Topic: Challenger Chat 2017

Feeling a little motivated to resurrect this thread.

Last week saw three ATP Challenger events: Morelos, Mexico, Cherbourg, France and Tempe, Arizona USA.

23-year-old Frenchman Matthias Bourgue won Cherbourg for his 2nd-ever title at this level.  Chardy lost in the first round here to Steven Diez, and Benneteau lost to runner-up Maximillian Marterer in the semis.

In Tempe, career Challenger player Tennys Sandgren (destined to play the sport) won just his 2nd Challenger title as well.  After a slow start to the year, this was an unexpected result for Tennys.

And over in Morelos, Alexander Bublik won his first title at this level.  He beat Nicolas Jarry in the final, who defeated top-seed Jordan Thompson in the first round.


Over on the WTA side:

- Hot teenage newcomer Destanee Aiava (17, #252) won a $25k in Perth, barely breaking a sweat.  She was troubled by fellow Aussie Priscilla Hon (19, #568) in the semis, trading tiebreaks until Aiava ran away with the 3rd in a breadstick.  This is actually Aiava's first title.

- Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu (16, #290) won the $25k in Rancho Santa Fe, California.  She beat top-seeded American Kayla Day (17, #181) in the finals.  Day took the title here in Doubles.
This is Andreescu's second title, both of them coming at this level.

- Over in Moscow, there was another $25k, this one was won by a 25-year-old named Polina Monova, ranked #283.  The top-seed here was some Dutchwoman named Quirine Lemoine.  Monova beat her in the 3rd round on the way to the title.

- The start of February saw the year's first (and only, so far) $100k event in Midland, Michigan USA.  That one ended with 5th-seed Tatjana Maria defeating 3rd-seed Naomi Broady in the finals.  #1 seed Madison Brengle lost in the first round to Jacqueline Cako (26, #262, USA), and #2 seed Varvara Lepchenko lost in the quarters to Canadian teen Qualifier Katherine Sebov (18, #323).  Sebov has no titles and was ranked #568 at the end of 2016.

- February also saw a $60k in Launceston, Australia.  Jami Loeb (22, #152, USA) took the title here, beating top-seeded Chinese Xinyun Han in the process.  In the finals, she defeated Slovakian Tamara Zidanesk (19, #143), who has quite a slew of titles at the $25k and lower level.  This $60k is by far Loeb's biggest title.
Elsewhere in the draw, #2 seed Taylor Townsend lost in the first round to nobody's surprise.

Last edited by Arvis (Feb. 27, 2017 12:12pm)

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Thanks Arvis, wouldn't have a clue what was going on at this level without your updates.

Yoda Cups: Roland Garros 15, 18, 20; Wimbledon 17; US Open 20; Yoda Guru 2021
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Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Thanks, TE.  I'm sure most people would be surprised to see Chardy, Benneteau, Thompson, Brengle, and other familiar names mentioned here, and none of them winning!

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

ATP

Bergamo, Italy
Winner: Jerzy Janowicz

The Jerzy Devil is back!  Sort of.  Far from playing in Wimbledon semis, it's good to see the big-serving Pole getting some success at the Challenger level.  He only dropped one set (to a qualifier, Egor Gerasimov (24, 409, Belarus)) on the way to the title, defeating Frenchman Quintin Halys in finals, who was also the highest ranked player Janowicz beat, at #137.  Jerzy is now ranked #188.
Top-seed Andreas Seppi lost in the first round 4 and 2 to qualifier Yannick Hanfmann (25, 307, Germany).


Kyoto, Japan
Winner: Yasutaka Uchiyama

Of the 10 Japanese players present in this draw, it was not #1 seed Yuichi Sugita who took home the trophy, but rather unseeded & unheralded Uchiyama that surprisingly broke through.  Before this tournament, Uchiyama only had one main draw win at this level in 2017 and had never won a Challenger title before.  And yet, that didn't stop him from defeating Marinko Matosevic in the first round, #4 seed Ze Zhang, #2 seed Grega Zemlja, and then finally #6 seed Blaz Kavcic in the final.
Sugita actually lost to a qualifier from South Africa named Lloyd Harris (#277) who just turned 20 two weeks ago.


