Riedi, Watanuki Capture Back-To-Back Challenger Titles
Swiss Leandro Riedi and Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki are making a late season surge on the ATP Challenger Tour. Riedi and Watanuki, who are among four Challenger champions this week, have each claimed two Challenger titles in as many weeks and are at a career-high mark in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Riedi, 20, was crowned champion this week at the Andria Challenger. The #NextGenATP youngster, who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(4), 6-3 in the final, didn’t drop a set all week en route to winning the Castel Del Monte Open - Andria.
The Frauenfeld native joins Marc-Andrea Huesler and Dominic Stricker as two-time Challenger titlists this season from Switzerland. After winning 12 straight matches, including advancing through qualifying to win the Helsinki Challenger, Riedi rises to a career-high 161 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“I feel unbelievable,” Riedi said. “It’s been an absolutely crazy two weeks. I loved it, it was so much fun. It’s been the best two weeks of my career and I hope it’s just the beginning.”
The 2020 Roland Garros boys’ singles finalist (l. Stricker) has been making a sudden impact on the Challenger Tour since finishing a standout junior career, including winning the 2020 Australian Open boys’ doubles title (Nicholas David Ionel).
In Andria doubles action, British duo Julian Cash and Henry Patten captured a record-setting ninth Challenger title this season. The previous record, eight Challenger doubles titles in a season, was set in 2012 by twin brothers from Thailand, Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana.
Watanuki, seeded third, didn’t drop a set all week to triumph at the Yokkaichi Challenger. In a rematch of the previous week’s Kobe Challenger final, Watanuki defeated Portugal’s Frederico Ferreria Silva 6-2, 6-2 in the championship match.
“Honestly, before these four weeks (Japanese Challenger swing) started, I didn't expect such good results,” Watanuki said.
“I really can't believe I’m ranked 145. I want to play on the ATP Tour as much as possible in the future. Whenever I had a chance, I always tried to play on the ATP Tour this year. I definitely have a better outlook playing with high level players. I want to challenge myself more and more."
The 24-year-old, who is coached by his older brother Yusuke, reached his first Tour-level quarter-final earlier this season at the ATP 250 event in Lyon (l. de Minaur).
Watanuki has built upon his season’s success, including winning 14 of his past 15 matches and reaching the final at each of the past three Challenger tournaments he’s competed in (Yokohama, Kobe, Yokkaichi). The Saitama native is the only Japanese player to claim multiple challenger titles this season.
Despite coming into the week ranked No. 901, Argentine Guido Andreozzi advanced through qualifying at the Temuco Challenger en route to capturing his first Challenger title since October 2018 (Guayaquil).
Guido Andreozzi breathes a sigh of relief after winning the Temuco Challenger. Credit: Bastien Vidal
Andreozzi, former World No. 70, rallied from a set down in the final to defeat countryman Nicolas Kicker 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. After needing deciding sets in four of his five main draw matches this week, the Buenos Aires native prevailed to win the Challenger Dove Men+Care Temuco.
The 31-year-old adds to Argentina’s record-setting 23 Challenger titles this season. Andreozzi is the 16th different Argentine champion of this year, marking a Challenger Tour record for the most different winners from a single country in a season.
Andreozzi also paired with Guillermo Duran to win their seventh team title this year at the Challenger 100 event in Chile.
Oleksii Krutykh in action at the 2022 Valencia Challenger. Credit: Raul Piles
The 22-year-old, who also won the Prague Challenger in August, is the only Ukrainian to claim a Challenger title this season. This week in Valencia, Krutykh rallied from a set down in his quarter-final and semi-final matches to keep his title run alive.
The Kyiv native, who also won the doubles title in Spain (w/ Oriol Roca Batalla) rises to a career-high 190 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.