Pella Powers To Milan Challenger Title
A LOOK BACK
Aspria Tennis Cup (Milan, Italy): In November, all eyes will be on the Italian metropolis of Milan for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals. But before the #NextGenATP contingent take over the city, the stars of the ATP Challenger Tour descended on the clay courts of the Aspria Harbour Club Milano.
Guido Pella completed his return to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, notching his 11th Challenger crown on Sunday. Pella prevailed when countryman Federico Delbonis retired down 6-2, 2-1 with a strained gluteus muscle. The Argentine is in the midst of a dominant stretch, which kicked off with a run to the final at the BMW Open by FWU in Munich as a qualiifer. He is a combined 17-3 since the start of May.
Former World No. 33 Delbonis, meanwhile, saw his nine-match win streak snapped. The champion last week in Todi, Italy, was appearing in his third consecutive ATP Challenger Tour final, having also finished runner-up to Jiri Vesely in Prostejov, Czech Republic to open the month of June. He is up nine spots to No. 88 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
THEY SAID IT
Pella: "The great memories in this city go on. It's been so since I was 16. I am very happy, I played well throughout the tournament. I struggled in the first few rounds, but from the quarter-finals I played really well.
"Delbonis' injury was a surprise for me. I knew he might be a bit tired because he won Todi last week and here it was very hot, so he had spent so much energy. I thought I was better than him from a physical point of view, then I tried to play long points and make him run. Fortunately I did it, though it's never great to win in this way.
"It's very difficult to play against Fede. We are the same age, we know each other since we were 15 and we're really great friends. I don't like to play against him, but we are both tennis players and we have a similar ranking ... fortunately we both made the final.
"Winning is always nice, especially in a Challenger like this. There were great players like Robredo, Delbonis, Cecchinato ... players who have a great ranking, with great experience. This trophy gives me great confidence for the next tournaments. And then I needed the points to improve my ranking."
A LOOK AHEAD
Two clay-court events are on the calendar next week in Marburg, Germany, and Recanati, Italy. #NextGenATP star Casper Ruud is looking to make his Top 100 debut with a deep run in Marburg, where he is the top seed. Milan champion Pella is seeded second, while defending champion Jan Satral is seeded fifth. Former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo is also in action. In Recanati, Luca Vanni is the top seed on home soil and joined by #NextGenATP Quentin Halys and 2015 champion Mirza Basic.
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