TALLAHASSEE, April 30, 2017
After an electric Saturday afternoon, both the singles and doubles champions have been crowned at the $75,000 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, held at Forestmeadows Athletic Center.
In the singles final, a rested Blaz Rola of Slovenia faced Ramkumar Ramanathan from India and quickly took the opening set 6-2. In the second set, both players were able to hold serve and force a tie break, with Ramanathan taking the set 7-6(6). In the final and decisive set, Rola waited until 5-5 to break Ramanathan and then serve out the match.
At two hours and thirty-six minutes, the singles final is the longest ATP Challenger final of 2017. With the win, Rola wins his first Challenger title since 2015 in Santos, Brazil and is expected to rise within the top 200 again. Rola and Ramanathan had never faced each other before, but only Rola was able to take home the $10,800 purse and 80 ATP ranking points.
“I played well. I got a bit unluckey in the tie-break of the second set, where I had my chances with a couple of break points but I didn’t convert. After the set, I just tried to keep it up and got the break at 5-5 in the third set, which was the most important thing of the match and eventually I served it out,” Rola told afterwards.
The former World No. 78 fell outside the Top 300 but is climbing back up the rankings and advanced to three Challenger quarterfinals within the last four tournaments.
“I was playing so well and so consistently for so many matches and so a long time. I think that I actually forgot to practice well and players started to reading my game better. Eventually I didn’t play well as I wanted to. During the off-season I worked a lot on the serve. I changed my whole technique and motion. It paid off today.”
Lipsky/Paes Take Doubles Crown
In the doubles final. No. 1 seeds Scott Lipsky and Leander Paes defeated the Argentine No. 3 seeds of Maximo Gonzalez and Leonard Mayer. In the first set, Gonzalez and Mayer waited until late in the set to break and take the set 6-4.
In the second set, Paes and Lipsky started to find their groove and on their fourth set point, they were able to close out the set 7-6(5), to force a third set tiebreaker. In the tie break, they were able to continue with their momentum and take home the title with a 4-6, 7-6(5), 10-7, win.
Next up, the USTA Pro Circuit heads to Savannah, GA for the St. Joseph’s/Candler (SJ/C) Savannah Challenger. The SJ/C Savannah Challenger is a $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit and ATP Challenger Tour event that is held at The Landings Club, April 29-May 7. Professional athletes from around the world and will be competing for $75,000 in prize money, as well as ATP World Tour Ranking points with the winner receiving 80 points. Both Rola and Ramanathan are expected to compete at the tournament.