As most of the players usually in the field at ATP Challenger Tour events were trying to qualify for Wimbledon last week, there was quite a big ranking gap between the top-seeded Federico Coria and the second seed Holger Rune at the one event last week. The field definitely wasn’t lacking though, with Pedro Cachin, Gastao Elias, and the aforementioned Rune also having claimed Challenger titles this season. Here’s a look back at last week’s action:
ATP Challenger Tour Weekly Recap
Last week’s Prostejov champion, Federico Coria opted not to play any grass-court warm-up events and instead go to Milan even the week before Wimbledon. The Argentinian has never won a match on the lawn and the decision certainly paid off with him making another deep run. Ranked about 130 spots higher than any other player in the event, Coria struggled to take out Mirza Basic in the second round, only finding the way to edge ahead after a 68-minute opening set. In the quarterfinals, he demolished Gastao Elias, whom he had lost to a little over a month ago at the Oeiras Challenger.
His final opponent didn’t lose a set on the way to the championship match either. Gian Marco Moroni had reached only a couple of quarterfinals on the Challenger Tour this season before Milan, but he was able to take advantage of a rather favorable draw. The quarterfinals had him face the talented young Croat Duje Ajdukovic, but he was easily able to fend off a dangerous opponent. In a blockbuster final four matchup, he was able to take out Holger Rune in straights, despite going down 0-4 in the opening set.
The grinding playstyle of Moroni is extremely taxing physically and from the very beginning of the match, it seemed like he was the one who would have his fuel tank empty first. The Italian covered his forehand corner fantastically though, which allowed him to constantly look for inside-out forehands. Coria had a very off game at 3-4 down and despite some double faults when serving for it, Moroni was able to take the opener.
In a very weird twist, Coria’s level dropped off a cliff in the second set up to a point where he seemed disinterested. The last chance to get back to the match was a game where he had three break-point opportunities (three consecutive) but failed each time. As it stood, Moroni remained unbroken and calmly took it 6-3 6-2.
It was a third Challenger final for the Italian, who lost the previous two, each time on home soil. The win over Coria was his first against a top 100 opponent and has him situated just a couple of spots behind his career-high ranking. Moroni will now take a break before Perugia, where he’s currently on the alternate list for the main draw. Coria will have a very short turnaround ahead of Wimbledon, where he is set to play against Daniel Elahi Galan on Tuesday.
Events held next week:
- Porto Challenger (Challenger 80, hard)
There will be no top 100 players in action.
First-round matches to watch:
- Sergiy Stakhovsky vs (6) Go Soeda (Wimbledon qualifying rematch)
- (WC) Goncalo Oliveria vs (WC) Nuno Borges
- (7) Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Roberto Marcora
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