Mena To Play Lama For Quito Challenger Title

Facundo Mena (photo: Sala de prensa/Armando Prado)

QUITO/STARNBERG, September 19, 2021

Facundo Mena of Argentina has reached his first singles final on the ATP Challenger Tour in two years, facing Gonzalo Lama from Chile in Sunday’s championship match of the Dove Men & Care Quito Challenger. The $52,080 clay-court tournament is being held in 2,400 metres altitude at the Arrayanes Country Club in Quito, Ecuador.

In front of 850 spectators, Mena battled past French qualifier Alexis Gautier 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 on Saturday afternoon. The No. 6 seed withstood eight aces and broke his rival’s serve five times to seal victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

“A year and a half ago I lost my father and tennis was very difficult for me. I went through many defeats, without energy on the court. Being able to give 100 per cent again excites me, because I thought that I was not going to be able to do so, so this victory is dedicated to him,” Mena said and dedicated his run to the title match to his dad, who passed away in 2020.

Lama back in a Challenger final

Earlier in the day, Lama defeated Pol Martin Tiffon from Spain 7-6(11), 6-4. The World No. 417 from Santiago won 54 per cent of the total points played after one hour and 29 minutes.

Lama, who has claimed four titles on the ITF World Tennis Tour this season, will return to a Challenger final for the first since Sao Paulo 2016, where he won the title.

“I thought about retiring sometime, quite serious things happened. I had to deal with health problems but I didn’t want to give up my passion and luckily I am here,” said Lama, who is seeking his third ATP Challenger career crown.

Mena lifted his lone Challenger trophy in Como, Italy 2019. The 28-year-old Argentine won four of the five previous meetings with Lama.

South Americans prevail in doubles

In other action, Alejandro Gomez from Colombia and Argentine Thiago Agustin Tirante earned the doubles title. The South Americans edged past No. 2 seeded Spaniards Adrian Menendez-Maceiras and Mario Vilella Martinez 7-5, 6-7(5), 10-8. The encounter lasted one hour and 46 minutes.

By winning their first Challenger doubles title, Gomez and Tirante split $3,100 in prize money and pocketed 80 ATP Doubles Ranking points.