Kirkin Captures Maiden Challenger Title At Brasil Tennis Open

Ergi Kirkin (photo: João Pires/Instituto Sports)


Ergi Kirkin of Turkey has clinched his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour by winning the inaugural Brasil Tennis Open in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The No. 8 seed of the $41,000 clay-court event defeated home favourite and lucky loser Daniel Dutra da Silva 6-3, 7-5 in Sunday’s singles final.

Kirkin, 25, sent down five aces and capitalized on six of his seven break-point opportunities to seal victory in one hour and 43 minutes.

The World No. 299, a winner of 13 titles ITF World Tennis Tour, pocketed a prize purse of $5,660 as well as 50 ATP Ranking points. Kirkin has become the fourth Turkish champion in Challenger history, joining Altug Celikbilek, Cem Ilkel and Marsel Ilhan.

The 35-year-old Dutra da Silva, who became the oldest player to reach his maiden final on the ATP Challenger Tour, collected $3,350 in prize money and 25 ATP Ranking points.

Porto Alegre affected by flood

The Brasil Tennis Open was held at the Associação Leopoldina Juvenil in Porto Alegre, situated in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. The region had to deal with heavy rain over the last couple of days. The Guaiba River, which flows through the city of 1.4 million people, reached a record high level of 5.3 meters (17.4 feet), according to the local municipality, well above the historic peak of 4.76 meters that had stood as a record since devastating 1941 floods. More than 80,000 people were forced to flee their homes.

The sponsors of the ATP Challenger, led by Santander, have engaged in a campaign to collect donations of money and products, promoted by Associação Leopoldina Juvenil and organizer Instituto Sports since midweek. Members and supporters joined in, and a lot was collected. Anything not used by the Challenger, such as water supplies, was sent to Civil Defense.

The Challenger swing in Brazil, however, continues next week with the Santos Brasil Tennis Cup. With the airport closed and flights being canceled, a bus was chartered so that the staff, umpires, and some players could travel to Santos, where the tennis action has kicked off with the qualifying on Sunday.