© Aegon Surbiton Trophy

Yuichi Sugita prevails at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Surbiton.

Sugita Opens Grass Season With Surbiton 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

Aegon Surbiton Trophy (Surbiton, U.K.): Sixth seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan came out on top in a tight 7-6(7), 7-6(8) final over seventh seed Jordan Thompson of Australia. Sugita saved two set points in the second-set tie-break at 6/7 and 7/8. He didn’t drop a set throughout the tournament, surviving a waterlogged week in London. 

The 28 year old picks up his ninth ATP Challenger Tour title and his first on grass. Three of those titles have come this year, including victories in Yokohama and Shenzhen. Sugita joins Janko Tipsarevic, Aljaz Bedene and Thomas Fabbiano as the only players with at least three Challenger titles in 2017.

UniCredit Czech Open (Prostejov, Czech Republic): Second seed Jiri Vesely delighted the home crowd with a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Vesely served to stay in the match at 4-5 in the deciding set. He picks up his third title at this event, having also won in 2014-2015, and improves to 21-3 in six appearances here. The win gives the Czech player his sixth Challenger title and is projected to boost him to No. 42 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, just seven spots off his career-high standing.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Vesely: "In the first set, I made a few errors, didn’t press enough and, most importantly, lost my serve three times. I lost my serve at the very beginning of the second set and it became more difficult. Fortunately, I broke him back and then I played better. In the third set, I had three break points at the beginning which I didn’t convert. My performance was not great today, but I managed to win which is the most important thing.

"I really wanted to win the tournament very much. I’ve said it a few times that it was not about the points, but a matter of heart for me."

A LOOK AHEAD

There are four Challengers on the schedule this week, with the $150,000 event in Nottingham, U.K., taking top billing. This event was held as an ATP World Tour tournament last year. Local favourite Daniel Evans is the top seed and Marius Copil of Romania is the second seed. A slew of #NextGenATP players are also in the draw, including Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Akira Santillan of Japan, and Americans Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka, who face off in the opening round.

The long-standing $150,000 tournament in Caltanissetta, Italy, celebrates its 19th consecutive year. Former Top 5 player Tommy Robredo is a past champion (2012). Home favourite Paolo Lorenzi is the top seed and Serbian Dusan Lajovic is the second seed. Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan is the third seed and Radu Albot of Moldova is the fourth seed. Rounding out the field is #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev.

The $75,000 event in Lyon, France, is back for the second consecutive year. Argentine Horacio Zeballos is the top seed and Spaniard Marcel Granollers features as the second seed. #NextGenATP players Casper Ruud of Norway and Duckhee Lee of Korea are the fourth and seventh seeds, respectively, joining another #NextGenATP star in Sweden’s Elias Ymer. Rising 16-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is a wild card entrant.

Lastly, the ATP Challenger Tour welcomes a new stop with the $50,000 tournament in Lisbon, Portugal. Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the top seed and Czech Adam Pavlasek is the second seed.

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ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: The ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.

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