SAO PAULO, November 26, 2015
The ATP Challenger Tour Finals kicked off on Wednesday at the Sports Club Pinheiros in Sao Paulo. In Group A, Inigo Cervantes got the better of his fellow Spaniard, rallying past Daniel Munoz de la Nava 4-6, 7-6, 7-5. The world number 98 from Irún hit 10 aces and won 82% of his first service points to finish the match after two hours and 29 minutes.
“In a tournament like this, in São Paulo, all eight players have the same level and all matches will be tough,” said Cervantes. “Dani is a Spanish player and it was the second time we faced each other this year. I won the other match but in three sets as well. It is always really tough. I’m glad that I could win the match even if I didn’t play my best tennis.”
The tournament’s best ranked player Paolo Lorenzi rallied back from a set and a break down to open his Challenger Tour Finals campaign succesfully. The world number 68 from Italy beat Farrukh Dustov, who returned well and played aggressively from the baseline, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Lorenzi was very solid on his second serve, winning 63% of the points to convert his first match point after two hours and 22 minutes.
“It was an extremely tough match,” Lorenzi said. “I didn’t have a good start. He won the first set and had a break in the second. I played without pressure after that. I’m happy that I won, not with the way I played but the important thing is getting the win. It’s not easy to play after two weeks out of competition.”
Brazilian wild card Guilherme Clezar took the lead in Group B, winning 7-5, 6-4 against Marco Cecchinato. The 22-year-old from Porto Alegre, who reached the final here last year, saved all of the two break points he faced and capitalized on two of his own to close the encounter after one hour and 20 minutes.
“I’ve been practising really well over the last two days, so I was really confident with my game,” Clezar said. “I believe it was a consequence of that. I had a good run last year, so I feel like it gives me confidence to repeat it this week. I hope I can bring that to the next round.”
Clezar will square off with Guido Pella in Thursday’s night session. The world number 76 from Argentina also emerged victorious from his first match, rallying back from a set down to overcome Radu Albot 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes. Pella captured his fourth ATP Challenger title of the season in Montevideo on Sunday and just arrived on time in Brazil due to unexpecting delay in flying to Sao Paulo.
“I arrived here on Tuesday at 6:30PM because I missed my flight,” Pella said. “I knew it would be hard because I didn’t have the chance to practise much on this court and I needed to play with a lot of heart. He had a good start and I wasn’t comfortable, but I got better afterwards. Playing the Challenger Finals is always amazing, luckily it’s my second time around and I managed to win the first match,” the 25-year-old Argentine added.