Spain On A Roll As Carballes Baena Adds Manerbio Crown
Spanish tennis is enjoying a resurgent 2017 campaign and the months of July and August are proving to be quite fruitful on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour.
Rafael Nadal's return to No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, David Ferrer's run to the semi-finals at the Western & Southern Open and Roberto Bautista Agut's triumph in Winston-Salem have grabbed the headlines. But what Spaniards are accomplishing on the Challenger circuit is just as remarkable.
Granada native Roberto Carballes Baena notched his second title in five weeks on Sunday, lifting the trophy in Manerbio, Italy. The 24 year old defeated countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 23 minutes. He is soaring towards a return to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, rising more than 50 spots in one month to No. 109.
"He told me that hard work always pays off," Carballes Baena said of coach Jose Maria Arenas' advice during the trophy ceremony. "For now he is right and we hope that will continue."
Carballes Baena has reached three finals in recent weeks, claiming crowns in Cortina and Manerbio, while finishing runner-up to Elias Ymer in Cordenons. His run of dominance is reflective of a Spanish trend, with six winners in seven weeks. #NextGenATP stars Jaume Munar and Nicola Kuhn captured maiden titles in Segovia, Spain and Braunschweig, Germany, respectively, while former World No. 23 Garcia-Lopez and Ricardo Ojeda Lara also lifted trophies.
Seeded fifth, Carballes Baena and sixth seed Garcia-Lopez join Munar and Tommy Robredo as Spaniards in next week's Challenger in Como, Italy. Garcia-Lopez and Munar meet in an all-Spanish first round encounter while Carballes Baena opens against surging Canadian teen Felix Auger-Aliassime. Defending champion Kenny de Schepper returns as the eighth seed.