November Challenger Recap: Seppi, Nieminen Winners, Volandri Victorious at Challenger Tour Finals, Ebden Finishes Strong
Bogota Challenger (November 4-November 10, 2013)
This 125k clay court challenger was won by Victor Estrella who beat Thomaz Bellucci in the final of the Bolivar Open. Bellucci will be seeking to return to the top 100 next year and finished the year strong with a title and a final in a pair of challengers. Bellucci beat Alejandro Falla in the semis while Estrella took care of Guilherme Clezar. Estrella also notably took out seeded players Horacio Zeballos and Guido Pella before the semis.
Bratislava Challenger (November 4-November 10, 2013)
Lukas Lacko won the battle of the Lukases with a 3 set win over Lukas Rosol in the final of this indoor hard court challenger. The win comes at home for the Slovak Lacko, where he beat Igor Sijsling in the semis while Rosol beat JL Struff. 2 seed Bernard Tomic, who surprisingly entered this event, was knocked out in the opening round by Ilya Marchenko.
Ortisei Challenger (November 4-November 10, 2013)
Andreas Seppi beat Simon Greul on hard courts in Italy to take this title in his home nation at the end of the season. Seppi beat Teymuraz Gabashvili in the semis while Greul beat Dustin Brown in the semis after knocking out 3 seed Dudi Sela in the opening round.
Yeongwol Challenger (November 4-November 10, 2013)
American Bradley Klahn is now a top 100 player after a great year of tennis that was capped with this victory in South Korea on hard courts. Klahn improved his total this year to 1 futures title, 1 futures final, 3 challenger finals, and 2 challenger titles. He also put in a bunch of quality quarterfinal and semifinal appearances in 2013 challengers. Klahn’s victory came over Taro Daniel in the final, after he beat Di Wu in the semis. On the flipside, Daniel beat James McGee in the semis.
ATP Challenger Tour Finals (November 11-November 17, 2013)
This special event in Brazil on clay was primarily made up of top performing challenger players in 2013 along with a couple of wild cards. It was won by Filippo Volandri and it followed the same format as the ATP World Tour finals, with similar prize money bonuses for performance. Volandri beat Alejandro Gonzalez in the final after round robin play. The win gave him 3 challenger titles on the year and 12 total in his career. Volandri finishes 2013 in the top 70 and Gonzalez finishes 2013 in the top 100.
Good year end finishes for them both.
Champaign Challenger (November 11-November 17, 2013)
For a while it seemed like Tennys Sandgren’s pro career was getting off to a slow start as he hasn’t had the same breakthrough year or runs at the ATP level that a few of his fellow American youngsters have had. That has all changed. Sandgren seems to be keeping pace now as he won his first career challenger title in Champaign in 3 sets over Aussie Sam Groth. He is now at a career high ranking of 187 and is poised to improve on that in 2014 if he can keep up the same level of play he showed here. Sandgren scored upset wins over Filip Peliwo and Jack Sock in round 1 and 2 and beat qualifier Dan Smethurst to reach the final while tournament runner-up Groth beat Denis Nevolo in the semis.
Guayaquil Challenger (November 11-November 17, 2013)
Leo Mayer beat Pedro Sousa on clay in Ecuador to claim this challenger win. Mayer beat the up and coming youngster Gianluigi Quinzi in the semis while Sousa beat David Souto.
Helsinki Challenger (November 11-November 17, 2013)
Jarkko Nieminen was another ATP regular to capture a title in his home country in the month of November as he beat Ricardas Berankis to win the Helsinki challenger on hard courts. Nieminen beat top performer JL Struff in the semis while Berankis beat Henri Laaksonen.
Lima Challenger (November 11-November 17, 2013)
Horacio Zeballos beat Facundo Bagis on clay in Peru to capture this challenger title. Zeballos beat Martin Alund and will finish the year top 60 while Bagnis will finish in the top 130. Bagnis beat Ricardo Hocevar in the semis
Yokohoma Challenger (November 11-November 17, 2013)
Top seed Matt Ebden beat Go Soeda on hard courts in Japan and the Aussie continued his strong finish to the season. Ebden beat the in-form Bradley Klahn in the semis as well, while Soeda beat Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
Andria Challenger (November 18-November 24, 2013)
Marton Fucsovics kept Dustin Brown from getting a direct entry spot in the Australian Open by beating him in the final and winning this carpet challenger in Italy. Fucsovics beat Frank Dancevic in the semis while Brown beat Yann Marti.
Tyumen Challenger (November 18-November 24, 2013)
Andrey Golubev beat Andrey Kuznetsov on hard courts in Russia to take this challenger title and cap off his season with a win. Golubev beat Teymuraz Gabashvili in the semis while Kuznetsov handled Ilya Marchenko.
Toyota Challenger (November 18-November 24, 2013)
Matt Ebden should be right up to his career high ranking again in the top 70 after yet another challenger title in the final event of the year. Ebden finishes the year with 4 challenger titles, along with 2 challenger finals and a handful of other good semis and quarterfinal results. Ebden beat yet another Japanese player on his home court, Yuichi Sugita, to win this carpet challenger and beat Blaz Rola in the semis while Sugita beat Sam Groth.
The Challenger tour season has now concluded along with the ATP season, and things will start back up come January, I hope everyone enjoyed the coverage for the year of tennis that was 2013. It’sbeen a blast for us at Tennis East Coast!
—Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast