The ATP Challenger Tour 2015 calendar comprised 166 tournaments with prize money of $40,000 to $220,000. It was the 39th edition of Challenger tournaments cycle and the 7th under the name of the “ATP Challenger Tour”. Tennis TourTalk is having an annual review in eleven parts to close the year.
6 July was the start of the second week of the All England Championships in Wimbledon, but two of the three ATP Challenger Tour events took place on clay. First was the 22nd edition of the €106,500 Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig, also called Brunswick in English, a city of 250,000 people located in the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. Filip Krajinovic claimed his first title of the season, winning the final 6-2, 6-4 versus Paul-Henri Mathieu.
“It is a great feeling to win the title here. It’s really great, as with this result I am also going to qualify for the US-Open,” Krajinovc told afterwards. “I had a tough draw playing three Spaniards in a row including top-seed Pablo Carreno-Busta. I prevailed in the end and so I deserved to win the title.”
In the course of the ATP World Tour Finals in London in November, the Sparkassen Open, which are famous for the “Tennistainment” with a lot of side events during the week, received the ATP Challenger Of The Year Award as the world’s best tournament in this category. The official trophy was handed over by the Excecutive Chairman and ATP President Chris Kermode as well as ATP Challenger Director Joanna Langhorne.
Aljaz Bedene lifted the trophy at the ninth edition of the €42,500 Distal & ITR Group Tennis Cup, held in Todi, a town and municipality of the Province in Perugia in central Italy. The world number 75 from Great Britain defeated Nicolas Kicker in the final, winning 7-6, 6-3.
“It was a fantastic week! I am happy to defend my title here,” told Bedene afterwards.“Congratulations also to my opponent, who played a great match. Thanks to the organizers, as well as the spectators. I will now relax a bit and hope to improve my rankings in the nearer future. I would like to reach the top 50 next.” In November 2015, the Ljubljana native, reached a new career high of 45th position to close the season.
The third tournament of the week took place on hard courts of the $50,000 Nielsen Pro Tennis Championships, held in Winnetka, a village in northern Cook County, Illinois. In 2015, Winnetka was ranked the richest town in Illinois and second richest in the United States. Somdev Devvarman captured the title of the 24th edition, winning the final 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 against Daniel Nguyen.
Five times the encounter was delayed due to persistent rain, before the former University of Virginia from India standout finally captured the title at 1:30am local time. At three hours and 31 minutes, it was the longest final in ATP Challenger Tour history.
“The funny thing is, they all kept happening on my serve,” Devvarman told, referring to the rain delays. “Even with those match points I thought I did well. He came up with some great shots and to be honest I’m just happy that I fought so hard. It wasn’t the best tennis today, but I’m happy I fought and got through that one.”
The week of 13 July, two clay court events took place in Europe. The twelfth edition of the €64,000 Poznan Open, held at the Park Tenisowy Olimpia in Poznan, a city on the Warta River in west-central Poland. Top-seed Pablo Carreno-Busta claimed his 11th Challenger trophy by winning his 11th final 6-4, 6-4 against Radu Albot.
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“The important thing is to win the final. The result doesn’t matter. I started pretty well but maybe not that aggressive enough. But with the start of the second set it went better, gaining a 3-0 lead. Yet, I started to relax again but I am happy that it worked out in the end,” the 24-year-old Spaniard summerized the match.
Meanwhile in Italy, another Spaniard was successful at the 11th edition of the €64,000 San Benedetto Tennis Cup, taking place in San Benedetto del Tronto located in the province Ascoli Picheno. Second seed Albert Ramos ousted Alessandro Giannessi in the final winning 6-2, 6-4.
Ramos lifted his first trophy of the season, his seventh Challenger title overall. “Italy is like a second home to me. I won four Challengers here. Special thanks to the spectators, who were really fair, although I played against a local player,” the 27-year-old stated.
Only two clay court events were organized the following week starting on 20 July. Sixth seed Nikolaz Basilashvili clinched the title of the 23rd edtitio of the Sport 1 Open in Scheveningen, a modern seaside resort with a long sandy beach, an esplanade, a pier and a lighthouse. It is one of eight of The Hague in the Netherlands. The 23-year-old from Georgia defeated seventh seed Andrey Kuznetsov, winning the final 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.
“With this title, I reach the top 100 for the first time. This means so much to me,” Basilashvili told after hoisting his second cup of the season.
Other players returned to Finland for the 34th edition of the €42,500 Aamulehti Tampere Open, a city located in Pirkanmaa, the country’s south. Unseeded Tristan Lamasine clinched his maiden Challenger title, winning the final 6-3, 6-2 against the tournament’s number four André Ghem. Both players teamed up to capture the doubles title as well.
The other three tournament’s of the week took place on hard courts. The event with the highest amount of prize money was the $100,000 Challenger Banque Nationale de Granby, held in southwestern Quebec in Canada. Unseeded Vincent Millot took his second Challenger title since New Caledonia in 2011, winning the final against local Philipp Bester 6-4, 6-4.
In the United States players met for the 22nd edition of the $50,000 Levene Gouldin & Thompson Tennis Challenger, held in Binghamton, city with about 50,000 residents in Broome Country, New York. Top ranked Kyle Edmund clinched his second trophy of the season, beating second seed Bjorn Fratangelo 6-2, 6-3.
“It feels real good,” said Edmund. “It was probably the best match I’ve played (here), which is good considering it was the finals so I’m pleased with that. “Everything worked really well today. I served great and my ground strokes on the backhand were really heavy and I felt like I kept Bjorn on his back foot.”
The players in Italy also switched to hard courts, competing at the €42,500 Guzzini Challenger, held in Recanati for the 22nd time. The town was founded around 1,150 AD from thee pre-existing castles and is located in the Marche Region. Mirza Basic lifted his maiden Challenger trophy, winning the final 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 against top-seed Ricardas Berankis.
The president of the club in Recanati, Adulfo Guzzini, was very pleased with the week. “We could the tournament not have expected better. We received compliments from everyone. This is a unique Challenger and a great showcase for our city. I would like to thank all the staff, who worked throughout the year, realizing this event.”
Three tournaments closed the month. The $75,000 President’s Cup took place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Local player and tournament’s top seed Mikhail Kukushkin won the tenth edition. He beat third ranked Evgeny Donskoy 6-2, 6-2 to lift his 12th Challenger trophy.
The 20th edition of the $50,000 Kentucky Bank Tennis Championships was held in Lexington, with about 310,000 inhabitants second-largest city in Kentucky. John Millman claimed the title in the “Horse Capital of the World”, winning the final 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 against Japanese lucky loser Yasutaka Uchiyama.
“I knew he was playing extremely well and beating great players all tournament long. His ball striking and his service has been great all week long, that is a deadly combination. I was a little worried about how that was going to play into his hand for this championship match,” said Millman about his opponent. “I never give up, I try to chase down every ball that I can possibility get. I was very lucky that it came off as well as it did, I premeditated that shot as it came off the racquet. I hit it just about perfect and probably caught Uchiyama by surprise. Just relief in the end.”
In Italy, the Challenger Tour returned to the clay with the €42,500 Challenger Pulcra Lachiter Biella, a town and comune in the country’s northern region of Piedmont. Andrej Martin won his second title of the season beating Nicolas Kicker 6-4, 6-2 in the final. The 25-year-old Slovakian captured the title in Padova earlier this month.