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Dennis Novak lifts his first ATP Challenger Tour trophy, prevailing in Taipei City.

Dennis Novak Celebrates Maiden Moment

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

A LOOK BACK
Santaizi ATP Challenger (Taipei City, Chinese Taipei): Welcome to the winners' circle, Dennis Novak! For five years the Austrian has been fighting for his first ATP Challenger Tour title, and on Sunday he finally celebrated his maiden moment.

Novak lifted his first trophy on the hard courts of Taipei City, upsetting third seed Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-4 in just 61 minutes. Competing in his 61st Challenger main draw, the 25-year-old not only reached his first final, but went all the way in claiming the title. He dropped one set all week, including victories over Yuichi Sugita in the quarters, Soonwoo Kwon in the semis and Stakhovsky in the championship.

Novak, who has already tasted tour-level success in reaching the third round at Wimbledon last year, rises to a career-high No. 122 in the ATP Rankings.

"I am very happy to win my first Challenger title in Taipei," said Novak. "It’s been a very special week for me and the organization and the people from Taipei City were all very impressive. I will never forget this. I hope to get into Top 100 during the clay- court season."

Murcia Open (Murcia, Spain): Roberto Carballes Baena was the comeback king on home soil, rallying from a set down in both the semis and the final to lift the trophy. The Spaniard emerged victorious on the clay of Murcia with a 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 win over #NextGenATP star Mikael Ymer on Sunday.

It was Challenger title No. 6 for the Granada native, who rises 10 spots to No. 103 in the ATP Rankings. Carballes Baena is the fourth different player from Spain to reign on the ATP Challenger Tour in 2019, joining two-time winner Pablo Andujar, Marcel Granollers and Enrique Lopez Perez.

Moreover, the inaugural Murcia Open was notable for the breakout performance of 15-year-old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. The teenager not only reached the third round, but became the youngest player to upset a Top 200 opponent in more than a decade.

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Carballes Baena

Photo Credit: Florian Heer/Tennis Tour Talk

Open Città della Disfida (Barletta, Italy): On the 20th anniversary of the Challenger in Barletta, the tournament saw native son Gianluca Mager lift the trophy. Mager is the first Italian to prevail on home soil in tournament history.

The Sanremo native did not drop a set entering the final, where he prevailed 7-6(7), 5-7, 3-2 when Nikola Milojevic retired with a left elbow injury. Mager, who rises 31 spots to a career-high No. 144 in the ATP Rankings, is enjoing a breakthrough 2019 campaign. In January, he claimed his maiden title in Koblenz, Germany.

A LOOK AHEAD
Three former champions descend on Anning, China for the Kunming Open. Second seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran is targeting a second straight title on the Chinese clay, while top seed Jordan Thompson is looking to add to his victory in 2016. Alex Bolt, titlist in 2014, is seeded sixth.

The three-week U.S. clay-court swing kicks off in Sarasota, Florida, with reigning champ Hugo Dellien leading the pack. Americans Tennys Sandgren and Bradley Klahn lead the home charge.

The lone Challenger in Africa is held in Tunis, Tunisia, where Pablo Cuevas is the top seed. Pedro Sousa, Guillermo Garcia Lopez, Pedro Martinez and Facundo Bagnis round out the top five seeds.

And at the San Luis Open in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, the second-longest running Challenger enters its 34th edition. Alexander Bublik looks to continue his winning ways after prevailing in nearby Monterrey. The same goes for Sophia Antipolis champ Dustin Brown.

ATP Challenger Tour