Tirante Topples Mena To Reach Ambato Challenger Final

Thiago Agustin Tirante (photo: Sala de prensa/Armando Prado)

AMBATO/STARNBERG, September 26, 2021

Thiago Agustin Tirante and Juan Pablo Varillas will compete in the title match of the Ambato La Gran Ciudad ATP Challenger Tour clay-court tournament.

Tirante emerged victorious from the all-Argentine semi-final clash with last week’s Quito Challenger champion Facundo Mena, winning 7-5, 5-7, 6-3. The No. 7 seed from La Plata hit 12 aces and won 73 per cent of his first-service point to prevail after two hours and 26 minutes.

“It was a great match, very difficult,” said Tirante after reaching his third singles final on the ATP Challenger Tour.  “It was an even match. It was complicated in the first set, when he broke me in the first game. Then, I started the third set thinking that I had lost the second with the possibility of going to a tie-break, but hey this is so, I went ahead, I was focused to keep staying in the match.”

Later on Saturday at the Club Tungurahua, the tournament’s top seed Varillas defeated sixth favourite Juan Pablo Ficovich of Argentina 6-3, 6-4. The World No. 121 from Peru saved all four break points he faced and converted two of his own four break-point chances to advance after one hour and 13 minutes.

“Playing in front of spectators after all this issue of the pandemic is quite good, it makes me very happy. It is another completely different and motivating environment,” said Varillas, who is seeking his fourth ATP Challenger career title, his second of the season following his win in Biella, Italy in early May.

The 25-year-old Lima native and Tirante will meet for the first time. “He is a very dangerous player (Tirante), very aggressive, especially on the forehand and his serve is also noticeable here at the altitude. He is a great player and has had a great year, but so have I. It is going to be a very tough match, but hopefully I can win it,” Varillas said.

Hidalgo/Rodgriguez earn doubles title

In other action, Diago Hidalgo from Ecuador and Cristian Rodriguez of Colombia captured the doubles title. The No. 3 seeds fought past Colombian Alejandro Gomez and Thiago Agustin Tirante 6-3, 4-6, 10-3. The championship match lasted one hour and 13 minutes.

“I am very happy to win the title in front of my home crowd here from Ecuador,” Hidalgo said. “I am also happy for my family who could see me play, all my friends. With Cristian we really did a great tournament, so I am just very very happy. We were very concentrated, we forgot everything else and gave everything on the court, especially with the spectators. That helped us.”

Following one triumph on the ITF World Tennis Tour in Guayaquil in early August, Hidalgo and Rodriguez claimed their first team title on the Challenger Circuit. The pair split $3,100 in prize money and collected 80 ATP Doubles Ranking points.