The 2016 ATP Challenger Tour calendar contained 166 tournaments, with prize money ranging from $40,000 up to $125,000. It was the 40th edition of Challenger tournaments cycle, and eighth under the name of “ATP Challenger Tour”. Tennis TourTalk is having a review of the season in eleven parts to close the year.
The month of August started with four tournaments held in the very first week. Jason Jung from Taiwan captured the title of the inaugural $125,000 Chengdu Challenger. The US-American born defeated Spanish veteran Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo in the final 6-4, 6-2.
Fast rising US-American Frances Tiafoe made quick work of Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador, winning 6-1, 6-1 in the final of the $100,000 Challenger Banque Nationale de Granby. Playing in his fifth career Challenger final and second in a row, Tiafoe collects his maiden Challenger crown.
“I wasn’t expecting such a quick match, but I am happy with what I was able to produce today,” said Tiafoe. “I had played in a few Challenger finals and I am relieved that I finally get to taste my first victory. This is an important step for me. My next goal is to crack the Top 100.”
Joao Souza became the champion of the third edtion of the €42,500 ATP Challenger in Cortina, held at the local Tennis Country Club. The 28-year-old Brazilian defeated Laslo Djere from Serbia 6-4, 7-6. 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.
Arthur de Greef clinched the title of the €42,500 Svijany Open in Liberec. He emerged victorious from the all-Belgian-final with Steve Darcis, winning 7-6, 6-3.
Six tournaments were took place the week of August 8. Janko Tipsarevic won the $125,000 ZS-Sports China International Challenger, held on clay courts in Qingdao. The Serbian rallied past Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo 1-6, 7-5,
Top seed Daniel Evans clinched the 29th annual $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger presented by Santa Cruz County Bank in Aptos. In their first competitive meeting, Evans defeated 20-year-old Cameron Norrie, who plays for Texas Christian University, 6-3, 6-4.
“I did win a lot of the longer points and he missed a few volley opportunities, I think that was the difference today,” Evans said.
Peter Polansky triumphed on home soil. lifting the trophy of the $75,000 Challenger Banque Nationale de Gatineau. Polansky benefited from the retirement of Frenchman Vincent Millot in the final. The win is Polansky’s first ATP Challenger title since 2013 and he is the first Canadian to claim a Challenger trophy since Frank Dancevic was crowned champion in Kosice, Slovakia in 2014.
“In my opinion, I won this match because of the effort I put in to come from behind and get back on even terms,” said Polansky after the match. “I fought really well and we played two high quality sets. I am sad for Millot, but I understand his decision and I respect it.”
Steve Darcis clinched the title of the 10th edition of the €42,500 STRABAG Challenger Open, winning the final 6-3, 6-4 against Jordi Samper-Montana.
“It was not the easiest match I have played this week. It was very hot, conditions were not easy. We played at lower temperatures this week. We were both bit tired in the final. I am happy to have won the match in two sets. First two matches against him were easier. I knew he plays much better than in previous weeks,” praised Darcis his opponent. “He’s got great forehand, he delivers quick balls which bounce pretty high. If he is successful from his forehand, you have lot of work. I had to put him under pressure to his backhand.”
Joao Souza went back to back in Italy, claiming the title of the inaugural €42,500 Adriatic Challenger in Fano. The Brazilian fought past Nicolas Kicker of Argentina 6–4, 6–7, 6–2 in the final.
Florian Mayer became the champion of the fourth edition of the €42,500 Tilia Slovenia Open in Portoroz. The 32-year-old German, seeded first at the Adriatic coastline, defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final 6-1, 6-2. “Winning the title and taking away important ranking points, I am very satisfied with the week,” Mayer stated.
The following week, second seed Taro Daniel picked up his first ATP Challenger Tour title of the year, winning the €42,500 Acqua Dolomia Tennis Cup in Cordenons, held at the Eurosporting venue. The 23-year-old Japanese defeated fourth seed Daniel Gimeno-Traver of Spain, 6-3, 6-4 in the final, which started with a two hour delay due to bad weather.
Florian Mayer collected another title, winning the fourth edition of the €42,500 Cittadino Challenger in Meerbusch. The 32-year-old German defeated Maximilian Marterer 7-6, 6-2 in the 10th all-countryman-Challenger final of the season.
“It’s the first time in my long career, that I won two consecutive titles. This is really something special and it shows that the hard work after Hamburg has paid off,” Mayer was happy with his 13th triumph on the Challenger Tour.
Leonardo Mayer captured the title of the 40th edition of the €42,500 Internazionali di Tennis Manerbio, which was the lone ATP Challenger event the week of August 22. The fifth seed from Argentina defeated Filip Krajinovic in the final 7-6, 7-5. “This is my first, next goal, to return to play in the main draw of all the Grand Slam tournaments. Although the main thing is to stay healthy in order to go up more and more the world rankings,” Mayer said.
In the final week of the month, the Challenger Tour was back in Asia with Blaz Kavic taking the title of the $50,000 Wind Energy Holding Bangkok Open. The Slovenian benefited from the retirement of Japanese Go Soeda in the final.
Agustin Velotti from Argentina eased past local favourite André Ghem 6-0, 6-4 to clinch the $50,000 Curitiba Challenger.
The 11th edition of the €42,500 ATP Challenger Torneo Città di Como, held at the local Tennis Club situated next to the Villa Olmo and the famous lake, concluded with Kenny de Schepper as the tournament’s champion. The Frenchman rallied back from a set down to beat Marco Cecchinato 2-6, 7-6, 7-5.
“It was a good fight. Marco played great throughout the week. I also had to play a couple of close matches but physically I feel ok,” de Schepper told Tennis TourTalk after the battle.