Edmund Soars To Fourth Challenger Title In Dallas
A LOOK BACK
RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas (Dallas, U.S.A.): Coming off an upset defeat to Wu Di in the Maui final, the question for Kyle Edmund in Dallas was whether the Brit would use it as motivation or suffer an immediate letdown. By the end of the week, the answer was clear. Edmund turned in a dominant display on the indoor hard courts of the T Bar M Racquet Club, not dropping a set en route to the title. He would defeat countryman Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday in just 64 minutes, capturing his fourth ATP Challenger Tour crown. It was just the second ATP Challenger Tour final between two Brits in the past 20 years, with the most recent coming in Nottingham 2005, when Alex Bogdanovic defeated Mark Hilton.
"I haven't played Dan in a match and whenever you play a new opponent it's about figuring them out from the start," Edmund told broadcaster Mike Cation following the match. "I had played a really good match against Tim [Smyczek] and found a good rhythm, so I knew if I could implement that today I'd have a chance. It was played at a different speed, as Dan hits a lot of slices and I knew I had to be patient... As I got into it, I started playing more freely and in the end I was playing some really good tennis.
"Last week was so frustrating because it was a low standard for me. He (Wu Di) was actually playing pretty well in the (windy) conditions and I think I deservedly lost. To come here, from outdoors to indoors, it's not easy, and everyone was telling me that the courts are quick. But I found I had time to rally here and get my forehand and every match got more comfortable."
Edmund’s title ended a run of 10 straight years with a home grown champion in Dallas. He beat defending champion Tim Smyczek in the semi-finals. In addition, Great Britain now has nine Challenger titles in the past 13 months after winning just two from 2010 to 2014.
"From last year to this year, I've really improved my movement and being more efficient. My serve has gotten better and my forehand has always been a weapon, but now I'm being smarter with it. I'm not hitting winners with every shot and I don't need to. Those are the big things.
"The good thing about playing Challengers is they are all on live stream, so everyone can watch back at home. My parents and sister have been up at four in the morning and it's nice that they are so supportive. I want to be playing in the [ATP World Tour] events, but it's a tough spot now because I have to decide between playing qualies and Challengers where there are big points on offer. It's getting that balance. Hopefully I can get to that stage where I'm picking a schedule of Tour event and Tour event. That is the ultimate goal."
Neville-Smith Forest Products Launceston International (Launceston, Australia): Aussie wild card Blake Mott turned in one of the more improbable title runs in ATP Challenger Tour history, rallying for his first crown 6-7(4), 6-1, 6-2 over Andrey Golubev on Sunday. The 19 year old was at No. 721 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, becoming just the fifth player (since 2000) outside the Top 700 to win a title.
Mott, who will vault nearly 400 spots to a career-high No. 365, had won just three matches at the Challenger level entering the week. He is the second teen titlist this year, joining Happy Valley winner Taylor Fritz, and is the 10th different teenage champion in the past 13 months.
CHALLENGER WINNERS OUTSIDE THE TOP 700 (since 2000)
Emirates ATP Ranking
The inaugural Milex Open in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was held last year and had a notable absentee. Top Dominican Victor Estrella Burgos was forced to withdraw due to injury after clinching his maiden ATP World Tour title the week prior in Quito. This week, Estrella Burgos will make his tournament debut as the top seed and is joined by Gerald Melzer, Nicolas Jarry and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.
Meanwhile, on the hard courts of Bergamo, India’s Yuki Bhambri leads the field, with Ruben Bemelmans and Dustin Brown. Bemelmans is coming off a run to the quarter-finals at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Montpellier, while Brown reached his first tour-level semi in the French city.
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