Virtanen Claims First Challenger Crown In Bergamo

Otto Virtanen (photo: Antonio Milesi)

BERGAMO/STARNBERG, November 6, 2022

Otto Virtanen capped his dream in Bergamo by winning his maiden ATP Challenger crown at the Trofeo Perrel – Faip. The 21-year-old Finnish qualifier defeated Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 7-5 in Sunday’s singles final.

In the pair’s first meeting, World No. 265 Virtanen fired 19 aces and won 81 per cent of his first-service points to seal victory in one hour and 12 minutes.

“The funny story is that I almost didn’t come to Bergamo,” Virtanen said. “Last Saturday I played the doubles final in Brest and I knew that the next day I would have to play the first round of the qualifying. It was not easy to get here from Brest. I had to fly from there to Paris and then from Paris to Bergamo. Fortunately, I played quite late on Sunday and from there I lived day by day … and I made it all the way here.”

Virtanen, who captured the Boys’ Doubles title in the Wimbledon Championships in 2018 alongside Yanki Erel of Turkey, earned €6,190 in prize money as well as 80 ATP Ranking points.

“This victory puts me in the right direction to go higher and higher, and I’m happy about that,” said Virtanen, who was unimpressed by the atmosphere in the almost sold-out PalaIntred, with about 2,000 spectators.

“There was a good atmosphere, but I’ve experienced something similar before. I have played several Davis Cup matches, and at home it happens that there are even 4,000 to 5,000 spectators. I’ve been to important Center Courts before, but there’s no doubt that there was a great atmosphere here, and I felt the warmth of the crowd cheering for me.”