Schwartzman Gives Argentina Record-Tying 20th Title
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
Uruguay Open (Montevideo, Uruguay): Second seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina cruised to the title with a convincing 6-4, 6-1 win over sixth seed Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil. He is now on a 10-match win streak in Challengers, having prevailed also defeated Dutra Silva in September’s championship match in Barranquila, Colombia.
Argentina has won 20 titles in 2016, tying France in 2005 and their own personal best in 2007 for most Challenger events won by any country. Ten different Argentine players won title this year.
Dutra Silva has had an outstanding finish to the season in South American Challengers. He’s posted a 26-9 record since September, including runner-up finishes in Montevideo and Barranquilla, Colombia, as well as semi-final showings in four other events.
JSM Challenger Of Champaign-Urbana (Champaign, Illinois): Second seed Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland successfully defended his title with a 7-5, 6-3 win over sixth seed Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium. This is his second Challenger title of the year, having prevailed in September in Shanghai. Laaksonen is the fourth player to successfully defend a Challenger title this year, joining #NextGen star Hyeon Chung (Kaohsiung), Yen-Hsun Lu (Ningbo) and Facundo Bagnis (Santiago). Last year, he rallied from a set down to defeat Taylor Fritz in the final.
Bemelmans has come alive in the final part of the season. He finished runner-up earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has gone 10-3 in his past three Challenger events.
Dunlop Srixon World Challenge (Toyota, Japan): Fifth seed James Duckworth of Australia continued his outstanding form by defeating seventh seed Tatsuma Ito of Japan, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. Duckworth has vaulted more than 100 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings in his return from an elbow injury in early May, rising to No. 104. He caps his 2016 campaign in dominant fashion, posting a 14-1 record in his final three events, including a title run on home soil Canberra earlier this month.
Internazionali Citta Di Brescia (Brescia, Italy): In a thrilling final, Luca Vanni of Italy scored a 6-7(5), 6-4 7-6(8) win over lucky loser Laurynas Grigelis of Lithuania. The 31-year-old also prevailed this July at the Challenger in Segovia, Spain.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Laaksonen: “I didn’t feel that good in the first three matches, but I kept fighting and started to feel really great on the court by the end. I didn’t give away too any free points in the final and showed that I can play at a high level. “
A LOOK AHEAD
The 2016 ATP Challenger Tour season concludes this week with three events. Two months after holding a successful $50,000 event, Ohio State University in the city of Columbus will now host a $75,000 tournament. American #NextGen star Taylor Fritz is the top seed and has a blockbuster first-round clash against Ohio State star Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark, who won the last Challenger in Columbus. American Rajeev Ram, a doubles runner-up at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, is the second seed. Laaksonen looks for another title as the third seed and American #NextGen star Stefan Kozlov is the fourth seed.
The $50,000 event in Andria, Italy, returns for the fourth straight year. Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine is the top seed and Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland is the second seed. Vanni looks for another big run as the fourth seed and Grigelis looks to continue his top form as well. Former Top 5 player Tommy Robredo of Spain and World No. 1 junior Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece also compete this week.
Astana, Kazakhstan plays home to a new indoor hard court event with $50,000 in prize money. #NextGen star Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan is the top seed and Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan is the second seed. Local favourites Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Andrey Golubev are the fourth and eighth seeds, respectively.
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