Top Challenger Performers Making Strides In ATP Rankings
It happens every year on the ATP Challenger Tour. Players making the biggest strides on the circuit are not only scoring valuable match wins and trophies, but significant gains in the ATP Rankings.
The 2018 season is no exception. Among those with the highest Challenger win percentages, three of the top four have made some of the biggest progress in surging up the ATP Rankings. Challenger success also inevitably leads to opportunities to showcase skills on the ATP World Tour and many have already taken full advantage.
With the mid-season pole in the rearview mirror, we review the biggest movers to career-highs in the Top 150. It's no surprise that all of them have made their mark on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2018.
Juan Ignacio Londero (ARG)
+240 to No. 122
For Londero, success is well worth the wait. The 24-year-old is bursting onto the scene in 2018, behind 30 match wins and a pair of titles in Mexico City and Marburg, Germany. After first beginning his ascent in 2014, a series of health issues would see him plummet down the ATP Rankings. But now fully healthy, a resurgent campaign has injected new life into the Argentine. Not only does he boast the fourth-highest win-loss percentage on tour (30-9, .769), he has reaped the rewards with 240-spot rise to a career-high World No. 122.
Ugo Humbert (FRA)
+237 to No. 141
The 20-year-old Frenchman is the newest kid on the block, having just recently made his mark with three consecutive final appearances in July. He would lift his first Challenger trophy last week in Segovia, capping a stunning ascent to a career-high No. 141 in the ATP Rankings. One year ago, Humbert was outside the Top 700 and today he is one of two #NextGenATP Frenchmen (also Moutet) knocking on the door of the Top 100. It just goes to show that one breakthrough tournament is often all it takes. Entering July, Humbert owned five Challenger matches wins. After a 13-2 stretch, he is now the hottest player on tour.
Jason Kubler (AUS)
+236 to No. 105
Kubler's health woes have been well documented over the years, but the Aussie is finally healthy and taking aim at the Top 100. There is no doubt that he has the game to compete with the very best and now the confidence and consistency are coming together. After notching his first hard-court title in his first hard-court tournament late last year, he has thrived on the surface in 2018, winning a pair of titles in Playford, Australia and Winnipeg, Canada. Moreover, Kubler's 31 match wins has him tied with Hugo Dellien for the tour lead, vaulting him 236 spots to No. 105.
Alex de Minaur (AUS)
+163 to No. 45
Yes, you read that correctly. It's not often that a player breaks into the Top 200, Top 100 and Top 50 in the same season. De Minaur has already achieved the feat and it's only August. The Aussie teen is establishing himself as a significant threat this year, not only on the ATP Challenger Tour, but on the ATP World Tour as well. He has reached finals at the 500 level in Washington, 250 level in Sydney and at a trio of Challengers, lifting his maiden trophy on the grass of Nottingham. One of three teens in the Top 50, De Minaur's .783 win percentage (18-5) is second-highest on the Challenger circuit this year.
Hugo Dellien (BOL)
+141 to No. 100
It has been a historic breakthrough campaign for Dellien and his native Bolivia. The first titlist from his country since Mario Martinez more than 30 years ago, he is also the first to crack the Top 100 since his countryman in 1984. Five years after making his Challenger debut, Dellien has finally put it all together, crashing onto the scene with a tour-leading three titles (Sarasota, Savannah, Vicenza) and 31 match wins. He broke into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on 30 July, one of the biggest sporting achievements for the developing South American nation.
Hubert Hurkacz (POL)
+126 to No. 112
One year ago, Poland's #NextGenATP star was sitting outside the Top 400 and looking to find his form on the ATP Challenger Tour. Safe to say that Hurkacz has discovered it in 2018. At 21 years and three months, he became the youngest player from his country to triumph on the circuit since Jerzy Janowicz in 2010, with his victory at home in Poznan. Another final in Zhuhai, China, as well as a first Grand Slam match win at Roland Garros, has the 21-year-old up to a career-high of No. 112 in the ATP Rankings.
Mats Moraing (GER)
+126 to No. 148
After winning his maiden Challenger crown in Koblenz, Germany, in January, Moraing exclaimed that he hopes to complete the climb to the Top 100 by the end of the year. What seemed ambitious at first is now certainly attainable for the 26-year-old German. Behind 28 match wins, the big-serving 6'6" German is up to a career-high No. 148 in the ATP Rankings.
Jason Jung (TPE)
+125 to No. 114
It has been seven years since Jung first turned pro and the Taiwanese No. 1 is proving that it's never too late to make your mark. At the age of 29, the former University of Michigan standout rose to a career-high No. 114 in the ATP Rankings two weeks ago. Playing the best tennis of his career, he lifted a Challenger trophy for the third consecutive year with his victory in San Francisco in February. And he finally broke through on the ATP World Tour last month, winning his first tour-level match in Newport, en route to the quarter-finals. It came two weeks after making his Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon.