Week 40 rolled around on the ATP Challenger Tour and it was a few familiar faces who headlined the success stories.
Cameron Norrie won his tenth match in a row and registered back-to-back titles on the Challenger tour with victory in Stockton. The Brit, the runner-up in Cary and champion in Tiburon in the last two weeks, dismantled Darian King, 6-1, 6-3, in gusty conditions to propel himself to 112 in the world. A berth in the main draw of the Australian Open remains a realistic possibility but Norrie was very nearly staring at a semifinal defeat against the American Michael Mmoh.
Mmoh led 5-0 in the opening set only for the 22-year-old to stage a dramatic comeback, winning 13 of the next 15 games to seal his spot in the final. He also saw off Tennys Sandgren for the third time in as many weeks and the Brit will head to Fairfield this week seeking yet more glory.
Filip Krajinovic, meanwhile, claimed his second title in consecutive weeks as he dispatched countryman Laslo Djere, 6-0, 6-3, in the final in Almaty. The Serb, who was overlooked by Davis Cup captain Nenad Zimonjic for his country’s semifinal tie with France on clay last month, has not dropped a set in two weeks of action and mesmerized the Kazakh crowd with four bagel sets during the week. The triumph was Krajinovic’s fifth in 2017 and he is three victories away from 50 on the year.
Elsewhere, Maximilian Marterer delighted the Mexican crowd as he reigned supreme in Monterrey, ousting Brydan Klahn, 7-6(3), 7-6(6), in the final. Neither player surrendered any break points and it was an exhibition of big-serving from the lefties in an hour and a half’s play.
Marterer collected the title in Banja Luka last month and he breezed through the draw in Mexico without dropping a set. The German is yet to record a victory on the pro tour (0-10) but he continues to dazzle on the Challenger circuit.
Donskoy, Elias taste success
Evgeny Donskoy added his second Challenger title of 2017 as he triumphed in Kaohsiung. The Russian battled past Marius Copil, 7-6(0), 7-5, in Sunday’s final. Seeded fourth Donskoy staved off Lukas Lacko in straight sets in the quarterfinals and he was a cut above Copil when it mattered in the final.
Gastao Elias exorcised the demons of his final loss in Barletta earlier this year as he came from a set down to beat Renzo Olivo, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the final in Campinas. The 26-year-old showed serious mettle to register his first title of 2017; also rallying from a set down against compatriot Goncalo Oliveira in the semifinals. Top-seed Federico Delbonis was stunned in the opening round by world number 266 Andrea Collarini.