TRNAVA, August 14, 2016
Steve Darcis is the champion of the €42,500 Strabag Challenger Open in Trnava, the biggest men’s clay court tournament in Slovakia. The 32-year-old from Belgium defeated Jordi Samper-Montana, who appeared in his first title match on the ATP Challenger Tour, 6-3, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.
Darcis saved five of the eight break points he faced, converting five of his own to prevail in one hour and 36 minutes. He didn’t lose a set en-route to his seventh Challenger career title, his second of the season. Darcis lifted the trophy in Lyon earlier this year.
“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.”
Darcis takes away €6,150 in prize money as well as 90 ATP ranking points. He only struggles with a wrist injury.
“I have to go home to visit a specialist. I still feel pain in my wrist. I should play US Open qualifying and leave for New York on Wednesday, but I will wait for the statements from the doctors,” the Belgian told.
Gille And Vliegen Take Maiden Challenger Doubles Title
On Saturday, Belgian pair Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen triumphed in the doubles final with 6-2, 7-5 victory over Tomasz Bednarek and Roman Jebavy in one hour and nine minutes. It was the first ATP Challenger title for Gille and Vliegen.
“We did not expect it to be that easy in the first set, because there are lot of good players on this tournament. We served and returned well in the first set. Even though we were better than our opponent, we kept our concentration high, because you can easily lose the second set and tie break can be tricky. We are happy because we were first time in the challenger final and we took the title,” said Joran Vliegen and added:
“We felt great here. Organisation here is perfect, great hotel and people, who are ready to help 24 hours a day. We are happy we could play here.”
The Belgians are heading for Germany next, playing the Cittadino Challenger in Meersbuch, then they will play ITF Futures tournaments at home. The goal is to play on Challenger level on a regular basis in the nearer future. But first, they are going to celebrate their maden title.
“We have an early flight tomorrow, but we will have a good dinner,” said Gille.