Wroclaw, Poland
Winner: Jurgen Melzer

Jurgen Melzer is back!  Sort of.  The 35-year-old Austrian came in as the #8 seed using Protected Ranking and proceeded to take the title without dropping a set.  Along the way, he beat in-form Janowicz (who won a title at this level the week prior (see above)), #3 Kenny de Schepper, and #1 Paul-Henri Mathieu.  He's now up to #157 in the world.
Although Melzer is a very familiar name, he beat another familiar name in the finals: Polish Wild Card entrant Michal Przsieszsysiysnzsy!  Michal was once as high as #57, but is now out of the Top 300.  Although he has struggled to get out of Qualifying or early rounds at the Challenger level this year, he made the most of his WC here and should hopefully get more direct entry to future Challengers.


Yokohama, Japan
Winner: Yuichi Sugita

Sugita, here, really had to fight for this title, despite being the top-seed in a Challenger tournament for the 2nd week in a row (see above).  Not only did he come close to losing to Aussie qualifier Blake Mott (20, 286) in the semis, but actually saved TWO Championship Points in the finals (one with a crazy volley) before going on to win in a 3rd-set TB.
His opponent in the finals was yet another qualifier: Korean teen Kwon Soon-Woo.  Kwon had barely done anything at this level this year (and is only 15-18 in Challengers in his career), but can trace his improved play back to a very tight 4-set loss to Denis Istomin in Davis Cup just a few weeks ago.  Had Kwon managed to take one of the Championship Points, it would have been the highlight of his short career to this point.



WTA

Clare, Australia $25k
Winner: Beatriz Haddad-Maia

BHM was the #1 seed here and won pretty convincingly, only dropping one set along the way (to in-form Aussie teen Destanee Aiava) and defeating her final round opponent, 17-year-old Russian Merketa Vondrousova, 2 and 2.
This is BHM's first $25k title, with two $50k titles last year.


Curitiba, Brazil $25k
Winner: Anastasia Potapova

I'm sure you've never seen that name before.  However, maybe you should know it.  Why?  Yes, this is her first ever ITF title.  Her age?  She's a few weeks from 16.  So what's distinct about her?  Her Juniors Ranking: #1.
Entering this $25k as a Junior Entry, she drew the #2 seed in the first round: home hope Teliana Pereira.  Potapova disposed of her in straight sets and proceeded to charge to the final, only dropping one set on the way (to Amanda Carrerras, 26, #275, Great Britain).
Her opponent in the final was an even younger 15-year-old player; this one a qualifier from USA, Amanda Anisimova.  HER Juniors rank happens to be #4, and was once as high as #2 last year.  She beat top-seed Irina Khromacheva in the semis, and very easily, too, I might add. 
These 15-year-old kids are really showing promise on the Pro ITF circuit!

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

ATP

Santiago, Chile
Winner: Rogerio Dutra Silva

RDS was the #1 seed here and managed to live up to that number.  He defeated towering Chilean Nicolas Jarry in the finals, who entered the draw as a WC.  His 4 wins here are his first at this level in 2017.  Meanwhile, this is RDS' 8th Challenger title.
Elsewhere in the draw, we see the return of Simone Bolelli to singles action.  He actually won 3 matches here before succumbing to RDS in the semis.


Zhuhai, China
Winner: Evgeny Donskoy

Backing up his performance in Dubai, #1-seeded Donskoy won this tournament with the loss of only 1 set (his first one).  TBF, though, his biggest competition didn't come until the final, and that was only #7 seed Thomas Fabbiano.
A champion last week, #2 seed Yuichi Sugita succumbed in the 2nd round here.


