The ATP Challenger Tour 2015 calendar comprised 166 tournaments with prize money of $40,000 to $220,000. It was the 39th edition of Challenger tournaments cycle and the 7th under the name of the “ATP Challenger Tour”. Tennis TourTalk is having an annual review in eleven parts to close the year.
While in March the ATP World Tour stayed in the United States with two Masters 1000 events, the ATP Challenger Tour spread out all over the world. With the Open BNP Paribas Banque de Bretagne, only one tournament took place the week from 2 March. After lifting the trophy in Bergamo last month, Benoit Paire was succesful again, winning the €42,500 event in Quimper. The 25-year-old Frenchman defeated his fellow countryman Grégoire Barrère in the final 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
“It’s a big emotion. I am really proud of myself, my game as well as of my behaviour. It was not a great match but I thought: Hang on. And at the end of the third set I was a bit stronger than my opponent,” told Paire afterwards.
Next week the Tour was back in Asia for the $50,000 China International Guangzhou, the capital and with more than 10 million inhabitants largest city of Guangdong province in South China. Two unseeded players made it into the final, when Kimmer Coppejans captured his second ATP Challenger crown, as he overcame Roberto Marcora 7-6, 5-7, 6-1.
Clay court specialists came together in Chile for the eighth edition of the $40,000 ATP Cachantún Cup. The tournament took place in Santigao, the capital and largest city of the country. After winning in 2013, Facundo Bagnis claimed his second title in Santiago, as he emerged victorious from the Argentine-Brazilian-affair with Guilherme Clezar. Bagnis won the final 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.
Four tournaments took place the week of 16 March. The event with the highest prize money was the fourth edition of the $125,000 Irving Tennis Classics. The city is located in Dallas county in the United State of Texas and was played on hard courts. Aljaz Bedene claimed his ninth ATP Challenger title, when he was still playing for Slovenia, beating Tim Smyczek in a final between two unseeds 7-6, 3-6, 6-3.
“I came from Indian Wells, unfortunately I lost too quickly, I did not feel great before coming to this tournament. After a great start of the year my confidence dropped. I guess I got it back this week. I played some great tennis. Winning a tournament, especially this high quality tournament like this, helps with my confidence,” Bedene, who made his first appearance in Irving, told afterwards.
The tour continued in China with the second edition of the $75,000 Gemdale ATP Challenger China International Shenzhen, the major city in Guangdong province and one of the fastest growin cities in the world. It has currently a population of about 10 million inhabitants. Top ranked Blaz Kavcic took the title, winning the final 7-5, 6-4 against Andre Ghem. “Yeah! Not so bad for just a few weeks after the surgery. Lucky 13 ATP Challenger title!” Kavcic wrote on twitter.
Next stop was Canada with the ninth edition of the Banque Natinonale de Drummondville, a city in Quebec located east of Montreal. Australian John-Patrick Smith overcame local and seventh seed Frank Dancevic in the final, winning 6-7, 7-6, 7-5. It was the second ATP Challenger trophy for the 26-year-old from Townsville.
“It’s a great feeling, mainly because I worked so hard this week and it finally paid off,” Smith said. “With that being said, it was the highest-quality match I played this week and to finish it like that with a winner – pure relief.”
The fourth tournament of the week took place on the hard courts of Kazan for the $40,000 Kremlin Cup. Kazan is the capital and with a population of about 1.1 million largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan in Russia. Two locals met in the final when unseeded Aslan Karatsev downed seventh favourite Konstantin Kravchuk, winning 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. It was the first Challenger title for the 22-year-old.
In the week of 30 March three tournaments took place. The ATP Challenger Tour returned to Ra’anana for the first time since 2010 when the fourth edition of the $125,000 Electra Israel Open was held. Nikoloz Basilashvili took his first of two titles he won in 2015, when he upset second seed Lukas Lacko, one of two top 100-players in the draw with 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The final was with about 800 spectators sold out and the winner praised the fans. “Best atmosphere on the Challenger Tour. The crowd was unbelievable,” Basilashvili said.
The hard court swing continued with the $100,000 Open de Guadeloupe taking place in Le Gosier, the third most populated commune in the French overseas region in the Lesser Antilles. Ruben Bemelmans, who had already captured one ITF Future title in Nussloch earlier in 2015, captured his fourth Challenger crown. The 27-year-old Belgian ousted Edouard Roger-Vasselin, winning 7-6, 6-3 to lift his first Challenger title outside Germany.
The month ended with one of the most traditonal stops on the ATP Challenger Tour in San Luis Potosí, located in north central Mexico. It was the 21st edition of the $50,000 San Luis Open when in the final between two unseeded players Guido Pella defeated James McGee 6-3, 6-3. It was the first of four Challenger titles for the 24-year-old Argentine in 2015. “This is a very nice moment. The support here was great,” told Pella, who arrived in Mexico having only won one match before in 2015.