In Challenger 80 in Mallorca (exterior concrete) we have Luca Nardi He got an amazing result, at the expense of Belgian Zizou Berges (#154 ATP) who fought hard for more than three hours but in the end had to surrender with a score of 7-6 (2) 3-6 7-5. The two, inquisitively dressed in a completely identical manner, could fool the occasional spectator, certainly not the enthusiast who could distinguish between a very good handyman and an artist. But we know that artists live a dimension of their own, without caring about everyday business. So it happens that our beginnings are a bit scattered and disappear instantly. His (weak) attempts to get back into the game were futile, until 4-5 he had to face two points. Who finally manages to combine inspiration and feasibility, drawing a passerby with a backhand and responsiveness between the opponent’s feet, always with a backhand. Then, after not exploiting a set point by answering 6-5, he dominated the tiebreak with paltry ease. The second set starts away right after the break in the fourth inning and so we move on to the third set which has a regular 6-5 trend for the blues. At this point, the Belgian goes to stay in the match and commits suicide by placing a cross backhand and dumping a not-so-impossible air ball into the net. The 19-year-old talent from Pesaro drops her racket to the ground, almost undoubtedly his third title of the season and in his career (the previous title for Forli and Lugano) which also gives him a new best-ranked 142nd ATP, the Italian seventh in the standings. He and Francesco Passaro (#124 ATP) are currently, without discussion, the best odds among our guys pushing behind the big names. We certainly can’t forget Cobolli, Zeppieri, Arnaldi and Maestrelli arriving hard on the run. Needless to say, this state of affairs for our movement is a display of health that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.
Around Francesco Passarothe Peruvian tennis player lost in the final at Challenger 80 in Como (mud) 7-6 (2) 6-4 to become involved by the German veteran Cedric Marcel Stipe (ATP #179, but 71st in 2012) in just over an hour and a half of play. As for the blue, it wasn’t a great day and the signs were already seen from the opening match where it was spot on brekkare. While the blue can’t find his usual rhythm, the German appears completely in control until he goes to serve 5-4 and at that point there is a long moment of confusion on the shores of Lake Como, with breaks and reverse-breaks following each other without an exact criterion, postponing the decision to the tiebreak. Unfortunately, Francesco has no chance.
In the second set, the blue starts well and immediately gains a break but is unable to defend. Francesco continues to make a lot of mistakes and fails to give continuity to his pressing game. And so we reach the twelfth match, in which another direct break (the fifth of his match) is fatal for Blue.
For 31-year-old Stipe, this is Challenger’s ninth win of his career (the last one was two years ago on an indoor hard court at Parma). For the Peruvian tennis player, there was an unexpected setback when he was already enjoying his second Challenger win. Instead, he faced a fourth defeat in the final (Sanremo, Forli and Milan ex) which leaves him perhaps with a bit of a bitter taste but also the awareness that he has now settled at a level of excellence: on the upper floors of the building. The Challenger Circuit is always there, sure. Which is a great result if we think that as of March it had mixed results to get out of the quicksand of futures contracts.
On the dirt court of Toulouse (Challenger 80), Belgian tennis avenges Burgess’ defeat and avenges his victory. Kemer Kopigans who, in a highly mixed final, beat host Maxime Janvier (#343 ATP) 6-7 (8), 6-4, 6-3. For the 28-year-old Belgian, winner of the Roland Garros junior race in 2012 and world number one at youth level, this seventh Challenger victory represented a breath of fresh air in a career from which he was surely expecting more. It may not be too late to turn around but unfortunately tennis history is filled with No. 1 rookies who just couldn’t.
From the Far East, at Challenger 50 in Nonthaburi (Thialandia, the outer concrete), we have Federico GaiusThe news of the victory of the French arrives Arthur Cazaux Who won the final against Australian Jessica Omar (#367 ATP) 7-6 (6) 6-4. For the 20-year-old Montpellier-born (Australian Open junior finalist in 2020), this is the first Challenger win of his career, after the successes of Futures (Pretoria and Merbusch) already appearing on his billboard.