WTA

Zhuhai, China $60k
Winner: Denisa Allertova

Nice to see Allertova getting some form back.  You probably don't remember, but she was knocking on the door of the Top 50 early last year.  With this win, she should be back in the Top 100 soon.  Despite having been so high ranked previously, this is actually her biggest Singles title ever.
She defeated #4 seed Zheng Saisai in the finals.  Top seed Su-Wei Hsieh lost in the quarters.

Mildura, Australia $25k: Viktoria Kuzmova, an 18-year old Russian.  She's now up to a career-high rank of 194.  This is her 2nd $25k title in singles.  She defeated Katie Boulder (20, 349, GBR) in the finals.

Yokohama, Japan $25k: Akiko Omae, a 25-year-old born less than 300 miles from where this tournament takes place.  Has now won a whopping FOUR $25k titles, but has yet to break through in a higher level tourney.  Still, she's fast approaching her career-high ranking of 222 that she ad back in 2012.  Beat fellow Japanese Mayo Hibi in the final

Sao Paulo, Brazil $25k: Irina Khromacheva, who is a Top 100 player.  What's she doing scumming it down here?  She recently beat this week's $60k champ, Allertova, in their last match, and she won this tournament so easily it was absurd.  Brazil's own Gabriel Ce took her to a 7-5 set in the quarters, but that's the closest to a challenge Khromacheva got here.  This is her NINTH $25k.  She won two $50k tourneys last year, so Zhuhai would have been a nice opportunity for her.  Oh well.  To put her ranking in perspective, this tournament's #2 seed (Teliana Pereira) was ranked nearly 100 spots below her.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Canadians gone wild last 3 weeks on the challenger/future circuit
Shapovalov with a Futures win
Auger-Aliassime with a Futures win
now Shapovalov into the final of a Challenger after beating FAA today.
Woo hoo!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Right you are, Dwight!  And Denis "Black Eye" Shapovalov ended up winning his first Challenger!

Before I give my full update for last week, I just want to point out the Curitiba $25k runner-up, Amanda Anisimova, is a Wild Card in Miami this week, so check her out if you get a chance.  I went back and looked at her results from that tournament and can only surmise that she lost the final due to nerves.  She had to win two Qualifying matches just to get in to Curitiba, and guess how many games she lost in those two matches?
That's right: ZERO GAMES.  She double-bageled BOTH of her qualifying opponents.  And then she made it to the finals winning 7 of 8 sets with a score of 6-2 or better!!

Anisimova is SO young and low-ranked that she's not even in our TDC database yet.  But she has a TON of potential.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Great info Arvis!  That is some domination!
Yes, she is an exciting up and comer to be sure!  Her name has popped up a few times in the last while... super curious to see how she handles Miami. 

Do we have a protocol for how new players are added to TDC database?  Does it happen automatically? or at the beginning of every year? or???

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

17-year old Denis Shapovalov has now won 16 matches in a row and faces Jerzy Janowicz Saturday for a spot in the final of the Guadalajara challenger.  I expect it will be too stiff a test for the young Canuck.  But you never know...

Two days ago, Shaps beat Vasek Pospisil who has been to a Wimbledon quarter-final and has a career high rank of 25.   For Janowicz CHR is 14, and he's been to a Wimby semi.  You can live-stream the match for free off the ATP site challenger page at 7 pm local time (MT) http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/atp-challenger-tour

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Holy crapola!  17 straight wins for DS
Good luck manana against Basic!  Go Denis!!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

ATP

Irving, TX, USA
Winner: Aljaz Bedene

Bedene won his 12th Challenger title here amongst many peers who crashed out of Indian Wells.  But it wasn't easy for him.  Entering the draw as an Alternate, he defeated 2nd-seed Lorenzi in the first round.  However, he dropped the first set against Bellucci in the 2nd round before squeaking out a 2nd-set TB and going on for the win.  Dangerously close to elimination there, he had to do the exact same thing Andrey Rublev in the semis.  He defeated Kukushkin, who arguably was the stronger player, in the finals in 3 sets.
Top-seed Granollers lost in the first round to Radu Albot.


