Much At Stake In Challenger Season Finale
On Sunday, the Nitto ATP Finals celebrated its newest champion under the bright lights of The O2 in London. Alexander Zverev gave the tennis world a fresh glimpse into the future as he claimed his biggest title.
Zverev's victory marked the conclusion of the ATP World Tour season, but one week remains on the ATP Challenger Tour. Players have one last opportunity to jockey for position in the year-end ATP Rankings, with a handful continuing their quest for coveted Top 100 spots.
A pair of $50,000 tournaments cap the season on the Challenger circuit, with the carpet courts of Andria, Italy and outdoor hard courts of Pune, India thrust into the spotlight. The Andria e Castel del Monte Challenger is back for a sixth straight year, maintaining its traditional season-ending spot on the calendar. And in Pune, the KPIT MSLTA Challenger ends a two-week Indian swing, marking a celebration of tennis in the country.
Ugo Humbert leads a strong field in Andria, which also includes home favourites Lorenzo Sonego and Paolo Lorenzi, as well as fellow #NextGenATP stars Corentin Moutet and Liam Caruana. Caruana is coming off an appearance in the Next Gen ATP Finals after winning the Italian wild card competition.
The 20-year-old Humbert will be one to watch in 2019 after registering a dominant second half of the season. He earned a nomination for Newcomer of the Year in the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards Presented By Moët & Chandon. The top seed in Andria, he enters the week at No. 100 in the ATP Rankings and will be looking to finish the year as the youngest Frenchman in the Top 100.
Humbert is one of three players vying for Top 100 finishes in Andria, with No. 107 Sonego and No. 109 Lorenzi needing to win the title to achieve the feat. Defending champion Uladzimir Ignatik is also back and could face Humbert in the second round.
Meanwhile, in Pune, No. 102 Radu Albot is the top seed and bidding for a third straight year-end Top 100 berth. He is joined by freshly minted Indian No. 1 Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who is coming off a title in nearby Bengaluru. Just one month ago, Gunneswaran was sitting at No. 170, but a 12-3 stretch has since moved him to the precipice of a Top 100 breakthrough, soaring to No. 110. He needs to win the title in Pune to have a chance.
Albot and Gunneswaran are accompanied by last year's runner-up Ramkumar Ramanathan, who reached his first ATP World Tour final earlier this year in Newport, as well as 18-year-old Spaniard Nicola Kuhn, 20-year-old Brit Jay Clarke and rising Aussies Marc Polmans and Max Purcell.
Watch free live streams of all the action from Andria and Pune at ATPChallengerTour.com.