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 April started with the $100,000 Open de Guadeloupe, held in Le Gosier. Malek Jaziri won the final of the tournament’s sixth edition 6-2, 6-4 over US-American teenager Stefan Kozlov.
The same week, Jozef Kovalik captured the title of the €42,500 Capri Watch Cup, winning the final in Napoli against Arthur de Greef 6-3, 6-2 in the pair’s first tour meeting.
“That’s been the best win in my life,” the Slovakian was more than happy afterwards. “It’s also the best present for my birthday tomorrow. I managed to recover from the efforts in the semi-finals. It was simply a fantastic week for me. The tournament’s organization was great and I will come back for sure.”
Mischa Zverev lifted the trophy of the $100,000 Sarasota Open in the week of April 11. The 28-year old German beat 25-year old Gerald Melzer of Vienna, 6-4, 7-6.
“It’s a great little tournament…I stayed with good friends of my family, it’s been a great week. Not too far from home where I train in Wesley Chapel at Saddlebrook. I really enjoyed the great facility, great people, very loving crowd and it was great,” said Zverev.
NextGen Elias Ymer became the champion of the €42,500 Open Citta’ Della Disfida Barletta. One week after turning 20, the eighth seed from Sweden beat third favourite Adam Pavlasek in the clay court final 7-5, 6-4.
“Italy seems to be a great place for me,” Ymer told afterwards. “It was a great final against a strong opponent in good shape. I am proud of this victory.”
Meanwhile in South Korea, top seed Ricardas Berankis clinched the title of the inaugural $50,000 Gwangju Open. The Lithuanian defeated Grega Zemlja of Slovenia 6-3, 6-2 in the final.
Four tournaments took place in the third week of the month. Ricardas Berankis extended his winning streak in Asia by taking the title of the $50,000 TAC Cup Nanjing Challenger. In another final against Grega Zemlja, Berankis earned another victory by almost the same result, winning 6-3, 6-4.
In South America, Gonzalo Lama eased past US-American teenager Ernesto Escobedo to capture the $50,000 Sao Paulo Challenger. The title match only lasted 49 minutes and the man from Chile was obviuosly pleased afterwards.
“I am very happy. Winning a Challenger is very difficult. This is my second. I am very happy. I almost lost the match against Juan Ignacio Londero and ended up winning the tournament, so I had a bit of luck too,” he told.
Gastao Elias rallied past Enrique López-Pérez 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 to capture the trophy of the €42,500 Torino Challenger held at Monviso Tennis Club.
“I am very pleased to win this title here,” Elias said. “It was an amazing week but it was also very tough. I was mentally very strong, which was the key to success. Getting into the top 100 is great and I hope I am able to continue like this.”
In an all-US-American final, No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo defeated No. 8 seed Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-3, to claim the $50,000 St. Joseph’s/Candler Savannah Challenger singles title.
“I’m just happy to be playing good tennis, I’m happy to you know be confident again, and you know I’m looking forward to the months ahead”, Fratangelo told.
Four tournaments took place in the final week of the month. Jordan Thompson was the winner of the $100,000 Kunming Open, played on outdoor clay in Anning. The Australian defeated Mathias Bourgue of France 6-3, 6-2.
Daniel Evans was crowned champion of the $75,000 Santaizi ATP Challenger held indoors on carpet in Taipei City. The Briton fought past Konstantin Kravchuk from Russia, winning 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
In Europe, Constant Lestienne celebrated his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning the final of the €42,500 Prosperita Open in Ostrava. The Frenchman defeated Zdenek Kolar from the Czech Republic in three sets.
France’s Quentin Halys outlasted USA’s teenager Frances Tiafoe to win the $50,000 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger title, the first of his career, at Forestmeadows Tennis Complex.