Challenger Spotlight: Chung Extends Win Streak With Busan Title
A LOOK BACK
Busan Open (Busan, South Korea): Hyeon Chung recently showed off his talents to the world at the tour-level stops in Miami and Houston, and last week the Korean gave his home fans an exclusive glimpse into the future. Chung extended his win streak to 10 on the ATP Challenger Tour with a 6-3, 6-1 rout of Lukas Lacko in the Busan Open final.
Up to a career-high No. 69 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, he has won 20 consecutive sets on the circuit, including a title run on the green clay of Savannah last month. The 18 year old, who cracked the Top 100 for the first time following his Savannah triumph, leads the Challenger circuit with 25 match wins and three titles this year. He will bid for a fifth overall title as the third seed in his home capital of Seoul this week.
2015 Title Leaders
|Hyeon Chung (KOR)
||3 (Burnie, Savannah, Busan)
|Kimmer Coppejans (BEL)
||2 (Guangzhou, Mersin)
|Benoit Paire (FRA)
||2 (Bergamo, Quimper)
|Aljaz Bedene (GBR)||2 (Irving, Rome)|
Garden Open (Rome, Italy): A prelude to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome, the Garden Open hosted its 14th edition and crowned World No. 89 Aljaz Bedene for the second time. The top seeded Brit, who defeated Filippo Volandri for the 2013 title, routed the field en route to the 2015 crown. Bedene did not drop a set all week, beating Adam Pavlasek 7-5, 6-2 in Saturday's final. The 25 year old improved to an impressive 10-1 in finals on the ATP Challenger Tour, claiming his sixth straight title match. It was his first title representing Great Britain, having previously competed for Slovenia.
Karshi Challenger (Karshi, Uzbekistan): Top seed Teymuraz Gabashvili rode the momentum from his maiden ATP World Tour doubles title, partnering with Ricardas Berankis last month in Houston, to claim his eighth ATP Challenger Tour crown on the hard courts of Karshi. The 29-year-old Russian hoisted the title for Haasethe second time, having defeated Radu Albot in 2013. This time, Gabashvili triumphed when countryman Evgeny Donskoy retired (right ankle) while trailing 5-2 in the first set.
Open du Pays d'Aix (Aix-en-Provence, France): Robin Haase (pictured right, photo credit: Aucepika Photographe) moved to a season-high No. 78 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after the Dutchman defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu 7-6(1), 6-2 for the Aix-en-Provence title. Haase improved to 10-2 in finals on the ATP Challenger Tour, prevailing in his first meeting against Mathieu since 2010 Swiss Indoors Basel qualifying. The 28 year old also captured the doubles title alongside Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi.
Seguros Bolivar Open Cali (Cali, Colombia): Fernando Romboli rallied from a set down in three of five matches en route to claiming his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Giovanni Lapentti. The Brazilian was the first qualifier to win on the circuit this year, eighth first-time champion, and the lowest-ranked titlist at World No. 630 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The only Challenger champion with a lower ranking in the past two years was Alexander Zverev (No. 665) in Braunschweig 2014.
What the Players are Saying
Gabashvili (pictured left, photo credit: Karshi Challenger): "I feel good about winning the title in Karshi, but it was one of the first steps for me to recover my position (in the Emirates ATP Rankings). In the beginning of the season I didn't play well. So I dropped in the rankings.
"But now I feel more confident every week and hope I will achieve my goal for the season, which is to finish near the Top 50. I will try to avoid injuries and play at my highest level for the rest of the season. I hope this title will help me."
Romboli: "I'm very happy. It was a spectacular week. I felt great during the entire tournament. The first set was a little tense and for that I made some errors, but all week I played point by point, set by set, match by match."
One of the most prestigious clay-court events on the ATP Challenger Tour - the BNP Paribas Primrose Bordeaux - looks to crown a home grown champion for the sixth time in its eight-year history. Sergiy Stakhovsky leads the field, while second seed Sam Groth eyes a second title in three weeks (Taipei City). Talented young guns Jared Donaldson, Kimmer Coppejans and Lucas Pouille are in the draw and Thanasi Kokkinakis is looking to book a spot from qualifying.
Samarkand top seed Teymuraz Gabashvili looks to capture a second title in as many week on Uzbeki soil, while second seed and defending champion Farrukh Dustov leads the home charge. In Seoul, top seed and three-time champion (2010-12) Yen-Hsun Lu continues his quest for 300 match wins and is joined by surging Korean young gun Hyeon Chung.
Meanwhile, in Heilbronn, a German has hoisted the trophy on home soil in each of the past six years and second seed Jan-Lennard Struff and No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev look to continue the trend. Former World No. 8's Janko Tipsarevic and Radek Stepanek are also in the field.