The Year 2016 On The ATP Challenger Tour Part XI – November

Norbert Gombos and Marius Copil in Bratislava

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.

November was the final month on the ATP Challenger Tour, starting with the Slovak Open in Bratislava. Norbert Gombos is the champion of the 17th Peugeot Slovak Open, winning the final of the €85,000 event 7-6, 6-4, 6-3 against Marius Copil from Romania. The 26-year-old Bratislava resident captured his first title on home soil.

“It was always my dream to win this tournamnet here in front of home crowd. It is amazing feeling. I am proud to win the tournament. The first two sets were pretty close but I gained more confidence throughout the match,” Gombos was happy afterwards.

Julien Benneteau triumphed on home soil, winning the €85,000 Internationaux de Tennis de Vendée, held indoors in Mouilleron-Le-Captif. The Frenchman defeated Russia’s NextGen star Andrey Rublev 7–5, 2–6, 6–3.

Facundo Bagnis, who captured with six trophies the most Challenger titles in 2016, was successful on the clay courts in South America. The Argentine battled past fellow countryman Horacio Zeballos 3–6, 6–3, 7–6 in the final of the $75,000 Open Bogotá.

Michael Mmoh

Michael Mmoh is the champion of the Knoxville Challenger (photo: Patti Googe)

Michael Mmoh became the champion of the eighth edition of the $50,000 Knoxville Challenger, winning the final 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 over Peter Polansky from Canada.

“It’s a big week and huge step in my professional career, and hopefully many more to come,” said Mmoh. After lifting four trophies on the ITF Pro Circuit, Mmoh eventually clinched his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour,

In Japan, Hyeon Chung won the $50,000 Kobe Challenger with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over James Duchworth from Australia.

ATP Challenger Val Gardena

Final ceremony in Ortisei (photo: Marco Wanker)

Stefano Napolitano became the champion of the €64,000 Sparkassen ATP Challenger Val Gardena, held at the Tennis Club Ortisei. The 21-year-old from Biella won the all-Italian-final against third seed Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-1. Napolitano also celebrated his first triumph at Challenger level.

“I am happy to claim the title. Winning in Italy against a fellow countryman makes it even more special. Thanks to my family and friends,” Napolitano said.

The following week, Diego Schwartzman won the $50,000 Uruguay Open held at the Carrasco Lawnt Tennis Club in Montevideo. The World No. 52 from Argentina defeated Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil in the final 6-4, 6-1.

Henri Laaksonen successfully defended his title at the 21st edition of the $50,000 JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana, one of the longest-running men’s events on the USTA Pro Circuit. The second seed from Switzerland defeated Rubens Bemelmans of Belgium in the final 7-5, 6-3.

Luca Vanni captured the title of the €42,500 Trofeo Città di Brescia. The Italian fought past Laurynas Grigelis 6–7, 6–4, 7–6

In Asia, James Duckworth hoisted the trophy of the $50,000 Dunlop World Challenge in Toyota. The Australian overcame local favourite Tatsuma Ito 7–5, 4–6, 6–1.

Stefan Kozlov

Stefan Kozlov with his maiden Challenger trophy (photo: twitter/@stefankozlov)

In the final week of the 2016 ATP Challenger season, US-American NextGen star Stefan Kozlov captured his very first Challenger title, winning the $75,000 2016 Columbus II Challenger, held at the Varsity Indoor Tennis Center of the Ohio State University. The 18-year-old defeated Jose Statham of New Zealand, Germany’s Dominik Koepfer, US-American Kevin King and Sam Barry from Ireland en-route to the final. Kozlov eventually fought past fellow US-American and the tournaments number six Tennys Sandgren, winning 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.

Luca Vanni became the champion of the €42,500 Andria E Castel Del Monte Challenger, the last ATP Challenger event of the season held on European soil at the Palasport in Andria. The 31-year-old from Foiano della Chiana emerged victorious from the all-Italian-affair with first time finalist Matteo Berrettini, winning 5-7, 6-0, 6-3.

Yoshihito Nishioka prevailed in Asia, winning the $50,000 Astana Challenger Capital Cup. The Japanese defeated Denis Istomin from Uzbekistan 6–4, 6–7, 7–6