Nikles Continues Fine Run Of Form At Lima Challenger

Johan Nikles (photo: Dove Men & Care Legion Sudamericana Lima)

LIMA/STARNBERG, October 2, 2021

After Quito and Ambato, the clay-court swing on the ATP Challenger Tour in South America continues this week with the $52,080 Dove Men & Care Legion Sudamericana Lima being held at the Centro Promotor de Tenis Miraflores in Lima, Peru.

World No. 140 Hugo Dellien from Bolivia remains the highest-ranked players left in the singles draw. The No. 5 seed advanced to the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Argentine Nicolas Kicker on Friday. Dellien capitalized on six of his nine break-point chances to prevail after one hour and 39 minutes.

The Trinidad native will next take on in-form qualifier Johan Nikles. The 24-year-old Swiss knocked out No. 6 seed Renzo Olivo from Argentina 6-3, 6-1 in 73 minutes, winning 63 per cent of the total point played.

The trip to South American is paying off for Nikles. After reaching his first Challenger quarterfinal at the Ambato La Gran Ciudad Challenger in Ecuador last week, he has now reached the stage of the final four for the first time. Nikles started his journey ranked World No. 410 and has already recorded a new career-high of World No. 380, projected to rise even higher.

Melzer reaches first Challenger semi-final in more than three years

In the bottom half of the draw, Gerald Melzer is getting back to his best. The current World No. 664, who had to cope with a persistent ankle injury in the past two years and entered the tournament with a protected ranking, will appear in his first semi-final since the Czech Open in Prostejov in June 2018.

Melzer defeated No. 7 seed Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina, Spaniard Oriol Roca Batalla and benefited from the retirement of Eduard Esteve Lobato of Spain en route to the final four in Lima.

The 31-year-old from Vienna will next face Camilo Ugo Carabelli. The No. 8 seed won the all-Argentine affair against No. 2 seed Juan Manuel Cerundolo when the latter was forced to retire due to cramping. Carabelli was leading 3-6, 6-4, 2-0.

In Saturday’s doubles final Julian Lenz from Germany and Gerald Melzer will face No. 2 seeds Nicolas Barrientos of Colombia and Brazilian Fernando Romboli. Action will start with the singles at 12 noon local time.