A LOOK BACK
Challenger Banque Nationale de Gatineau (Gatineau, Canada): Surging #NextGenATP star Denis Shapovalov lifted his second ATP Challenger Tour trophy on home soil in Gatineau, defeating countryman Peter Polansky 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. It marked just the third all-Canadian final in Challenger history and the first since 1999.
“Peter has so much experience under his belt and so many matches, so I knew it was going to be incredibly tough.” said Shapovalov. “I tried to stay focused throughout the second and third sets. It was a couple points in the end that made the difference.”
Having claimed his maiden crown in Drummondville in March, Shapovalov is the second teenager to win multiple titles this year, joining Frances Tiafoe. It has been another strong year for the #NextGenATP contingent on the Challenger circuit, with the 18 year old’s title marking the 10th for the group. Shapovalov soars 31 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 130 and is up to No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan.
“Winning two titles in Canada is huge and it shows how important the home tournaments are and how much they help. Every match is a battle at this level and it was a really long week. I’m happy to come out with one more win and I’ll look ahead to next week.”
The Hague Open (Scheveningen, Netherlands): Sixth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez turned back the clock on the clay of Scheveningen, claiming his second tournament title and first in 11 years. It was a vintage week for the 34-year-old Spaniard, who battled to a trio of three-set wins, including a 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-2 victory over Ruben Bemelmans in the final.
Also the 2006 champion in Scheveningen, Garcia-Lopez notched his first professional title in two years, when he prevailed at the former ATP World Tour event in Bucharest in 2015. With his sights set on a Top 100 return, the former World No. 23 rises 32 spots to No. 131 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.
.@GuillermoGLopez continued his quest to return to the Top 100 with his second 🏆 at @TheHagueOpen, 11 years removed from his first victory. pic.twitter.com/yjzbMdUbxD
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) July 24, 2017
San Benedetto Tennis Cup (San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy): Matteo Berrettini bolstered his ambitions to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals on home soil in Milan, claiming his maiden Challenger title on Sunday. The 21-year-old did not drop a set all week, defeating fourth seed Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-4 in the final. Berrettini, who moves into the Top 200 for the first time, up 56 spots to a career-high World No. 173, is the sixth different Italian winner in the tournament’s 13-year history.
President’s Cup (Astana, Kazakhstan): Fifth seed Egor Gerasimov battled past home favourite and two-time champion Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-4 for the title in Astana. It marked the fourth ATP Challenger Tour title for the 24 year old, who is a three-time winner in 2017.
Gerasimov, who also lifted the trophy in Saint-Brieuc, France, and Karshi, Uzbekistan, this year, is a dominant 20-4 in Challenger matches. He has risen more than 300 spots since February to a career-high No. 123 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. In addition, players from Belarus are now 5-0 in Challenger finals this year, with Uladzimir Ignatik and Ilya Ivashka also earning trophies.
Poznan Open (Poznan, Poland): What a way to win your first ATP Challenger Tour title! Russia’s Alexey Vatutin registered arguably the comeback of the year on Sunday, saving six match points to defeat Guido Andreozzi 2-6, 7-6(10), 6-3 in Poznan. Vatutin saved a pair of championship points while serving at 6-5 in the second set and another four in the ensuing tie-break.
It was the second-most match points saved in a Challenger final since such records began in 2014. Sergiy Stakhovsky turned aside seven in the 2016 Seoul final. Paolo Lorenzi also denied six in the 2016 Caltanissetta title match.
Russia’s Alexey #Vatutin turns in the comeback of the year, saving 6 MP to claim his maiden #ATPChallenger title in Poznan. pic.twitter.com/TPk4Smj58t
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) July 23, 2017
A LOOK AHEAD
The $100,000 event in Granby, Canada headlines the calendar next week, with home hope Denis Shapovalov looking to go back-to-back. Three former champions are in the draw, with 2003, ’06 & ’13 winner Frank Dancevic, 2014 champ Hiroki Moriya and 2015 titlist Vincent Millot.
The U.S. hard-court summer swings to Binghamton, New York, with Aussie Jordan Thompson leading the pack. #NextGenATP star Alexander Bublik is seeded second and American teen Michael Mmoh is fifth. Akira Santillan is looking to carry the momentum from his maiden title in Winnetka a week ago.
At the scenic €64,000 event in Cortina, Italy, Alessandro Giannessi leads the charge, with Marcel Granollers seeded second. In Tampere, Finland, at one of the longest-running events in Challenger history – the Tampere Open – Garcia-Lopez looks to go back-to-back, while Kimmer Coppejans seeks to defend his title. Finally, in Prague, home hope Adam Pavlasek is the top seed.
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