Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Juan Pablo Varillas’ Two Titles in a Row

Juan Pablo Varillas Challenger Tour
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Last week in Campinas, Juan Pablo Varillas became the first Peruvian in 12 years to capture an ATP Challenger Tour title. In a battle of Juan Pablos, he beat the Argentinian Juan Pablo Ficovich in three sets to become the fifth men from his country to win an event at that level after Pablo Arraya, Jose Luis Noriega, Ivan Miranda and Luis Horna. After this remarkable achievement, not many expected the Peruvian to top himself just a week later.

Varillas played the Milex Open in Santo Domingo on the basis of his ranking before the Campinas title and was therefore unseeded, meaning he needed to play six matches to win the title. Coupled with the six matches he had won just the previous week, that promised to be quite a lot of tennis. After routine wins over Alejandro Gonzalez and Daniel Elahi Galan, Varillas had to face the top seed and world #76 Federico Delbonis. The Peruvian lost the first set, but was the better player in the next two, upsetting the Argentine 3-6 6-3 6-4 to claim his second Challenger title in as many weeks.

Familiar foes

His Campinas campaign really kicked off with a great win over Facundo Bagnis and the 29-year-old Argentinian was once again his rival in Santo Domingo. Varillas proved his great form once again, taking down a higher-ranked opponent 6-3 6-3. He didn’t face a single breakpoint. His great serving performance transferred to his next match with the fourth seed Thiago Monteiro. The Brazilian was storming through the draw that week, including ending the career of Victor Estrella Burgos. Yet, he was no match for Varillas who managed to reach his second career Challenger final in as many weeks.

Federico Coria was another rival who Varillas had to play twice in his amazing streak. The 27-year-old Argentinian has had a great year, including a maiden Challenger Title in Savannah. Their last week’s semifinal was very clean from Varillas, who topped his opponent 6-0, 6-4 in around an hour. The Peruvian had a great start to his 12th match in 14 days, dominating the rallies with his spinny forehand. Although looking slightly gassed in the second set, he managed to rebound well and take the match 6-3 2-6 6-2.

In just two weeks, Varillas has made the jump from ATP #332 to 161st in the world rankings. What’s even more interesting, last year, there was another player who made the Campinas/Santo Domingo doubles. It was Chilean Christian Garin, who’s now up to the top 40 with two ATP titles this week. Garin then took a week off and managed to get a third title in a row at the Lima Challenger. That’s exactly where Varillas will be headed now. In 52 weeks from now, can the Peruvian make similar progress?

Other Challenger Tour winners of the week:

Mikael Ymerย won his fourth Challenger Tour event this year in Mouilleron-Le-Captif. The Swede, who entered the top 100 just a couple of weeks ago, will now find himself at a career-high 75th position. Ymer received a wild card for the next week’s Intrum Stockholm Open, where he’ll face Joao Sousa in the first round. Counting two Davis Cup rubbers, this was Ymer’s 12th consecutive win. For his championship match opponent, Matthias Bourgue, it was a first Challenger final in more than two years. The Frenchman famously took Andy Murray to five sets at the 2016 Roland Garros.

Australian Christopher O’Connellย took home a second ATP Challenger Trophy in his third final in two months. The new world #149 leads the stats books this year with 71 match wins and 13 finals (10 Futures, 3 Challengers). O’Connell didn’t lose a single set on the way to the title. The runner-up was former world #21 Steve Johnson.

Here’s where the magic happens:

The biggest story of the week – Victor Estrella Burgos’ retirement in front of his home crowd:

That is one way to commentate a match:

Quite a shot from Kevin King:

17-year-old Brit Jack Draper upset Jack Sock and Donald Young:

Peter Polansky finding himself a new coach on social media?:

And some amazing reactions from Gian Marco Moroni:

Events next week:

  • Ningbo (125)
  • Ismaning (90)
  • Las Vegas (80)

Top 100 players in action:

  • Prajnesh Gunneswaran (Ningbo)
  • Steve Johnson (Las Vegas)

Main photo:
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