Shenzhen, China
Winner: Yuichi Sugita

Sugita is going to town on the Challenger circuit this year.  This is his 8th career title, his 2nd of 2017 (and it's not even April yet) and his 2017 record is now standing at 16-4.  He defeated Blaz Kavcic (who beat top-seed Donskoy in the 3rd round) in the finals and only dropped 2 sets along the way.  Sugita was this tournament's #2 seed.


Drummondville, Canada
Winner: Denis Shapovalov

As previously reported by Dwight, Shapovalov has been in excellent form on the Challenger circuit!  He didn't drop a single set on his way to the title here, which was his first ever at the Challenger level!  He's now sitting at his career-high ranking, #194.  He was unseeded here and defeated 4th-seed Ruben Bemelmans in the final.
Top-seed Adam Pavlaszek, a Challenger circuit darling not too long ago, lost in the first round to Laurent Lokoli (22, 271, France), who previously had no Challenger wins in 2017.  Pavlaszek's total match record at all levels in 2017 is 0-3.


Buenos Aires, Argentina
Winner: "Awesome" Taro Daniel

3rd-seeded Taro Daniel shakes his "Pantyhose" nickname for another year with his first Challenger title of 2017!  Although he has yet to achieve a Tour-level win this year, he's 11-2 on the Challenger circuit, with 1 title and 1 runner-up.  He defeated 8th-seed Leo Mayer in the finals, who struggled his way through the draw, attempting to regain some of his better form.  The only set Taro Daniel lost in this tournament was his first one against Mayer.
Top-seed Carlos Berlocq withdrew with injury in the quarters (against Mayer).


Quanzhou, China
Winner: Thomas Fabbiano

6th-seed Fabbiano of Italy defeated nobody of note on his way to the title here.  What is noteworthy, however, was that he was 1-3 at this level in 2017 before this tournament started and had only 1 Challenger title to his name.  So, out of nowhere, Fabbiano comes up with a second one.  He dropped one set (to Nedovyesov, from Ukraine) along the way and faced no seeded players.
More interesting is who he defeated in the final: a 20-year-old qualifier, also Italian, named Matteo Berrettini.  He's now #338 in the world.  After failing to qualify for Shenzhen, he came here and not only qualified, but defeated the #8, #2, and #5 players before succumbing to Fabbiano in the finals in 2 tiebreaks.  Could this be the start of a Raonic-like rise for the young 6'4" Italian?
Despite having success this year, top-seed Yuichi Sugita fell in the first round.


Guadalajara, Mexico
Winner: Mirza Basic

The Bosnian wins his second Challenger title, defeating the #1, #4, and #5 seeds on the way to the title, where he defeated in-form young Canadian Denis Shapovalov.  Basic only dropped one set here, a tiebreak, to the #1 seed, Victor Estrella Burgos.
Vasek Pospisil was also here as the #2 seed, but despite his recent win over the #1 player in the world, was routined 3 and 3 by his countryman Shapovalov in the 2nd round.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

interesting stuff Arvis...did Shapo play both in Canada and Mexico?

20 Queen Droid & BB-8 Cup Wimbledon 14 US Open Yoda Cup16 Wimbledon 14 French Open Alpha Cup12, 13 & 16
King Droid 15 Naboo Cup 14 Lord Vader- RU

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Yeah, that's the last 2 weeks summarized, since I missed last week

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

WTA

Shenzhen, China $60k
Winner: Ekaterina Alexandrova

The 23-year-old Russian 3rd-seed just landed the biggest title of her career here!  She played the whole tournament very well and only dropped one set (in a tiebreak) to Ons Jabeur, whose current form makes her perhaps the most dangerous opponent in this draw.  She beat unseeded Belarussian teen Aryna Sabalenka in the finals, officially becoming a Top 100 player now.  Look out for Alexandrova on the Tour level!
Sabalenka won 2 $50k tourneys last year as is ranked #130, but is only 4-4 on the year.  Perhaps we'll see her round into form soon.
Top-seed Su-Wei Hsieh lost in the quarters to Anna Kalinskaya (18, #150, Russia).


