Pospisil Returns To Top 100 With Busan Challenger Title
Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to who’s in action in the week to come
Busan Open (Busan, South Korea): Vasek Pospisil lifted a first ATP Challenger Tour trophy since Vancouver 2013, having swept aside the field in Busan without dropping a set. The 26 year old capped a fine week with a 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Go Soeda, needing just 55 minutes to land a fifth Challenger title. The former World No. 25 returns to the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since July 2016, rising 24 places to No. 82.
BNP Paribas Primrose (Bordeaux, France): Top seed Steve Darcis clinched his 10th Challenger title in the 10th edition of the prestigious clay-court event. On the grounds of the renowned Villa Primrose, Darcis battled past defending champion Rogerio Dutra Silva 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-5 in the longest final of the season at two hours and 39 minutes. The Belgian’s reward is rising to a career-high No. 38. He is just the third player aged 33-and-over to debut in the Top 40 of the Emirates ATP Rankings in the past 40 years, joining Italian duo Gianluca Pozzi (2001) and Paolo Lorenzi (2016).
Also in Bordeaux, #NextGenATP Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis ignited his comeback from a brutal run of injuries by competing in the doubles alongside countryman Alex Bolt. Despite falling in the quarter-finals to third seeds Purav Raja and Divij Sharan, Kokkinakis was relieved to be back in competitive action. “I just can’t wait to get onto the singles court really,” stated the 21 year old. “The biggest target is to stay healthy. I hope the results will come, but I need to stay on court healthy and build up my work load from there.”
Neckarcup (Heilbronn, Germany): Filip Krajinovic dropped one set in eight matches to be crowned champion on the ATP Challenger Tour for the first time in two years. The Serbian qualified for the event, managed to save three match points in the semi-finals against sixth seed Guido Pella, before securing a fifth Challenger title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Norbert Gombos. A right wrist injury sidelined the 25 year old for a portion of 2016, but his perseverance had paid off, rising 91 places to No. 203.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Vasek Pospisil: “It feels great to take the title in Busan, it was a long trip and great way to cap it off,” said the Canadian. “I worked on the right things in the days leading up to the event and I really got into a nice flow. I was serving extremely well so It was tough for my opponents to break. It put pressure on them and that gave me a bit more breathing space. I'm glad to be back in the Top 100 and playing at a high level again."
Steve Darcis: “I had a tough start to the week, but I managed to fight. My game improved match after match, before a very good performance in the semis (d. De Greef). I was down a lot in the final, so I am very happy to win this final, at my club, it feels great.”
Adrian Menendez-Maceiras: “It feels great, I had a very tough week,” said the Spaniard. “I had three matches going the distance in the earlier rounds, mentally I was exhausted, but my physical condition is great. My recovery was perfect and I felt a lot better from the semi-finals onwards, so it was an unbelievable feeling to take the title.
”I’m in the best form of my career, the title in Leon proved I can win tournaments. Now I’m more relaxed and happy on court, so I need to keep working, to keep enjoying my passion.”
A LOOK AHEAD
A $50,000 clay-court event in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, debuts on the ATP Challenger Tour, with top seed Konstantin Kravchuk targeting a fourth Challenger title. Over to Mestre, Italy, for the €43,000 event and Australian John Millan leads the field. Gianluigi Quinzi will hope to go deep, having qualified for the main draw on home soil.
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