Souza Ends Title Drought At Cortina Challenger

Joao Souza – photo: Florian Heer/Tennis TourTalk

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, August 8, 2016

Joao Souza is the champion of the third edtion of the €42,500 ATP Challenger in Cortina, held in the local Tennis Country Club. On a sunny Sunday and in front of about 250 spectatators, Souza set the tone early, gaining a break in the very first game of the match. Djere, who obviously wasn’t at his best, broke back in the sixth game. Yet, the 28-year-old Brazilian was the dominant player on the court and took the opening set in the 10th game.

Souza was two breaks up in the second but Djere leveled score and the world number 163 needed some time to close the encounter in the tie-break, converting his first match point to seal a 6-4, 7-6 victory in one hour and 49 minutes.

“All of the matches were tough this week. I was improving match by match,” Souza told Tennis TourTalk. “I was two breaks up in the second set but then I became a bit nervous. It was not easy for me and he came back. In the tie-break I just took the ball inside the court, which was not that easy due to the altitude.”

Souza Djere

Champion and runner-up: Joao Souza and Laslo Djere

Souza clinched his first title since lifting the 2014 Challenger trophy in Sao Paulo. It was also his first triumph on European soil.

“It was a long time without a title. I am feeling clean and very happy now, as I have worked hard every day. Nonetheless, life on the tour goes on. I am going to play in Fano next week, so there is only one and a half day to recover. I want to continue this good level of play in order to get back to my best ranking,” the former world number 69 was relieved. His next big goal will be to qualify for the US-Open.

There was only one negative aspect this week for Souza, as he had to watch the Olympic Games in Rio only on television.

“This is very tough for me. Everybody is there, my family and all of my friends. I live only 10 minutes by car from the courts. I know a lot of people, who are involved in the Games including my sister. So it is not easy. But now I got the title and it makes it easier to forget the Olympic Games and I just hope that the Brazilians will do a good job.”

Cerretani And Oswald Clinch Doubles Crown

Earlier the day, second seeds James Cerretani and Philipp Oswald captured their third team title, winning the doubles final against Robert Carballés-Baena and Christian Garin 6-3, 6-2. The encounter lasted 55 minutes. The pair captured the titles in Marburg and Braunschweig earlier this season.

“We are building every day. We played a great final in Braunschweig but we haved worked a lot since then. We gain confidence every day and the communication is great. We challenge each other a lot in many different ways and we have fun. We learn and grow to get better, which is our goal,” Cerretani told Tennis TourTalk.

Cerretani Oswald

Third team title for Cerretani and Oswald

The US-American-Austrian combination took a short break from the tour, as Oswald played Davis Cup for Austria in the Ukraine.

“It was a great experience but unfortunately we lost the tie. We were on a good run on the tour, so it was not the best week to play Davis Cup, as I came back to Kitzbühel and was a bit tired and sick. Nonetheless, we keep fighting. Today was another good day in the office. We can keep the points and add another title to the ‘Cerretani-Oswald-collection’,” Oswald added with a smile. The team is now thinking to continue their journey at the big stage.

“We talk about that a lot but in the end it doesn’t matter where we play. Our process will be the same. We are well prepared for any stage and that’s the attitude we take,” Cerretani explained. The tandem will play at the Tilia Slovenia Open in Portoroz next week.

“The cut for the US-Open will be strong. It’s hard to say now, if we can make it. Main goal is to get into Australia and start the next season, playing the bigger tournaments,” Oswald concluded.