The Year 2016 On The ATP Challenger Tour Part I – January

Adrian Mannarino and Alejandro Falla (photo: Michel Paul)

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 season started with four events in the first week giving players the opportunitiy to prepare for the Australian Open. Adrian Mannarino was the first champion on the ATP Challenger Tour 2016. The top-seeded Frenchman defeated Nouméa’s second best ranked player and 2014 finalist Alejandro Falla at the 13th edition of the $75,000 BNP Paribas de Nouvelle-Calédonie, winning the final 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

Third Challenger title for Taylor Fritz (photo: Tennis SA)

Third Challenger title for Taylor Fritz (photo: Tennis SA)

US-teenager Taylor Fritz claimed his third Challenger title lifting the trophy of the second edition of the $75,000 City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger in Happy Valley. He upset top-ranked Dudi Sela in the final 7-6, 6-2.

“I was playing good tennis and it feels great to win,” Fritz told afterwards. “I enjoyed the stay here, which probably had an effect on how I played.”

Mikhail Youzhny won the first of two consecutive titles in Bangkok. In the final of the eighth edition of the $50,000 KPN Bangkok Open he defeated Go Soeda of Japan 6-3, 6-4.

Clay court players gathered in Argentina for the inaugural edition of the $50,000 Torneo Mendoza. Gerald Melzer from Austria fought past Axel Michon of France, rallying 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.

In the week of January 11, top seed Paolo Lorenzi emerged victorious from the $75,000 Canberra ATP Challenger event after a straight sets win over fifth seed Ivan DodigIt was the first edition of the tournament.

While Mikhail Youzhny continued his comeback trail by winning the second title in Bangkok, Facundo Bagnis lifted the trophy of the $50,000 Racket Club Open in Buenos Aires. The Argentine triumphed on home soil with a 6-3, 6-2 final win over Arthur de Greef from Belgium.

Four ATP Challenger events took place during the two weeks of the Australian Open. Mikhail Youzhny continued his success in Asia, winning his third title in a row at the first edition of the $75,000 Manila Challenger. The 33-year-old Russian defeated Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-4 in the final. “I just focused on my game and enjoyed every minute,” Youzhny told during the post match interview. “This is a tough tournament and I really found myself giving my best.”

Facundo Bagnis celebrated another clay court triumph in Rio de Janeiro. He ousted local favourite Guilherme Clezar 6–4, 4–6, 6–2 in the final of  the $50,000 Vivo Tennis Open“I felt physically well until the last moment. Guilherme had an amazing week but I am glad that I won this title, getting me back into the top 100. I hope I can stay there longer among the best players and do better and better,” said Bagnis.

Men's final ceremony: winner Di Wu and runner-up Kyle Edmund (photo: Mike Mock/USTA Hawaii)

Men’s final ceremony: winner Di Wu and runner-up Kyle Edmund (photo: Mike Mock/USTA Hawaii)

Gerald Melzer got the better of Paolo Lorenzi in the title match of the eighth $50,000 Claro Open in Bucaramanga and Di Wu had become the first Chinese to capture an ATP Challenger title, winning the seventh edition of the $50,000 Tennis Championships of Maui. Di Wu defeated Kyle Edmund from Great Britain in three sets.

“I came along and I felt relaxed,” Wu told. “It was the last tournament of the Chinese New Year, so I had to fight. I will remember this for the rest of my life.”