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.
August began with three tournaments in Europe, taking place in the month’s first week. Tobias Kamke claimed the title at the €42,500 Svijany Open, held on the clay in Liberec, the fifth largest city of the Czech Republic. The -year-old German won the final between two unseeded players 7-6, 6-4 against defending champion Andrej Martin. It should remain Kamke’s sole title of the season.
Top seed Paolo Lorenzi kicked off his stay at the €42,500 Internazionali di Tennis Cortina d’Ampezzo with a trip to Tofana di Mezzo, a famous mountain group in the Dolomites, located west of Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy. Along with fellow Italians Filippo Volandri and Matteo Viola, Lorenzi enjoyed a hit at an altitude of 3,244 metres.
It seemed to help for his further performance during the week. Lorenzi won his 14th ATP Challenger career title through 6-3, 7-5 victory over Maximo Gonzalez in the final.
“It was simply a great week for me. I was playing very well for the whole tournament. My serve worked perfectly and I’ve been able to push and hit the ball very hard, which is not so ordinary for me. I love this tournament and I like the city. I hope to be back for the winter and for the skiing season and of course next year. Today I knew it was going to be a pretty difficult match against Maximo. He’s an excellent player and we’ve always played long and tough matches. Today I was lucky enough to win, but I have to congratulate him on a great week here in Cortina. Now I feel very well, even though this season’s been full of injuries. But I know I can play the way I like. My goal? I’d like to improve on my best, “ Lorenzi told finished the season ranked on 68th position. His career high is number 49.
Hard court specialists met in Spain for the 30th edition of the €42,500 Open Castilla y León, played in El Espinar, a municipality with about 10,000 residents in the province of Segovia. Evgeny Donskoy claimed the title, winning the final 7-6, 6-3 against Marco Chiudinelli. The Russian lifted the trophy here in 2012 and has become the only third player in the tournament’s history, taking the title two times. Rudolphe Gilbert won in El Espinar in 1994 and 1995 and Pepo Clavet, current coach of Feliciano López, emerged victorious in 1986 and 1988.
“I am really happy that I came back. Spain is like my second home. I really enjoy being here,” Donskoy told after the final. “I didn’t have a good start into the match but played with more confidence in the tie-break.”
The 27th edition of the $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger headlined the tournaments starting the week of 10 August. The hard court event is held in Aptos, a town with about 6,500 inhabitants in Santa Cruz Country, California and is with 27 years the longest running men’s ATP Challenger event in the United States. John Millman has become the first top-seed in the tournament’s history to claim the title. The world number 85 from Australia beat Austin Krajicek in the final, winning 7-6, 2-6, 6-3.
“I’m playing good tennis and that’s where you want to be going into the big events ahead like the U.S. Open. Obviously, it’s a nice feeling because the history of this tournament is quite special, but it’ll probably just help out whoever is the No. 1 seed next year because they won’t have to listen to that every day,” said Millman after he captured back to back title in the United States.
Another hard court event took place in Europe with the €42,500 Tilia Slovenia Open, held in the Adriatic-Mediterranean coastal settlement of Portoroz. The tournament’s third edtition was won by Italian Luca Vanni, who claimed his maiden Challenger title. In front of 1,700 spectators on a fully packed centre court, the 30-year-old ousted local hero Grega Zemlja in the final with a 6-3, 7-6 victory.
“Today it was clear that it wouldn’t become easy, as Zemlja was supported by the crowd. But I tried to focus on the match and finally I won. I am very happy with the results,” the sympathetic Italian told and even spoke to his mum while signing some autographs. “I will have a few days of practice before I will leave for preparation for the US-Open. My goal is to get into the main draw of the Australian Open,” Vanni told afterwards, ranked world number 106 by the end of the season.
Watch the best pics of the tournament in our Photo Gallery.
In the tournament’s semi-finals, the maybe weirdest match point of the year happened when Grega Zemlja closed the encounter against Alexander Kudryavtsev for a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
For the €42,500 Advantage Cars Prague Open, the ATP Challenger Tour returned to the capital of the Czech Republic for a second time this season. The tournament is played on clay at the Czech Lawn Tennis Club in Prague, located on Stvanice Island. Unseeded Rogério Dutra Silva upset seventh favourite Radu Albot in the final, winning 6-2, 6-7, 6-4. It was the first of two Challenger titles for the 31-year-old Brazilian.
The week of 17 August started on hard courts with the 11th edition of the Odlum Brown VanOpen, held in Vancouver, a coastel seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia in Canada, offering a prize money of $100,000. Dudi Sela claimed his 18th ATP Challenger career titel, winning the final 6-4, 7-5 against John-Patrick Smith.
“In Israel we practise on a court where the balls are not bouncing high and it’s the same here,” Sela told after being the first player in the tournament’s history, winning the event for a fourth time.“I’m not that tall. This one suits me very well. I have many friends and family here. I feel at home. They are pushing me and I don’t want to let them down. I feel like I’m playing in Israel.”
After lifting the trophy in Batman in April, Sela celebrated his second ATP Challenger title in 2015. “Of course I would prefer it to be ATP World Tour titles, but when I’m not playing my best in ATP I go to the Challengers to get my confidence back. It’s good to go back and practise a lot and I think you’re more relaxed in a Challenger and work on some things in your game. It’s always nice to win a tournament and win a lot of matches. I didn’t do that for a long time and this is a nice feeling. Every match I played better this week, so I feel really good and I want to play well in the US Open.” The Israeli lost in the opening round in New York to Pablo Cuevas in four sets.
In Europe continued the clay court swing with the €42,500 Internazionali di Tennis del Friuli Venezia Giulia, taking place in Cordenons located in the Province of Pordenone in the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia. Third seed Filip Krajinovic captured his second Challenger title, leading in the final 6-7, 6-4, 4-1 when his opponent Adrian Ungur was forced to retire due to right upper leg injury.
In Germany, players met for the €42,500 Maserati Challenger by Cittadino, held in Meerbusch. The town with about 55,000 residents is located in Rhein-Kreis Neuss in North Rhine-Westphalia. Top ranked Andreas Haider-Maurer clinched the title by dropping only one set in his opening round match against Philipp Davydenko. In the final, he cruised past fourth seed Carlos Berlocq, winning 6-2, 6-4.
“I really played well today, took a lot of risk and often hit the line with my shots. I became I bit nervous towards the end of the match, which is normal when you compete in a final facing a great fighter,” the world number 61 from Austria told afterwards.
The following week startin on 24 August, only one tournament took place on the red clay in Manerbio, a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, northern Italy. Second seed Andrey Kuznetsov claimed the title of the XXXIX Edizione A. Savoldi-M.Co’ with a total prize money of €42,500. The 24-year-old Russian defeated Daniel Munoz de la Nava 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Kuznetsov lifted his first trophy since winning in Ostrava last year. It was his sixth career title on the ATP Challenger Tour. “The qualification of the US-Open is very challenging and I didn’t have a guarantee of reaching the main draw. This is why I decided to play here,” he said.
With the start of the US-Open on 31 August, the ATP Challenger Tour stayed in Italy for the €42,500 Città di Como Challenger. The tournament is held since 2006 in Como, a popular tourist destination located next to famous Lake Como. Andrey Kuznetsov took his second consecutive title, winning the final 6-2, 7-5 against Daniel Brands.
Meanwhile in Thailand’s capital city, hard court players gathered for the $50,000 Chang-Sat Bangkok Open. Third favourite Yuichi Sugita beat unseeded Italian Marco Trungelliti to take his first title in 2015. The 26-year-old Japanese won the final 6-4, 6-2.