Two French left-handers won ATP Challenger Tour titles on Sunday. Ugo Humbert former defeated US Open Dominik Thiem on home soil in Rennes for his seventh Challenger title Corentin Moutet triumphed at the Szczecin Challenger to take his second Challenger title of the season (Lyon).
Players from France have now won 17 Challenger Tour titles this season, equaling Argentina’s season-leading mark.
Humbert fended off all 21 breakpoints he faced en route to conquest over the past week Open Blot Rennes. In the championship match, the 24-year-old drove to a comfortable 6: 3, 6: 0 victory over Thiem.
“I’m super happy, it was a very big match. A final is never easy, I managed to improve my level of play today,” said Humbert. “I couldn’t have hoped for better, I’ve been looking for this level for a long time. I managed to play the important points well and I felt like I managed to crack it. Ending the week like this is very powerful. I’ve worked hard to reach this level of play.”
The Frenchman has won his last nine finals at all levels, including the ATP 500 event in Halle in 2021 (d. Rublev), which catapulted the left-hander to No. 25 on the Pepperstone ATP rankings. This week was Humbert’s first finals appearance since winning the title in Halle and his first Challenger finals appearance since October 2019 (Brest).
Humbert, who holds three Tour levels, started this season by beating the then world No. 2 Daniel Medvedev at the start of the season ATP Cup. That summer he reached three consecutive Challenger semifinals: Pozoblanco, Segovia and Vancouver. Humbert’s title on home soil this week puts him 110th on the Pepperstone ATP rankings.
“The Challengers are so strong that over time I knew they would put a smile on my face,” said Humbert. “In the end it’s this week and in France, which makes it even better. I want to get in the top 100 and be on the table for a grand slam. When I play at this level, I can hope for better things.”
Thiem, 29, competed in his third Challenger event of the year to get back into shape after suffering a wrist injury last season that forced him to miss nine months. In his semi-final match, he defeated Top-Seed Hugo Gaston 6-2, 7-5.
At the Peko Szczecin Open, Moutet claimed his sixth Challenger title, defeating Austrian Dennis Novak 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-4 in the final.
The 23-year-old arrived in Poland after reaching the fourth round US Openwhere he lost to the eventual finalist Kasper Ruud in four sentences. The title takes the Frenchman to a career-high number 64 in the world.
Corentin Moutet takes his second Challenger title this season.” />
Corentin Moutet takes his second Challenger title this season. Photo credit: Peko Szczecin Open
“I’m really happy to win here, especially today, it was a really tough match,” said Moutet. “Every time I play Dennis it’s a tough fight so I’m really happy I won this time. After this US Open, it’s a good result for the first tournament on clay. I feel healthy and still feeling fresh for the next week.”
In the final, Moutet got revenge for his 2021 loss to Novak, who won in a three hour and 10 minute clash at the Orleans Challenger. It was another tough battle in Szczecin as the Frenchman kept his cool and converted 7/14 break points into a triumph.
In the Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, North Carolina, home favorite Michael Mmoh German accepted Dominik Koepfer 7-5, 6-3 to win his first Challenger title since 2019. The 24-year-old, who has six Challenger titles (all on home soil) to his name, climbs up to 133 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings and is poised for a strong finish to the season.
“I have a gear to work towards, which is exciting, but I still played this match at a high level,” Mmoh said. “When the opportunities had to be seized, I seized them. Whoever changed direction first with a good ball won the point.
“Earlier this year I said my goal was to make the top 100. After this event and the momentum I have, that goal is still alive.”
Mmoh, who won the Tallahassee Challenger in April and reached the semifinals in Cleveland and Malaga, reached a career-high ranking of No. 96 in the world in October 2018 after collecting back-to-back titles in Columbus, Ohio and Tiburon, California.
Albot, the runner-up, claimed his ninth Challenger title and first of the season. In 2019, the 32-year-old had a personal best of 31 tour-level wins, including his first ATP Tour title in Delray Beach (d. Evans, saved 3 MPs), and climbed to a career-high No. 39 at the Pepperstone ATP Ranking.
Rosol edged out the top seeded Australian James Duckworth in the first round and didn’t drop a set en route to the final in Turkey.