Mornington, Australia $25k
Winner: Destanee Aiava

Well, look who it is: the deadliest 16-year-old around.  This is Aiava's second $25k title of the year.  She has gained 170 ranking spots since the end of last year and is knocking on the door of the Top 200.
As the tournament's #4, she defeated #7 Barbora Krejcikova (21, #257, Czech) in the finals.  Krejciokva defeated the tournament's #1, Lizette Cabrera (19, #184, Australia), in the semis and took Aiava to 3 in the finals.  But at the end, Aiava continues to be too strong.
Below is a chronological list of players Aiava has lost to this year:
- Svetlana Kuznetsova
- Mona Barthel
- Arina Rodionova
- Beatriz Haddad Maia
...and that's it.  She's currently playing Mornington 2 this week.  We'll see how she does.


Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy $25k
Winner: Katarina Zavatska

Here's a cool story!  This 17-year-old Ukrainian, who is currently outside the Top 500, had to qualify to get into this tournament.  In 2015, she won two $10ks, but couldn't quite get over the hump in 2016.  In fact, this same Italian city hosts a 16-under tournament in October, and she couldn't win that, losing in the final after winning the first set with a bagel. 
However, Zavatska seems to be in great form to start 2017, with an 8-4 record and her best ever title here in Italy.  Although things started with difficulty, she settled in after the first two rounds (both 3-setters) and won the last 3 all in straight sets.  She beat Chloe Paquet (22, #278, France) in the finals.  Her most noticeable scalp?  In-form Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu in the semis.
#1 Cindy Burger (24, #168, Netherlands) lost in the first round.  She's 0-3 on the ITF level this year, but has two wins in WTA Qualifying matches.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Awesome write up, Arvis!

And let's not forget that "in-form Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu" as you phrase it, is also only 16, and is younger than Destanee (by a month or so) with a virtually identical ranking.  Bianca is a remarkable 10-2 this year. 

It's a very exciting time in the young ranks of the WTA!
(Aiava, Andreescu, Anisimova, Potapova, Zavatska... and others too...!)

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Thank you, Dwight!

And yes, very true, Andreescu is playing great!  But, to be fair, she started 2017 almost 100 ranking spots ahead of Aiava, and is now several below her.  Watching the rankings race between these two could be fascinating!

On a personal note, my favorite Juniors player, Claire Liu, is currently playing a Juniors tournament where she is the #1 seed.  She's won her first two rounds in straights.  Really hoping she can win this one and get some momentum and confidence.  Her Pro attempts this year haven't gone well, including a loss to Andreescu, and also a (bad) first round loss in Indian Wells qualies to Anett Kontaveit.
Liu is out of the Top 500 in Pro Rankings, but is a Top 10 Juniors player.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Change is a comin'!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

ATP

Leon, Mexico
Winner: Adrian Menendez-Maceiras

When was the last time AMM won a Challenger tournament?  10 years ago, when he was 21 years old.  The career-journeyman, who is still outside the Top 200 for now, had to qualify just to get into this tournament.  When he did, he drew a Mexican WC in the first round.  Despite having that "easy" first round match, he still dropped the first set before settling in and then eking out a win 7-5 in the 3rd.  His next match was #2 Ernesto Escobedo, a Top 100 player.  Dropping the first set again, Escobedo's form dropped significantly and AMM was shockingly able to routine him in sets 2 and 3.  A similar pattern followed in the next round against Gabashvili, who continues to struggle.  However, AMM settled in and was able to hold his nerve all the way to the title.  Perhaps AMM will follow this up with maybe getting himself a second career Tour-level match win?  That's right: in his long career, he has only won one Tour-level match.  Hopefully he can change that.
As is often the case, though, the man who lost in the final could be seen as the more interesting story.  It's an unknown Ecudaorian player named Roberto Quiroz, who is 25 and, like AMM, had to come through Qualifying here.  Quiroz had struggled to get ANY wins at this level this year, and even struggled in Futures tourneys.  Those struggles continued in qualifying, as he nearly lost in Q1 to Daniel Elahi Galan (20, #393, Colombia).  With another tight win in Q3, Quiroz qualified, and after that something seemed to click.  Not only did he not drop a single set until the final, but his last two wins in the tournament were over Victor Estrella Burgos (the #1 seed) and Rajeev Ram.  That's a big jump up in difficulty compared with Elahi Galan.
Quiroz even took the first set over AMM in the final, but nerves got the better of him and Menendez proved to be the stronger player.  Will we see more of Quiroz this year?
Who would have thought we'd see a final between two Qualifiers?


