January 2014 ATP Challenger Tour Recap: Falla Wins Twice, Klahn Continues Rise
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Noumea Challenger (December 30-January 5, 2014)
Top seed Alejandro Falla defeated Canadian Steve Diez in straight sets to win this hard court AO warm up challenger in sunny New Caledonia. Falla beat Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in the semis, while Diez beat the Irishman James McGee. Diez is at a career high ranking inside the top 200, while Falla seeks to recover from a poor 2013 and get himself back to being an ATP regular competitor.
In a notable upset, young Belgian qualifier Kimmer Coppejans beat former ATP regular Martin Klizan in the opening round.
Sao Paulo-1 Challenger (December 30-January 5, 2014)
25 year old Joao Souza won at home in Brazil at this outdoor hard court challenger. He beat Alejandro Gonzalez in the final in straight sets and beat Argentine Guido Pella in the semis. Gonzalez, a rising Colombian, beat Gastao Elias in the semis. Top seed Horacio Zeballos was bounced by fellow Argentine Agustin Velotti in the opening round.
Bucaramanga Challenger (January 20-January 26, 2014)
2 seed Alejandro Falla won yet another challenger in January, this time on clay on Colombia, as he beat Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets in front of home fans. Falla beat Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in the semis while Lorenzi beat the in-form Alejandro Gonzalez to reach the final.
Heilbronn Challenger (January 20-January 26, 2014)
German Peter Gojowczyk has carried his strong play from 2013 into the new year thus far, as he beat a strong field indoors on hard courts in winning the final in 2 sets over Dutchman and top seed Igor Sijsling. Gojo beat the young Jiri Vesely in the semis, while Sijsling got a retirement against fellow Dutchman Jesse Huta Galung.
Maui Challenger (January 20-January 26, 2014)
American Bradley Klahn continued his rise up the rankings, now at a career high of 80, as he beat Tsung-Hua Wang in the final of this USTA Pro Circuit hard court challenger in straight sets. Klahn beat Tatsuma Ito in the semis, while Wang beat American Tim Smyczek. In a notable upset/stock watch notice, Mischa Zverev knocked Ryan Harrison out in the opening round, as the formerly promising young American continues to struggle.
Burnie Challenger (January 27-Feburary 2, 2014)
Aussie Matt Reid was yet another home nation challenger tournament winner, as Reid took out Hiroki Moriya in the final on hard courts, 3 and 2. Reid beat Yuichi Ito in the semis, while Moriya defeated American road runner Jarmere Jenkins. Semifinalist Ito scored a notable win over 2 seed James Duckworth in round 2.
Chitre Challenger (January 27-Feburary 2, 2014)
Veteran American Wayne Odesnik defeated Jimmy Wang in 3 sets to win this hard court challenger in Panama. Odesnik beat Paolo Lorenzi in the semis, while Wang beat American Daniel Kosakowski.