The fifth week after the restart of the ATP Challenger Tour saw just one event of that circuit. The 2020 Iasi Open was the first edition of the tournament. With most top players participating in the Italian Open, Pablo Andujar was the only top 100 player taking part. Next week, there will be another Challenger event held in Romania, in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu. The Tour will also visit Italy again. But back to what happened in Iasi…
Mathias Bourgue introduced himself to the worldwide audience back in 2016, when he managed to take Andy Murray to five sets at Roland Garros. However, the Frenchman rarely finds his best level and hasn’t managed to make the jump from the Challenger Tour to the main circuit since. Bourgue managed to showcase some of his best qualities in a solid win over Jurij Rodionov in the quarterfinals, before going on to face the top-seeded Pablo Andujar. The Spaniard was a runner-up in Prostejov the previous week and as the current world no.51, was regarded as a massive favorite to win the whole event. However, Bourgue managed to find the upset victory 6-3 3-6 6-3 to take just his third top 100 scalp in a completed match.
It was a third ATP Challenger Tour final for Carlos Taberner, who lost the previous two in consecutive weeks in September 2017 (Sibiu and Banja Luka). Taberner only played one professional event (lost in qualifying for the Prostejov Challenger) since the pandemic but scored good wins in Spanish exhibition events (Roberto Carballes Baena, Albert Ramos-Vinolas).
After dropping sets against Kacper Zuk and Adrian Menendez-Maceiras on the way to the semifinals, Taberner faced another compatriot, Jaume Munar, seeded second. After missing out on a set point in the first set and going on to lose it, Taberner managed to make a quick turnaround and storm to take the second 6-1. Munar fought back though and led 4-1 in the decider before the lower-ranked Spaniard was able to turn it around with a dominant lead in the third set tie-break.
The burden of having to dictate the play was always going to be a bit more on Bourgue in the final. Taberner is an expert mover on the clay and was able to slide into many seemingly impossible gets. The Spaniard also did a good job of moving Bourgue around with his loopy forehand when needed. His serve was especially effective in the key moments, allowing him to fend off a crucial breakpoint back in the first set. Taberner took the title 6-4 7-6 (4), being able to stay a lot more composed in the second set tie-break.
This maiden ATP Challenger Tour title allows Carlos Taberner to make it to a new career-high ranking of No. 147. The Spaniard will go to Paris now to try to qualify for the main draw of the 2020 Roland Garros. Bourgue narrowly missed out on the qualifying draw there with his ranking but he’ll also participate thanks to a wildcard from the French federation.
Challenger Tour magic:
It’s not the first time Jurij Rodionov amazes with a tweener on the Challenger Tour:
Tweener alert 🚨
Jurij Rodionov does it again! 💪 QF bound in Iasi. pic.twitter.com/SZurZXl7VI
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) September 16, 2020
As Maxime Hamou already had a warning before, this lengthy racket throw effectively finished the match on a point penalty:
Maxime Hamou might not beat Kacper Żuk today, but at least he won the longest racket throw contest: pic.twitter.com/PNZbLQHu7x
— Damian Kust (@LWOSdamiankust) September 13, 2020
Events held next week:
- Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Forli (Challenger 100)
- Sibiu Open (Challenger 80)
Top 100 players in action:
- Frances Tiafoe, Cameron Norrie, Kwon Soon-Woo, Salvatore Caruso, Yuichi Sugita, Lloyd Harris, Andreas Seppi (Forli)