Amazing In Aix: Otte Captures First Title Since 2017
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
Open du Pays d'Aix (Aix-en-Provence, France): Hungry and motivated following a five-month break, many players have shined in the restart of the ATP Challenger Tour. At the age of 27, Oscar Otte is no exception. The German is playing the best tennis of his career in recent weeks and he took it to the next level on Sunday in Aix-en-Provence.
Otte lifted the trophy at the prestigious Challenger 125 event, outlasting Thiago Seyboth Wild 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-4. The German overcame a stern test from the #NextGenATP Brazilian, needing two hours and 37 minutes to secure the title. He converted four of 11 break chances.
The title continues an impressive stretch for Otte, who also reached the final a week ago in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He is 12-3 in the tour's return following the COVID-19 hiatus. The victory was a long time coming for Otte, who was three years removed from his lone previous title in Lisbon in 2017.
"My serve was better at the end, which is why I won the match," said Otte. "I just tried to win no matter what. At the moment, I'm playing very good. I've been working hard these past few months and I'm very happy to get another title."
The Cologne native rises to No. 136 in the FedEx ATP Rankings - just seven places off his career-high.
Moneta Czech Open (Prostejov, Czech Republic): Kamil Majchrzak clinched his third Challenger title and first of 2020, prevailing on the clay of Prostejov. The 24-year-old Pole ended the run of defending champion Pablo Andujar with a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory on Saturday.
Andujar had won 18 sets in a row at the Czech Open, having dominated en route to the 2019 title and the 2020 final. But the Spanish veteran had no answer for Majchrzak, who battled to the title after one hour and 56 minutes.
Majchrzak returns to the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, rising to No. 98. Exactly one year ago, the Pole peaked at No. 83 after reaching the third round of the US Open.
"I know Pablo and I knew it would be a very difficult match," said Majchrzak. "I was more aggressive in the first set and played an unbelievable game to break back late in the second set. I held my nerves until the end.
"At the beginning of the year I got injured and was unable to play for five months. When all of tennis stopped [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], it helped me to recover well. I needed matches, because I only played one match since January, and I didn't expect to win this tournament. I'm really happy to play like this."
A LOOK AHEAD
The inaugural Concord Iasi Open, in Iasi, Romania, is the lone tournament on the calendar. Pablo Andujar and Jaume Munar lead the field. France's Arthur Rinderknech and Austria's Jurij Rodionov, who are both among the Top 5 wins leaders in 2020, are seeded third and fourth, respectively.
Keep an eye on qualifier Kacper Zuk. The 21-year-old Pole made his tour-level debut at the ATP Cup in January, defeating World No. 105 Dennis Novak. And he followed that with a semi-final finish at the Challenger event in Calgary, earning his first Top 100 win over Vasek Pospisil along the way.