St. Brieuc, France
Winner: Egor Gerasimov

SURPRISE!  Another Qualifier is a Challenger champion!  Not a good week for seeds in Challengers, last week.  However, #8 Tobias Kamke was runner-up here, so he at least did his job.
Gerasimov was once as high as #164 in 2015, but his ranking has fallen drastically since then. Perhaps an injury?  Either way, winning here has raised his ranking a whopping 141 spots!  He's almost back in the Top 250 now.  He's only 24, so he may yet make his mark on the Tour.  He even defeated #1 Gerald Melzer in the first round here, then Simone Bolelli in the 2nd, and Marco Chiudinelli in the 3rd, before holding nerve against promising French teen WC, Corentin Moutet, in the semis.
Kamke beat #2 Stakhovsky in the 3rd, but lost two TBs to Gerasimov to fall short of the title.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Great update, Arvis!  Fascinating and informative!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Bianca wins another one!

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

Thanks, Dwight!  ITF website is busted, so I can't get results from the women's tournaments.

But on a personal note, my "tennis little sister" Claire Liu did win that 18-under tourney, the Easter Bowl, despite a 3rd-round yip due to The Arvis Effect (just before her 3rd round is when I started following the tournament).
It's her second Easter Bowl title, her first coming at the tender age of 14.  She's the only player, boy or girl, to win the Easter Bowl twice in a 3-year span.
Her first win made her the 6th youngest player to ever win an ITF title, and the youngest since 1996, which is one of the big reasons why I even started following her career in the first place.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

One of my favourite ways to follow tennis is here:
http://live-tennis.eu/en/wta-live-ranking
check out all the drop down menus... there is a wealth of information at this site.

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

thanks you two...

20 Queen Droid & BB-8 Cup Wimbledon 14 US Open Yoda Cup16 Wimbledon 14 French Open Alpha Cup12, 13 & 16
King Droid 15 Naboo Cup 14 Lord Vader- RU

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

WTA

Quanzhou, China $60k
Winner: Zheng Saisai

After playing three $60k tourneys in a row, #1 seed Zheng Saisai finally gets a win!  She lost in the finals of Zhuhai to Allertova and then retired in the first round of Shenzhen.  But since Quanzhou moved up a week in the schedule, she was able to take a week off, come back fresh, and won the entire tournament in ridiculously easy fashion, never dropping more than 3 games in a set.  And it's not like she had only easy competition: she beat former Top 50 Zarina Diyas in the 3rd, and then the #7 and #6 players to finish the tournament.
This is Saisai's first $60k, however, in 2015, she won TWO $75k tourneys, plus one WTA 125k-series title!
#6 Fangzhou Liu (21, #139, China) was runner-up here. 


Croissy-Beaubourg, France $60k
Winner: Ekaterina Alexandrova

Wait a minute, didn't I just report on her?  Yep, that's right: after winning her first $60k two weeks ago, Alexandrova makes it two in a row.  Wow.
Like in Shenzhen, she dropped only one set, in a tiebreak, this time in the final to an unseeded Richel Hogenkamp (who got a retirement win over Belinda Bencic in the quarters).  What can we expect from Alexandrova at the Tour level now?
Hogenkamp herself has MANY ITF titles, including a whopping six $25ks, but none higher than that.  She seems ready to change that now.
#1 seed Oceane Dodin lost 4 and 4 in the first round to Magdalena Rybarikova.  And before you think that's a sign of a comeback for the former World #31 (who is now out of the Top 400), she followed up that win over Dodin with a loss to a qualifier named Anna Zaja (25, #264, Germany).


