April 2014 ATP Challenger Tour Recap: Kyrgios Takes Two, Muller and Bolelli Continue Comebacks
Steen Kirby, Tennis East Coast
Le Gosier Challenger (March 31-April 6, 2014)
American Steve Johnson captured his third career Challenger title with a win on hard courts against top seed Kenny De Schepper 6-1 6-7 7-6. Johnson dominated most of the match, but De Schepper was able to force a third set and a third set tiebreak based upon the quality of his serve. Stevie J beat Thomas Fabbiano in the semis while king Kenny beat Michael Russell in 3 sets. 2 seed Benjamin Becker was upset by Fabbiano in round 2.
Leon Challenger (March 31-April 6, 2014)
Rajeev Ram won a title on hard courts in Mexico against the big serving Sam Groth 6-2 6-2. Ram served and volleyed his way past Adrian Menendez in the semis, while Groth served past Agustin Velotti. 2 seed Alex Bogomolov was upset by qualifier Marcus Daniell in the second round.
St. Brieuc Challenger (March 31-April 6, 2014)
Former top 40 player Andreas Beck defeated Gregoire Burquier on hard courts in France to capture the title by a score of 7-5 6-3. Beck beat Frenchman David Guez in the semis, while Burquier upset Evgeny Donskoy, the number 2 seed, in 3 sets.
Itajai Challenger (April 7-April 13, 2014)
Young Argentine Facundo Arguello is nearly in the top 100 now, as he won on clay in Brazil over Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 4-6 6-0 6-4 to capture the title. Facu beat Joao Souza in the semis, while Schwartzman beat Andres Molteni. 3 seed Guido Pella was upset by Axel Michon and 4 seed Horacio Zeballos was upset by Kimmer Coppejans earlier in the tournament. Both Zeballos and Pella have experienced drops in their formerly top 100 rankings.
Mersin Challenger (April 7-April 13, 2014)
Damir Dzhumur won a title on clay in Turkey. The now-top-140 Bosnian is at a career high ranking as he posted his 7-6 6-3 victory over Pere Riba in the final. Dzumhur beat Matteo Viola in the semis, while top seed Riba beat Aljaz Bedene.
San Luis Potosi Challenger (April 14-April 20, 2014)
Veteran Italian clay courter and tournament number 2 seed Paolo Lorenzi defeated Adrian Menendez on clay courts in Mexico 6-1 6-3 to capture the title. Lorenzi beat Victor Estrella in the semis, while Menendez beat Marcelo Arevalo. Top seed Alejandro Falla was shocked by 18 year old Mexican wild card Lucas Gomez in the first round.
Santiago Challenger (April 14-April 20, 2014)
Formerly top 50 Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker won on clay in Chile as he beat the Aussie James Duckworth 4-6 7-6 6-1, De Bakker survived a tiebreak that finished 12-10 and then rolled through the third set of a competitive final. De Bakker beat Louk Sorensen in the semis, while Duckworth got a retirement against Hans Podlipnik-Castillo.
Sao Paulo 2 Challenger (April 14-April 20, 2014)
Veteran Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva won on clay over top seed Blaz Rola 6-4 6-2. Rola has now joined the top 100 at the age of 23 and keeps rising. Dutra Silva beat Gastao Elias in the semis while Rola beat Axel Michon, who had a good month of tennis himself.
Sarasota Challenger (April 14-April 20, 2014)
The highest ranked teenager in the ATP rankings, Nick Kyrgios, who is close to breaking into the top 150, won the first of his two challenger titles this month on Har-Tru green clay 7-6 6-4 over the 22-year-old Serbian Filip Krajinovic. Krajinovic is also at career high ranking of 158 now, as he beat Gerald Melzer in the semis while Kyrgios beat Daniel Kosakowski.
Santos Challenger (April 21-April 27, 2014)
Maximo Gonzalez won a clay court title in Brazil 7-5 6-3 over Gastao Elias, who has had a strong month of tennis. The formerly top 60 Argentine defeated Axel Michon in the semis, while Elias beat Diego Sebastian Schwartzman.
Savannah Challenger (April 21-April 27, 2014)
Kyrgios won his second straight challenger this month in Savannah, also on Har-Tru green clay, as he beat Jack Sock 2-6 7-6 6-4 for his third career Challenger title. Kyrgios beat Facundo Bagnis in the semis, while Sock beat Krajinovic, who fell just short of consecutive finals. Top seed Donald Young was upset by the rising Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in round 1.
Shenzhen Challenger (April 21-April 27, 2014)
Gilles Muller won his second of three challenger titles already this season on hard courts in China. He beat Lukas Lacko 7-6 6-3, after beating Rendy Lu in the semis. Lacko beat Hiroki Moriya in the semis.
Vercelli Challenger (April 21-April 27, 2014)
Formerly top 40 Italian Simone Bolelli won at home on Italian clay against qualifier Mate Delic 6-2 6-2. Bolelli beat Andrea Arnaboldi in the semis, while Delic defeated Marco Cecchinato. 2 seed JL Struff was upset by Uladzimir Ignatik in round 1, and 3 seed David Goffin was upset by wild card Stefano Travaglia in round 2. Bolelli is back in the top 170 now.
An-Ning Challenger (April 28-May 4, 2014)
21 Aussie lefty Alex Bolt won his first career challenger title on clay in China and is now ranked in the top 250 as he defeated Nikola Mektic 6-2 7-5 in the final. Bolt beat the young Borna Coric in the semis, while Mektic beat another talented young Aussie, Jordan Thompson.
Cali Challenger (April 28-May 4, 2014)
21-year-old Chilean Gonzalo Lama won 6-3 4-6 6-3 on clay in Colombia over Marco Trungelliti. Lama beat Arthur De Greef in the semis, while Trungelliti beat Facundo Bagnis, who reached two semifinals this month.
Ostrava Challenger (April 28-May 4, 2014)
Russian Andrey Kuznetsov is close to returning to the top 100 as he won on clay 2-6 6-3 6-0 in the Czech Republic against Miloslav Mecir. Kuznetsov beat Blaz Rola in the semis, while Mecir defeated Andreas Haider-Maurer. Kuznetsov also beat top seed Radek Stepanek en route.
Taipei Challenger (April 28-May 4, 2014)
Gilles Mullerwon his second title this month 6-3 6-3 over JP Smith on indoor carpet in Taiwan. Muller beat Go Soeda in the semis, while Smith beat Tatsuma Ito.
Tunis Challenger (April 28-May 4, 2014)
Bolelli won for the second time this month 6-4 6-2 over Julian Reister on clay. Before that, he beat Mate Delic, who had a strong month, in the semis. Reister defeated Marsel Ilhan. 2 seed Tobias Kamke was upset in round 1 by Lamine Ouahab.