Week 43 on the ATP Challenger Tour was headlined by youth with the victories of two 18-year-old's in France and China.
Moutet and Kecmanovic make it a week to remember
18-year-old Corentin Moutet won the battle of the youngsters in Brest as he saw off 19-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 7-6(8), in Sunday’s final.
Moutet entered as a wild card in France and swept through the draw of this week’s premiere Challenger event, saving the only two break points he faced against the Greek in the final.
He is set to rise into the top 200 on the back of his success and he becomes the fourth youngest winner of a Challenger event in 2017 behind Denis Shapovalov, Felix-Auger Aliassime and Kecmanovic.
Likewise, the title in Suzhou belonged to a fellow 18-year-old in Miomir Kecmanovic as he dispatched Radu Albot, 6-4, 6-4, in the final. The success marked the Serbian’s first career Challenger title after an impressive year on the Futures circuit.
Kecmanovic downed three seeds in his path to the trophy, not dropping a single set all week. He continues a promising year for Serbia on the Challenger tour.
Youzhny continues impressive run, Melzer and Kubler add first titles of 2017
John Millman put together his best run since his return from injury in Ho Chi Minh City but the Australian was undone by the veteran Mikhail Youzhny, 6-4, 6-4, in the final.
Millman dumped out fourth-seed Yuki Bhambri and fifth-seed Go Soeda en route to the final but he was unable to halt the Russian’s ten-match winning streak.
Youzhny triumphed in Ningbo last week without dropping a set and his success in Vietnam means he has won multiple titles in each of the last two years.
Elsewhere, Jason Kubler marked his return on the Challenger tour with success in Traralgon over Alex Bolt, 2-6, 7-6(6), 7-6(3).
The former junior world number one was competing in his first Challenger event since 2015 and he showed tremendous fighting spirit to down second-seed Matthew Ebden in the semifinals. Sibiu was the scene of Kubler’s last title on the Challenger circuit in 2014 and he will take great confidence from his triumph in Australia.
Gerald Melzer, meanwhile, preserved his hot streak on the red dirt as he won the title in Lima, 7-5, 7-6(4), over Josef Kovalik.
The Austrian has won 11 of his last 13 matches, atoning for a few near-misses in Cali and Buenos Aires with a flawless week in Peru.
Melzer bageled Jose Hernandez-Fernandez in the round of 16 and he made light work of Nicolas Kicker in Saturday’s semifinal. The victory takes Melzer’s Challenger title tally to six with his first of 2017.