Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Lukas Klein Gets his Maiden Title

Andrea Pellegrino Aix en provence
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Two Challenger events were held during the first week of Roland Garros. In Troisdorf, Lukas Klein grabbed his maiden title at that level, not long after coming back from a wrist injury. Meanwhile in Vicenza, Andrea Pellegrino prevailed in a final against his namesake, Andrea Collarini. Read back on this week’s action:

Troisdorf

Lukas Klein became a very consistent threat in Challenger events last year, before injuring his wrist and getting forced out of the game for six months. His comeback hadn’t possessed a standout result, but the level was very solid from the get-go. The Slovakian had to qualify for the main draw in Troisdorf and lost a set in the first round of qualifying to Paweł Ciaś. Klein took the decider quite comfortably though and ripped apart every single opponent on his way, not dropping any more sets on the way to the final.

Zizou Bergs arrived in Troisdorf on a three-match losing streak, which could have easily become four if Rudolf Molleker capitalized on a match point in their opening round. Instead, the German committed an unforced error and gave his opponent a hand. Bergs took his chance and played the cards right, beating Molleker in a deciding set tie-breaker before making his second final of the year. The impressive wins had him eliminate Dominic Stricker in a NextGen battle, or take out Roman Safiullin in the semifinals.

Klein dominated the opening set with his big serve and forehand combination, moving up to the net a lot. While Bergs was briefly up 3-0 in the second set after the Slovakian had his only weaker service game of the match, Klein quickly pulled it back and took his maiden Challenger title 6-2 6-4.

The 24-year-old was already down to World No. 327 in the ATP Rankings and this will propel him back into Grand Slam qualifying range. Both players are scheduled to feature on the Challenger Tour next week, Bergs in Poznań, while the champion at Troisdorf received a special exempt for Prostejov.

Vicenza

Andrea Collarini caught some great form in Buenos Aires a month ago, reaching the final and losing to Camilo Ugo Carabelli. The Argentinian missed out on Roland Garros qualifying by a few spots, but was on fire in Vicenza, striking his lefty forehand beautifully to completely demolish all his opponents on the way to the final. In four matches, Collarini lost just 15 games and never let his opponent have more than 3 games in a single set.

The streakiness of Andrea Pellegrino continues to amaze. Not long after winning Rome Challenger last year, the Italian had a 12-match losing streak, only to break out of it with consecutive finals in Lisbon and Naples. Since then, Pellegrino compiled a 6-16 win/loss record, before making the semifinals at Bordeaux this month, becoming the first player in 2022 to beat Benjamin Bonzi in a Challenger. The Italian took it straight to Vincenza, defeating four compatriots on his way to the final (Lorenzo Giustino, Giovanni Fonio, Gianluca Mager, Matteo Gigante).

Pellegrino’s lows often have him struggle to keep the ball in play, but his highs can be absolutely ridiculous too. The Italian is a very rhythmic player, who likes pace and when he’s on, is among the smoothest ball-strikers on the tour. The final was a very comfortable affair, in which the 25-year-old dominated 6-1 6-4.

It’s his 2nd Challenger title and the win helps him get back to the top 200. Both finalists will play in Forli next week – Collarini as an alternate, Pellegrino with a special exempt.

Events held next week:

  • Forli Open (Challenger 125, clay)
  • Surbiton Trophy (Challenger 125, grass)
  • Unicredit Czech Open (Prostejov, Challenger 100, clay)
  • Baptist Health Little Rock Open (Challenger 100, hard)
  • Poznań Open (Challenger 90, clay)

Top 100 players in action:

  • Andy Murray, Adrian Mannarino, Soon-woo Kwon, James Duckworth, Brandon Nakashima, Denis Kudla, Jordan Thompson, Thanasi Kokkinakis (Surbiton)
  • Lorenzo Musetti, Jaume Munar, Tomas Martin Etcheverry, Hugo Dellien (Forli)
  • Federico Coria, Jiri Vesely, Jiri Lehecka, Pablo Andujar (Prostejov)
  • Arthur Rinderknech, Henri Laaksonen (Poznań)

First-round matches to watch:

Surbiton

  • (1) Andy Murray vs Jurij Rodionov
  • Marc-Andrea Huesler vs (5) Brandon Nakashima
  • Alexei Popyrin vs (7) Denis Kudla
  • (9) Thanasi Kokkinakis vs Aleksandar Vukic

Forli

  • Flavio Cobolli vs (7) Juan Manuel Cerundolo
  • (3) Tomas Martin Etcheverry vs Franco Agamenone
  • (SE) Andrea Pellegrino vs (6) Gianluca Mager
  • Giulio Zeppieri vs (4) Hugo Dellien
  • Alessandro Giannessi vs (2) Jaume Munar

Prostejov

  • (1) Federico Coria vs Dalibor Svrcina
  • (WC) Hamad Medjedovic vs (5) Norbert Gombos
  • (6) Elias Ymer vs Zsombor Piros

Poznań

  • (1) Arthur Rinderknech vs Lorenzo Giustino
  • (4) Chun-Hsin Tseng vs Nino Serdarusic
  • (6) Manuel Guinard vs Gregoire Barrere

Little Rock

  • (1) JJ Wolf vs Aleksandar Kovacevic
  • (WC) Ben Shelton vs Christian Harrison

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