Shang and Zhang Make Chinese Challenger History | ATP Tour

Shang Juncheng and Zhang Zhizhen made history on Sunday when they became the first Chinese duo to win titles on the ATP Challenger Tour in the same week. Following the success of Wu Yibing, who has won three Challenger titles this year, including in Indianapolis two weeks ago, China now has three male players in the top 250 of the Pepperstone ATP rankings.

Shang, 17, triumphed on Sunday to become the youngest Chinese champion in Challenger Tour history. The teenager defeated Emilio Gomezwho was on a nine-game winning streak, 6-4, 6-4 to capture that Lexington Challenger presented by Meridian Wealth Management Title.

En route to the trophy, Shang grabbed the top seed and recent Nur Sultan title list, Roman Safiullin, who recovered from a 6-0 shutout in the first set to advance to the semifinals where he recovered again after losing a set to defeat Aleksander Kovacevic. Two weeks ago, the American had six championship points against Wu in the Indianapolis finals but failed to complete the game.

Coached by the former world No. 1 and another leftist Marcelo Rioswho was at Lexington, Shang is the youngest player to win a Challenger title since Carlo Alcaraz 2020 in Alicante.

Shang Juncheng feiert seinen Lexington Challenger-Titel mit Trainer <a href=Marcelo Rios.” />
Shang Juncheng celebrates his Lexington Challenger title with coach Marcelo Rios.

Since 2010, only four younger men have won a Challenger title: Felix Auger-Aliassime (16 years, 10 months), Alexander Zverev (17 years, 2 months), Carlo Alcaraz (17 years, 3 months) and Nicola Kuehn (17 years, 3 months).

The left-hander climbs more than 100 spots in the Pepperstone ATP rankings to a career-high 241st to the 114th.

Zhang appeared in his third consecutive Challenger final after coming second at Ludenscheid and Trieste, and claimed his third Challenger title when he won at Serena Wines Tennis Cup 1881 in Cordenons, Italy. It took Zhang three hours and two minutes to win his first title since 2019, defeating the home favorite Andrea Vavassori 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in the final.

The 25-year-old’s career high of 136 set in 2020 is the highest set by a male Chinese player. His Cordenons title elevates him to world No. 161 and reclaims his status from Wu (now 173) as China’s top-ranked player.

In a busy week on the Italian clay for Vavassori, he teamed up Dustin Brown to win the doubles title. His recent success, appearing in back-to-back singles finals at San Bendetto and Cordenons, propels Vavassori to a career-high 176 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings.

#NextGenATP Jiri Lehecka kept an eye on the eight-player Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals after winning the Svijany open. The 20-year-old defeated the Spaniard in a home game in Liberec, Czech Republic Nicholas Alvarez Varona 6-4, 6-4 to win his first Challenger title of the season and third overall.

The Czech stormed into a first tour-level semifinal as a qualifier at the ATP 500 event in Rotterdam in February, a run that included an upset Lorenzo MusettiBotic Van de Zandschulp and Denis Shapovalov.

the previous Wimbledon Boys Doubles Champion (with Jonas Forejtek) climbs to a career-high 59 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings and is sixth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Milan. Alvarez Varona also hits a career high at 223.

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