Gombos Reflects On Run From Lucky Loser To Brest Winner
Slovakian looks for more Challenger success to finish 2016
Norbert Gombos was already eliminated in last week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Brest, France, before main draw action even began. But with the help of a withdrawal, the Slovakian made an improbable run from Lucky Loser to tournament champion.
When #NextGen star Quentin Halys was unable to take the court, the 26-year-old Gombos took his place in the draw and found his top form. He defeated fellow Slovakian and second seed Lukas Lacko in a third-set tie-break in the quarter-finals, then prevailed over Yannik Reuter of Belgium in the championship match to win the biggest Challenger title of his career.
“I was disappointed I couldn’t make it into the main draw there after a good run in Asia, but thankfully Quentin could not make it. I knew I had another chance and didn’t want to miss it,” said Gombos. “I played my best match in the final and was really happy with that. I had a really hard year with my surgery, so this victory meant a lot to me.”
But after briefly soaking in the win for a few moments, Gombos immediately had to refocus and set his sights on this week’s $75,000 Challenger in Budapest, Hungary. He prevailed in his opening match on Wednesday night over Hungarian wild card Peter Nagy before falling to seventh seed Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.
“I couldn’t have a big celebration because I had to travel to Budapest,” said Gombos. “But me and my coach went out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant, had a bit to drink and lots of great food.”
After a difficult season due to injury, Gombos has turned his season around over the past two months. He’s posted a 17-6 record in Challengers since the end of August, which includes a runner-up finish in Orleans, France, and semi-final showings in Izmir, Turkey and Bangkok, Thailand.
Despite the early loss in Budapest, Gombos said he was impressed by what the tournament had to offer in its debut year.
“We have everything in one place, which is nice,” said Gombos. “The hotel is walking distance from the tournament and the court are great too.”