Brothers In Arms: Griekspoors Claim Historic Title Double
A LOOK BACK
Aamulehti Tampere Open (Tampere, Finland): It has been decades since the likes of Richard Krajicek, Paul Haarhuis and Jacco Eltingh ruled tennis in The Netherlands. But now, the European nation is on the rise once again. On Sunday, 22-year-old Tallon Griekspoor notched his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Tampere, dropping just one set en route to the crown.
Griekspoor, who defeated third seed Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in the final, continues a dominant trend for Dutch tennis on the Challenger circuit. In June, older brother Scott Griekspoor claimed his first title in Blois, France, and two weeks ago Thiemo de Bakker triumphed on home soil in Scheveningen.
Scott and Tallon claimed a slice of Challenger history with their titles, becoming just the fourth pair of brothers to triumph in a single season since 2000. Most recently, Jurgen Melzer and Gerald Melzer each won two titles last year.
Tallon's title was extra special considering it was his first tournament since Roland Garros qualifying, having struggled with shoulder and leg injuries. He had not won a match at any level since April. Now the second-highest ranked Dutchman, the Haarlem native is up 42 spots to a career-high No. 181 in the ATP Rankings.
"I had injuries and other health problems after French Open qualies," said Griekspoor. "I didn't know what to expect, but I served well the whole tournament. Londero is a fighter, he gives 100 per cent in every point. He is a very difficult and strong opponent. After I won the first set he had the momemtum at the end of the second set and beginning of the third. I managed to break his serve at 3-3 and maybe I was mentally stronger than he was at the end of the match. I'm just really happy about my first Challenger title here in Tampere."
Brothers To Win Challenger Titles In The Same Season (since 2000)
|Tallon Griekspoor & Scott Griekspoor||2018|
|Jurgen Melzer & Gerald Melzer||2017|
|Olivier Rochus & Christophe Rochus||2005|
|Giovanni Lapentti & Nicolas Lapentti||2004|
Challenger Banque Nationale de Granby (Granby, Canada): One month ago, Peter Polansky was on the brink of breaking into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, rising to a career-high No. 110 at the age of 30. Looks like it won't be long before the Canadian reaches the milestone.
Polansky clinched his third ATP Challenger Tour title at the $100,000 event in Granby, prevailing on home soil in front of a packed crowd on Sunday. Runner-up in 2017, the Toronto native went one step further this week, dropping one set en route to the title.
After falling to France's Ugo Humbert in a three tie-break, three-hour marathon in the Gatineau quarter-finals a week ago, Polansky got his revenge on Sunday. He would defeat Humbert 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 for the title, saving eight of 10 break points faced.
“I’m very happy to be leaving here with the title this year," said Polansky. "I tip my hat to the work that Ugo has accomplished in the past two weeks. He’s a player with a lot of potential and he’s also a great guy. The tournament in Granby is special to me. I really appreciated the support from fans all week."
Photo: Sarah-Jade Champagne
Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger (Binghamton, U.S.A.): This week, the $75,000 event in Binghamton, New York, celebrated its 25th anniversary. Needless to say, it was a memorable tournament for all involved. A total of 20 singles matches were completed on Thursday after torrential rain showers washed out play for two straight days.
But when the skies cleared, fans were treated to a world-class display. On Sunday, Jay Clarke defeated Jordan Thompson 6-7(6), 7-6(5), 6-4 for his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title, capturing a dramatic, high-quality two-hour and 56-minute marathon. Thompson was two points from the championship - both on his racquet - at 5/4 in the second set tie-break, but Clarke escaped in thrilling fashion. He would eventually secure the title on his third match point, in what was the longest Challenger final since 2016.
Clarke, who turned 20 during the week, is Great Britain's #NextGenATP hopeful. The Derby native is up to a career-high No. 175 in the ATP Rankings with the victory, rising 50 spots. He joins Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie, who ironically also recently triumphed in Binghamton (Edmund in 2015 and Norrie in 2017), as Brits in the Top 200. Andy Murray also lifted the trophy in 2005.
Internationali Di Tennis Country 2001 (Padova, Italy): At the age of 29 years and two months, Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol became the oldest first-time winner on the ATP Challenger Tour since 2016. The Spanish veteran had never reached a Challenger semi-final entering the month, but after finishing runner-up in San Benedetto, Italy, he would take the title in Padova.
After ascending to No. 173 in the ATP Rankings six years ago, Gutierrez-Ferrol has vaulted to a new career-high of No. 158 with the title. He is the seventh different Spaniard to prevail on the ATP Challenger Tour this year, joining fellow veterans Marcel Granollers, Pablo Andujar, Tommy Robredo and Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, and #NextGenATP stars Jaume Munar and Pedro Martinez.
Advantage Cars Prague Open (Prague, Czech Republic): Lukas Rosol battled to the title on home soil in Prague, earning his ninth Challenger crown and first since 2014. It is his third victory in his home capital, adding to titles won in 2011 and '14. The Czech rallied from a set down in three straight matches, culminating with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Aleksandr Nedovyesov on Sunday.
A LOOK AHEAD
The inaugural Sopot Open in Poland is joined by a $125,000 event in Chengdu, China, the 33rd edition of the Open Castilla y Leon in Segovia, Spain, and tournaments in Lexington, U.S.A. and Liberec, Czech Republic.
Former doubles star Mariusz Fyrstenberg is the tournament director in Sopot, with Top 100 debutant Hugo Dellien the top seed. Meanwhile, Henri Laaksonen leads the field on the hard courts of Chengdu, while the Griekspoor brothers join Granby finalist Humbert in Segovia.
In Lexington, Clarke looks to go back-to-back, with fellow #NextGenATP stars Marc Polmans, Max Purcell and Lloyd Harris also seeded. On the clay of Liberec, top seed Pedro Sousa is the defending champion.