Ymer, Berankis And Zverev Prevail In Challengers
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
Joey Gratton Sarasota Open (Sarasota, Florida, U.S.A.): Former World No. 45 Mischa Zverev captured his first ATP Challenger Tour title in nine years by defeating No. 3 seed Gerald Melzer, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Zverev wasn’t able to close out the match on his serve at 6-5 in the second set, but rebounded brilliantly by capturing the final five points of the tie-break to clinch the title.
The 28-year-old’s last ATP Challenger Tour title came in Dnepropetrovsk in 2007. He also snapped a five-match losing skid in Challenger finals with his win on Sunday. Despite the loss, Melzer is now close to making his Top 100 debut in the Emirates ATP Rankings. He also brought his 2016 record in Challengers to 22-3, making him the first player this year to win 20 matches on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Open Citta’ Della Disfida (Barletta, Italy): #NextGen star and No. 8 seed Elias Ymer won the second ATP Challenger Tour title of his career by prevailing a in a tight two-set match over No. 3 seed Adam Pavlasek, 7-5, 6-4. The 20-year-old Swede was flawless on serve in the latter stages of the match and didn’t face a break point in the second set.
Ymer’s previous title also came in Italy, having won last June in Caltanisetta. He is now the fourth #NextGen player to win an ATP Challenger Tour title in 2016, joining Taylor Fritz (Happy Valley), Andrey Rublev (Quimper) and Kyle Edmund (Dallas). Ymer now moves just outside the Top 120 of the Emirates ATP Rankings with his win on Sunday.#NextGen ATP Challenger Tour Winners In 2016
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Gwangju Open Challenger (Gwangju, Korea): Top seed Ricardas Berankis was in total control all week at the inaugural event in Gwangju, dominating the championship match against No. 6 seed Grega Zemlja, 6-3, 6-2. Berankis didn’t drop a set all week and lost an average of only 4.8 games per match on the way to his sixth career ATP Challenger Tour title. The world No. 83 has been in top form this month on the ATP Challenger Tour, having reached the final two weeks ago in Ra’anana.
WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID
Zverev: "He’s done very well this year, so well done to Gerald. At this time last year we were practicing together and both a little bit lower in the rankings, so it’s good that we’re both moving up now."
"I feel like I didn’t do anything different than usual. I just tried to be patient and it got lucky and worked out. I’ve been really fortunate this week."
Melzer: "Congratulations to Mischa and I wish you all the best. Thank you to all the tournament sponsors and ball people. I think you did a great job this week. Thanks to my coach for supporting me."
A LOOK AHEAD
There are four tournaments on the calendar this week. The $50,000 tournament in Savannah, Georgia, returns for the eighth and has several notable past champions, including Kei Nishikori and Nick Kyrgios. This year features two players ranked inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, with Americans Denis Kudla and Donald Young as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. A slew of #NextGen stars are also playing in Savannah including Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, Jared Donaldson and Noah Rubin. Other notable names in the draw include former Top 60 player and 2012 champion Brian Baker, and No. 3 seed Gerald Melzer, this week’s finalist in Sarasota.
The $50,000 event in Nanjing, China, is a new event on the calendar this year. Berankis will look to extend his winning streak as the No. 1 seed, while #NextGen star Yoshihito Nishioka is the No. 2 seed. Other notable names in the draw include No. 3 seed Jordan Thompson, who won the ATP Challenger Tour event this February in Cherbourg, and No. 8 seed Grega Zemlja, this week’s finalist in Gwangju.
The $50,000 tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil returns for the fourth straight year. The draw is sure to delight the local crowd, with all top four seeds hailing from Brazil. Veteran Andre Ghem takes top billing, while Joao Souza is the No. 2 seed. Thiago Monteiro, who recorded a win this year over Top 10 player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, is the No. 4 seed, while last year’s finalist Christian Lindell is the No. 7 seed.
Lastly, the $50,000 event in Turin, Italy is back for the second consecutive year and features World No. 100 Rogerio Dutra Silva as the No. 1 seed. Other notable names in the draw include No. 2 seed Thomas Fabbiano, a winner last month at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Zhuhai, and No. 4 seed Stephane Robert, who won the ATP Challenger Tour event in February in New Delhi. Last year’s finalist in Turin, Kimmer Coppejans, is the No. 8 seed.
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