PERUGIA, July 16, 2018
US-American lucky loser Ulises Blanch has become the first man to win an ATP Challenger title on his debut since Casper Ruud in Seville 2016.
The 20-year-old from Florida lifted the trophy of the Internazionali Di Tennis Citta’ Di Perugia. Blanch beat local favourite Gianluigi Quinzi 7-5, 6-2 in the singles final of the €43,000 clay-court event on Sunday evening.
From lucky loser to champion!
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) 15. Juli 2018
Blanch fired 11 aces, winning 86 per cent of his first service points to prevail after one hour and 11 minutes. He is the first lucky loser winner in 18 months.
Blanch lost in the final round of the qualifying to Pol Toledo Bague but then defeated three Spaniards in row, edging past Nicolas Almagro, No. 8 seed Carlos Taberner and Bernabé Zapata Miralles. He took out seventh seeded Hungarian Attila Balazs in the semis to reach the title match without dropping a set.
The right-hander is the first player ranked outside the top 500 to clinch an ATP Challenger trophy since Pablo Andújar triumphed in Alicante earlier this season. Blanch takes away €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP ranking points to reach a new career high World No. 308 on Monday.
The young gun also joins US-Americans Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka as the third #NextGenATP winner this year.