Week 44 on the ATP Challenger Tour saw the continued rise of a talented German, as well as a homeland victory for a certain resurgent 29-year-old.
Radu Albot gets on the board, Maximilian Marterer's stock rises
Radu Albot claimed his first Challenger title of 2017 and his fifth in the last three years as he triumphed over Hubert Hurkacz, 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 6-4, in the final in Shenzhen.
The 27-year-old halted Mikhail Youzhny’s imperious winning run in the semifinals and he edged a tight affair with the rising Hurkacz in the final.
Albot won only two more points than the Pole and the 20-year-old can reflect on a positive week in Asia. He dispatched second-seed Blaz Kavcic in the semifinals and he is undoubtedly a youngster to keep an eye on after winning a Futures title in Portugal earlier this year as well.
Meanwhile, the title in Eckental belonged to a German as Maximilian Marterer overcame Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-3, in Sunday’s final.
It marks Marterer’s third Challenger title this year in what has been a productive last few months for the top-100 debutant.
He ousted Brest champion Corentin Moutet for the loss of only one game in the quarterfinals and held his nerve during the crucial exchanges against the towering Pole in the final.
Gerald Melzer goes back-to-back, Matthew Ebden and Tim Smyczek record successes
Gerald Melzer tasted victory in Guayaquil to record back-to-back titles on the Challenger circuit with a 6-3, 6-1 demolition of Facundo Bagnis in Saturday’s final.
The Austrian needed only 55 minutes to dispatch Bagnis and he was in impressive form after coming through a tricky round of 16 match with Martin Cuevas earlier in the week.
Melzer recovered from a set down to advance and he dropped only thirteen games in six sets thereafter. The 27-year-old has now won 16 of his last 18 matches.
Elsewhere, Matthew Ebden reigned supreme in front of a home crowd in Canberra, beating Taro Daniel, 7-6(4), 6-4, in the final.
The title was the Australian’s first since Traralgon in 2015 and it caps off a comeback year for the 29-year-old who ended 2016 ranked 695th.
He came from a set down to beat countryman Marc Polmans in the quarterfinals and he will be pursuing his first 50-win season since 2015 in Kobe next week.
Lastly, the title in Charlottesville belonged to Tim Smyzcek as the 29-year-old defeated Tennys Sandgren, 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-2, in the final.
The world number 189 showed an impressive level throughout the week, ousting fifth-seed Bjorn Fratangelo for the loss of only three games.
He rallied from a set down to beat Sandgren in the final and the event has proven a happy hunting ground for Smyczek after he triumphed alongside Steve Johnson in the doubles in 2013. The Milwaukee native now boasts six Challenger titles and this week could prove a confidence booster after an up-and-down 2017.