Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Rune Goes Back-to-Back, Altmaier Won’t Regret Missing the US Open Qualies

Holger Rune

Most of the players contesting the US Open had already left for New York, while Holger Rune decided to catch one more week of Challenger tennis and won his third title this season, the second in a row. Meanwhile, Daniel Altmaier capitalized on a very rich vein of form that he’s found recently. Read back on this week’s action:

Luedenscheid

Having come back from a doping suspension earlier in the year, Nicolas Jarry instantly started scoring good results, including back-to-back finals at Salinas Challenger. The clay season slightly slowed down the Chilean’s rise up the rankings, although he was able to make it all the way to the final this week in pretty incredible circumstances. Down 1-6 1-3 to Lukas Klein, he dug himself out of a 0-40 hole twice and came back to win 1-6 7-6 7-6. That was the opening round of the tournament, but Jarry would not lose a set in his next three matches and make a third Challenger final of the season.

Daniel Altmaier has been in amazing form of late, making tour-level semifinals at Umag and Kitzbuhel, and triumphing in the Braunschweig Challenger last month. The lefty German had to finish his marathon against Javier Barranco Casano on Saturday, but even that didn’t stop him from taking out Juan Manuel Cerundolo later in the day. The aforementioned Spaniard was the only one who took a set off him before the final.

Altmaier dominated the opening set tie-break and appeared on the verge of victory up 3-0 in the second set. He would then proceed to lose the next five games though as Jarry leveled the match in stunning fashion. But it was to be the Chilean’s swan song in Sunday’s final, as a very fast-paced deciding set saw Altmaeir find the only break to win his second Challenger title 7-6 4-6 6-3.

Both Altmaier and Jarry chose not to travel to the States (Jarry wouldn’t have made it, Altmaier had direct acceptance to the US Open qualifying) and are set to compete in Warsaw next week. The German is inches away from breaking the top 100 for the first time in his career.

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Verona

Holger Rune‘s run in San Marino the week before contained a lot of drama, including a 2-6 0-4 comeback against Salvatore Caruso. Yet somehow, the Dane didn’t even drop a single set on the way to the final in Verona. The 18-year-old showed signs of fatigue in the opening round here against Matija Pecotic but even despite an earlier Saturday finish, his physical shape remained very impressive towards the end of the week. Particularly stunning was the 6-2 6-1 dismissal of Carlos Taberner in the semifinals.

The other finalist was a surprise package in Nino Serdarusic. The Croat had a season of many first-round exits and a run out of nowhere here or there (Rome QF, Perugia SF). Once again on Italian soil, Serdarusic took out veterans Paolo Lorenzi and Gastao Elias, before taking out Jay Clarke with the loss of just two games. It was his second Challenger final, following a 2018 runner-up finish at Ostrava.

Rune took the final 6-4 6-2, but his opponent managed to put up a very decent fight in both sets. The second actually lasted longer than the first with Rune winning a number of multiple deuce games. This win allows the 18-year-old to debut in the top 150 of the ATP Rankings. Rune will now have a very quick turnaround before competing in the US Open qualifying draw, while Serdarusic will stay on the Challenger Tour in Warsaw.

Challenger Tour magic scenes:

Events held next week:

  • BNP Paribas Polish Cup (Warsaw, Challenger 80)
  • Open Citta della Disfida (Barletta, Challenger 80)
  • IBG Prague Open by Moneta Money Bank (Prague, Challenger 50)

There will be no top 100 players in action.

First-round matches to watch:

Warsaw

  • Nicolas Kicker vs Alexander Erler
  • (7) Vitaliy Sachko vs Michael Vrbensky

Barletta

  • (1) Andrej Martin vs (WC) Jacopo Berrettini
  • Giulio Zeppieri vs Timofey Skatov

Prague

  • Genaro Alberto Oliveri vs (5) Jonas Forejtek
  • Arthur Cazaux vs (4) Geoffrey Blancaneaux
  • (7) Filip-Cristian Jianu vs Matthias Pucinelli de Almeida

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images


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