SAO PAULO, November 30, 2015
Inigo Cervantes is the undefeated champion of the ATP Challenger Tour Finals in Sao Paulo, winning Sunday’s all-Spanish-final 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 against Daniel Munoz de la Nava.
The world number 98 from Irún had the better start, broke in the first game to gain an early lead. Another break for Cervantes, who fired 10 aces throughout the match, and he wrapped up the opening set in an efficient 30 minutes.
The momentum shifted in the second set, when Munoz de la Nava started to attack Cervantes’ service and broke in the fourth game taking the match the distance.
Munoz de la Nava also had the better start into the third set, broke in the first game and was firmly in control of the encounter. Cervantes broke back with a beautiful cross court dropper in the fourth game but lost his service again in the following. Munoz de la Nava served for his fifth Challenger title in the ninth game but his compatriot had saved two match points in an epic 12-minute game before he took the final into the tie-break. Cervantes closed the match after two hours and 10 minutes to become the first undefeated champion in the tournament’s history.
“Tennis is tough. In the first set it looked like the match would be easy for me, 6-2. I was really calm and Daniel making more mistakes than usual. However, a break in the second turned the match around and I saved match points in the third. But I could recover and win this match, that meant so much to me. I’m glad that I won such an important and special final,” said Cervantes, who earns US-$ 91,200 in prize money as well as 125 ATP ranking points projecting him to a new career high number 72.
He has become the only third player to win 50 ATP Challenger matches in a season, joining Carlos Berlocq (57 in 2010) and Boris Pashanski (51 in 2005).
“These numbers show how excellent my year was. Two years ago I was in a wheelchair without being able to play tennis or walk because of two hip surgeries. Now I have my best ranking. Next year I’ll have even bigger goals and I hope to get better and better,” Cervantes told.
Munoz-de la Nava falls to 3-4 in finals in 2015. He ends the season with a 46-18 match record. “Congratulations to Inigo for such a great week. He’s a friend on the tour and really had an amazing year. Today’s match could have gone to any of us, but he left with the win and he deserved it.”