#NextGenATP Star Juan Manuel Cerundolo was among a trio of players who won their first ATP Challenger Tour titles of the season on Sunday. The 20-year-old triumphed on home soil in Buenos Aires and joined the Frenchman Gregor Barrere (Orleans) and Italian Marco Cecchinato collecting their first trophies of the season.
In front of an energetic Argentine crowd, Cerundolo defeated his compatriot Camilo Ugo Carabelli 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 in the final for the triumph Challengers from Buenos Aires to claim his fourth Challenger Tour title.
After his breakthrough season in 2021, when Cerundolo clinched three Challenger titles and won the ATP 250 event in Cordoba, the left-hander struggled with leg and hip injuries in 2022 that forced him to take time off. This week, the 20-year-old returned to the winners’ circle, having dropped just one set all week. The title lifts Cerundolo to 19th place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Milan.
“I’m relieved. I feel like all the months of recovery have paid off,” Cerundolo said. “I didn’t expect to get to this level so quickly. My goal is to maintain the level that I have in this tournament. I feel very good, today I was able to run everywhere.
“It’s a plus to play in front of your family and people, it gives you extra energy. At the same time you have a bit of pressure because you want to show your highest level.”
An all-Argentinian final filled the stands in Buenos Aires. Photo credit: Manuel Cortina
Argentina players have combined to win 19 Challenger titles in one season. Cerundolo is the 14th Argentine champion of the year, setting a Challenger Tour record for most diverse winners from a single country in one season (USA 2006, France 2011).
Ugo Carabelli, 23, competed in his fourth Challenger final of the season. Following his title in Lima last month, the Buenos Aires native hit a career-high 96 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings.
At the Open d’Orleans, Barrere won the all-French final, defeating Quentin Halys 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win his fourth Challenger title.
Barrere is the first Challenger champion this year to beat four top 100 players en route to the title (fifth since 2010). Over after a first round win Damir Dzumhurthe 28-year-old ousted Marton Fucsovics, Richard Gasquet, Hugo Gastonand Halys to lift the trophy at the indoor hard court event.
In 2019, Barrere finished second at the Orleans Challenger on home soil, a run that placed him at No. 80 of his career. After being crowned champion this week, the Frenchman rises to 116th.
Halys competed in his sixth Challenger final of the season. The 25-year-old won the Pau and Lille Challengers in the spring and set a career high at No. 71 last month.
In doubles in Orleans Top Seeds Nicholas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin were crowned world champions. Mahut, former world No. 1 in doubles, and Roger-Vasselin, former No. 6 in doubles, have won seven tour-level doubles titles as a couple.
On the clay courts of Lisbon, Portugal, Italy Marco Cecchinato didn’t drop a set all week en route to the Del Monte Lisboa Belem Open title, beating the Frenchman Luca van Assche 6: 3, 6: 3 in the final.
Cecchinato, who hit a career-high 16 in 2019, claimed his first Challenger title since March 2018. The 30-year-old is a three-time Tour champion (Budapest, Umag, Buenos Aires).
“I am very happy about winning the title. It’s important for me because this year has been a tough year,” said Cecchinato. “I started the year with an injury and started playing again after three months.
“I played incredible tennis this week… It wasn’t easy, every match was tough, but I felt good on the court from the first round and I was very focused today.”
Marco Cecchinato in action during the Lisbon Challenger final.” />
Marco Cecchinato in action during the Lisbon Challenger final. Photo credit: Beatriz Ruivo
In 2018, Cecchinato reached the semifinals Roland Garroswhere he defeated Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals before the fall Dominik Thiem. At the time No. 72 in the world, Cecchinato became the lowest ranked Roland Garros Semifinalist since Andrei Medvedev (No. 100) in 1999.
Van Assche, 18, advanced through qualifying en route to his first Challenger Finals, a run that took him 231st in the Pepperstone ATP rankings in his career. The Frenchman also reached the semi-finals at the Blois Challenger in June (l. Alexandre Mueller).
The LTP Men’s Open in Charleston, South Carolina, scheduled to end on October 2, was canceled Wednesday due to the potential impact of Hurricane Ian.
Did you know?
On Sunday, Yoshihito Nishioka and Marc Andrea Husler was added to the list of players who will win on the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour in 2022. Nishioka, who won the Columbus Challenger in January, took the title at the Eugene Korea Open Tennis Championships. Huesler, who clinched two Challenger titles (Mexico City and Aguascalientes) in April, was crowned at the champion Sofia open. Four other players have earned a Tour Level title and a Challenger title this season: Borna Korik, Holger Rune, Francisco Cerundoloand Lorenzo Musetti.