borges celebrates his title at the Arizona Tennis Classic with a pool plunge. Credit: Mary Grace Grabill

The former Mississippi State University standout displayed first-class court coverage and stayed consistent on serve in Sunday’s final, including winning 15 of 21 points off his second delivery. Despite dropping the opening set against Shevchenko, Borges relied on what he believes has been the key to his recent success.

“Trying to problem solve the one match I have ahead of me, not worrying about much else,” Borges said. “Once I’m [in the match], I just leave it all out there.”

Now at a career-high No. 68 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Borges has won 20 of 22 sets played at the Challenger level this year, including triumphing at last month’s Monterrey Challenger.

Shevchenko, 22, completed a strong week with a finalist finish at the Phoenix Country Club. The qualifier earned victories against Gael Monfils, Marc-Andrea Huesler, Matteo Berrettini and Quentin Halys. On Monday, Shevchenko will rise to a career-high No. 101 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

In other Challenger Tour action Sunday, Hamad Medjedovic defeated Croatian Nino Serdarusic 6-4, 6-3 to win the Kiskut Open in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. The 19-year-old Medjedovic, who climbs to a career-high 192, is the fourth Serbian teenager to win multiple Challenger titles, joining Novak Djokovic (3), Janko Tipsarevic (3), and Miomir Kecmanovic (2).

In Vina del Mar, Chile, Thiago Seyboth Wild defeated Frenchman Hugo Gaston 7-5, 6-1 to win the Vina Challenger Tennis. Seyboth Wild, 23, earned a special exemption after a finalist finish at last week’s Santiago Challenger. The Brazilian has won 11 of his past 12 Challenger-level matches.

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