Watanuki Wins Yokohama Keio Challenger

Yosuke Watanuki (photo: Yokohama Keio Challenger)

YOKOHAMA/STARNBERG, November 30, 2023

Home favourite Yosuke Watanuki claimed the title of the 2023 Yokohama Keio Challenger by Mita Kosan. The top seed of the $80,000 ATP Challenger Tour hard-court tournament held at the Mamushidani Tennis Court in Yokohama, Japan.

Watanuki advanced to the championship match with wins in the top half of the draw over Yu Hsiou Hsu of Chinese Taipei, French lucky loser Mathys Erhard, Italian lucky loser Giovanni Fonio and third-seeded US-American Michael Mmohl.

The 25-year-old battled past his compatriot Yuta Shimizu in Sunday’s singles final, winning 7-6(5), 6-4. By lifting his fourth ATP Challenger Tour career trophy, his first of the season, Watanuki earned $10,840 in prize money as well as 75 ATP Ranking points.

“First of all, I would like to thank Mita Kosan and all of our many sponsors for making this tournament possible. I am really happy to be here in Japan,” said Watanuki during his on-court speech.

“Congratulations to (Shimizu) Yuta, the runner-up, for today’s achievement. I would also like to congratulate everyone on the team. Yuta is one year younger than me, and we went to the same high school. I didn’t realize until I became a pro how amazing your ability to be able to compete at this level with your height , and you are one of the players I really respect.

“And to my team members, Hara-sann and Shin-chan, and Osada-san, who is not here right now. I am also very grateful to my family and my brother who coached me until the end of my stay in New York. I would like to say thank you not only to the people who are taking care of me now, but also to everyone who has helped me in the past, and I would like to express my gratitude to all of them. Thank you very much.

“I would also like to thank Mr. Sakai and everyone at Keio University for their warm support during the week. There are many universities in the U.S., but Keio University is the only university in Japan that holds the Challenger, and I believe that this event has a great significance. It is very encouraging for us to have a university host this event, and I think it sets an example for more such events to follow. 

“Last but not least, thanks to everyone’s really warm support from the first round in the cold yesterday and throughout the week, I lost in the final last year, but this year I was able to win and get a watch. Thank you so much for all your support. I hope you will give me warm support when I play in Japan again. Thank you so much.”