Fils finishes 'perfect week' with Bordeaux Challenger title

Passaro joins Soderling in slice of Challenger history
May 19, 2024
Arthur Fils wins the Bordeaux Challenger.
Alexis Atteret
Arthur Fils wins the Bordeaux Challenger. By ATP Staff

Top seed Arthur Fils collected his second ATP Challenger Tour crown Sunday, when he cruised past Spaniard Pedro Martinez 6-2, 6-3 to triumph at the BNP Paribas Primrose in Bordeaux, France.

In front of a packed stadium on home soil, the 19-year-old relied on his firepower and all-court coverage to pull away from the second seed. Despite failing to serve the first set out during a seven-deuce game at 5-1, Fils quickly rebounded to break Martinez and race to the finish line. The #NextGenATP teen dropped just one set all week.

“I’m really happy about the win. It was a perfect week for me, had some tough matches against tough opponents but I’m really happy to win this tournament,” said Fils, No. 34 in the PIF ATP Rankings. “I’m looking forward to playing Roland Garros.”

A year ago, Fils won his maiden ATP Tour crown in Lyon before making his major main-draw debut at Roland Garros. Fils will now look to build upon this week’s momentum at his home Slam, where he fell in the first round last year.

Fils’ triumph in Bordeaux also gives him more separation atop the PIF ATP Live Race to Jeddah. Boasting a 17-13 season record across all levels, Fils is aiming for a return trip to the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by PIF, the 20-and-under event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, held from 18-22 December.

Turin Challenger
Francesco Passaro won the all-Italian final at the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo, where he defeated top seed Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 7-5 in Sunday’s title match.

“Today my plan was simple, try to be aggressive from the first shot, to keep Lorenzo under pressure,” Passaro said. “He is a really good defender, he can mix up the game really well, so I need to be aggressive with serving and returning.”

The 23-year-old wild card arrived in Turin off the back of a third-round run in Rome. Passaro brought a high level all week to become the first player since Robin Soderling in 2009 (Sunrise) to defeat five Top 100 players en route to a Challenger trophy.

<a href=''>Francesco Passaro</a> in action at the Turin Challenger.
Francesco Passaro in action at the Turin Challenger. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

On Saturday, Passaro pulled double duty due to rain hindering play earlier in the week. Passaro overcame Brandon Nakashima 7-6(2), 6-7(7), 6-1 in the quarter-finals before returning to court in the evening, downing Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 6-2 in the last four.

“Simply unbelievable,” Passaro said when asked about his title run. “I’m really happy to have my best level back, and even more about my attitude between Rome and Turin. It’s been a long time since I've played 10 matches in a short period of time like this.”

Up 60 spots to No. 180 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, Passaro is a two-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, having previously triumphed in Trieste in 2022.

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In other action, Australian Adam Walton earned a double prize at the Santaizi Challenger in Taipei, where he claimed his second title of the season at that level and secured his Top 100 debut.

The third seed, No. 94 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, rallied from a set down in his final two matches, including a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) final victory against James Duckworth. Walton fended off 10 of 13 break points faced, according to Infosys ATP Stats, in the championship match to lift his third Challenger trophy.

Portugal’s Jaime Faria capped a dream week on home soil at the Oeiras Open 4 by earning his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title. The 20-year-old wild card survived Sweden’s Elias Ymer 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the final, during which Faria trailed 1-4 in the third set before tallying five consecutive games.

Jaime Faria celebrates winning his first Challenger title in Oeiras. Credit: Beatriz Ruivo

“I'm very happy, very fulfilled. It was an unbelievable run, I had a lot of lives throughout the tournament,” said Faria, who is at a career-high No. 182 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings. “Four weeks ago I felt a bitter taste, I felt that I let everyone down and above all, myself, when I lost in the [Oeiras 3] semi-final. But I wanted to come out on top and I did. I learned to manage other emotions and it's very gratifying to win here at home.”

Spaniard Oriol Roca Batalla won his second Challenger title and first of this season at the KIA Tunis Open. In the final, the 31-year-old fought back from a break down in each set to down Frenchman Valentin Royer 7-6(5), 7-5. Roca Batalla is at a career-high No. 161 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings.

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