Mornington 2, Australia $25k
Winner: Sherezad Reix

France's Reix, ranked #273 and 2 days over the age of 28, came in as the tournament's #6 and won the title with the loss of only 1 set.  Her most noticeable win was over Destanee Aiava in the quarters, who won Mornington 1.
Coincidentally, Aiava defeated Barbora Krejcikova (21, #273, Czech) in the finals of Mornington 1, and Reix defeated the exact same player in the finals of Mornington 2!  The young Czech seems to struggle in finals.
#1 Arantxa Rus was a victim of Krejcikova's run to the finals.


Santa Margherita Di Pula, Italy $25k
Winner: Bianca Andreescu

As reported by Dwight, on-fire Canadian teen Bianca Andreescu wins her second $25k of 2017 (third of her career)!  Not to diminish how well she is playing, though, this was Andreescu's path to the trophy here:
1 - Wild Card with no ranking listed on the ITF website
2 - Qualifier ranked #367
QF - A Junior Entrant ranked #652
SF - Qualifier ranked #326
F - Qualifier ranked #321
So yeah.  Andreescu gets all the points and money, but she barely had to do anything for it.
That last Qualifier is named Bernarda Pera, a 22-year-old from Croatia, and she was within 1 or 2 points from beating Andreescu in the final.  However, Bianca held on and won the 3rd set in a TB, 10-8.  Epic, but it just shows how close Bianca came to blowing a golden opportunity.
Either way, Andreescu is now painfully close to becoming a Top 200 player for the first time.


Kofu, Japan $25k
Winner: Mayo Hibi

#7 defeats #4 (Han Na-Lae, 24, #190, South Korea) in a $25k where the top seed (Miyu Kato, 22, Japan) was barely inside the Top 200 (and is now ranked #201 with her first round loss here).
That was a choppy sentence.
Anyways, Mayo Hibi is having a great year!  She was runner-up in Yokohama a few weeks ago, and now here gets the 3rd $25k title of her career.
Interestingly, she and Han Na-Lae will be having a rematch soon in the 2nd round of this week's Kashiwa, Japan $25k.

Re: Challenger Chat 2017

So, I've been too busy to give this thread the attention I think it deserves, so.... I've just ignored it.  lol

BUT!
I have some exciting news!  Little Claire Liu, during her last days as a 16-year-old and first couple days as a 17-year-old, has won two $25k titles in a row!  Previously, her only title was a $10k when she was just a wee 15-year-old.  This is a most excellent sign for her future as a tennis pro and I couldn't be more excited.  She could even qualify for the USO at this rate!

In fact, counting a Qualifying she had to play in Naples, she went 16-1 in the month of May, with wins over Francoise Abanda (who she double breadsticked), Sofia Kenin, Kayla Day, Katarina Zavatska, and Paula Badosa Gibert.  Her one loss was in the semis of a $60k (great result) to Madison Brengle.  So now she and Serena Williams have both lost to the same player in the same year.

Another amazing thing she has accomplished, this one slightly heartbreaking for me, was she came within one set of winning the French Open Girls' Singles title.   What hurts the most is that Claire was by far the better player over the course of the tournament than the girl she lost to, Whitney Osuigwe, not dropping a single set or even being taken to a tiebreak until the final.  Osuigwe is not only not in the Top 1000, but when she and Liu played each other at the Easter Bowl a couple months ago, Liu beat her 1 and 1.  I can't help but think that nerves got the better of poor little Claire.

Still a great result, but man... I would have loved for her to be a Junior Slam champ so much.  During that run, she CRUSHED Canada's Bianca Andreescu 3 and 3 in the quarters.  In your FACE, Dwight!

At the end of 2016, Claire Liu was ranked #672.  She is now #275 in the world.  smile

Last edited by Arvis (Jun. 29, 2017 8:34am)