Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Nuno Borges Wins the First-Ever Challenger 175

Nuno Borges, a Challenger Tour champion, in action.

Last week’s Arizona Tennis Classic in Phoenix was the first-ever Challenger 175 event, a new category introduced this year that is open to all players ranked outside the top 10 of the ATP Rankings. Nuno Borges defeated Alexander Shevchenko in a rather unexpected final. Meanwhile, Thiago Seyboth Wild and Hamad Medjedovic completed the set of very young winners, grabbing their respective second ATP Challenger Tour titles.

ATP Challenger Tour Weekly Recap


Alexander Shevchenko was a surprise winner at the hard-court event in Tenerife recently and the Russian kept up that off-clay improvement in great fashion at the first-ever Challenger 175. After making it through the qualifying, he eliminated Gael Monfils and scored the best two wins of his career ranking-wise (by a country mile) – over world #23 Matteo Berrettini and world #51 Marc-Andrea Huesler. Due to rain delays, he had to defeat both Berrettini and Quentin Halys on Saturday.

Borges won the biggest title of his career at a Challenger 125 in Monterrey in February and now produced a run at an even bigger event. He defeated the second seed, Diego Schwartzman in the opening round, taking advantage of the former top 10 player’s lack of form. Just like Shevchenko, Borges had to play two matches on Saturday, surviving a tough third-setter against Alexei Popyrin and comfortably taking out Jan-Lennard Struff.

Shevchenko’s baseline game really was way more potent than we’ve ever seen it before off-clay and he went up a set in great fashion. Borges kept serving well though and turned a crazy point around, which really shifted the momentum in his favor (see the Challenger Tour magic section lower down). The fatigue suddenly kicked in for the Russian and despite trying to fight, he didn’t have much left and cramped up in the decider. Borges claimed the biggest title of his career (fourth Challenger) 4-6 6-2 6-1. Both players are scheduled to play in the qualifying in Miami.

Vina del Mar

Runner-up from Santiago last week, Seyboth Wild managed to keep that form going with another run at a Chilean Challenger. He had a pretty nice draw in the opening two rounds and managed to not make fatigue a concern at all, despite having to play 12 matches in 15 days. He dropped a couple of sets to Orlando Luz and Andrea Pellegrino, before scoring a great win over the local crowd favorite, Tomas Barrios Vera.

Hugo Gaston was also in Santiago the week before, but lost to Facundo Diaz Acosta in the second round. This time he was able to progress to the final in pretty dominant fashion, only struggling against Riccardo Bonadio at the last eight stage. Gaston brought these issues onto himself though, wasting three match points at 6-2 5-2 before eventually letting the Italian level the match. In the semifinals, the 22-year-old defeated Bonadio’s countryman, Andrea Vavassori.

Gaston doesn’t have a great record in finals and this was another one where the pressure got to him. After losing the 5-6 game from 40-0 on serve, everything went sideway for the Frenchman. Most importantly, he just couldn’t handle his opponent’s forehand at all. Seyboth Wild claimed his second Challenger title 7-5 6-1 and in just a fortnight, he’ll move back from world #400 to Grand Slam qualifying range. Both finalists will now take some much-needed rest.


Medjedovic hadn’t achieved much since his breakout run in Luedenscheid last year, but recently found some form again with a semifinal in Bangalore. The Serbian had to come through many tough moments in the opening rounds here, surviving long deciding sets with Ivan Gakhov, Nicholas David Ionel, and Zsombor Piros. Perhaps that made him even stronger for the rest of the week as he absolutely crushed Evan Furness in 54 minutes in the semifinal.

Nino Serdarusic came into this event with a 0-7 win/loss record for the season, but didn’t look like that from the get-go. While he was a little fortunate to receive a retirement from Mate Valkusz in the opening round, the 26-year-old was already hitting well in that one. Manuel Guinard held a 4-2 lead in the deciding set against him, but Serdarusic survived and took down the top seed and last week’s Antalya champion, Fabian Marozsan, in a very impressive semifinal win.

Serdarusic continued his fine form in the opening stages of the match, especially in how strong he was in shorter rallies behind his serve. Medjedovic’s hitting off the ground was just sublime though as he was able to use all that power he has, while also producing some great consistency. As the match went on, the Croat was getting less and less for free on his delivery. Medjedovic won his second Challenger title 6-4 6-3 and breaks the top 100 on Monday. Both players are heading to Zadar next.

Challenger Tour magic:

Events held this week:

  • FlowBank Challenger Biel/Bienne (Challenger 100, indoor hard)
  • Open Saint-Brieuc Armor Agglomeration (Challenger 75, indoor hard)
  • Challenger Club Els Gorchs (Las Franquesas del Valles, Challenger 75, hard)
  • Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open (Challenger 75, clay)

Max Purcell will be the only top 100 player in action (Las Franquesas del Valles)

First-round matches to watch:


  • (1) Dominic Stricker vs Beibit Zhukayev
  • (5) Otto Virtanen vs James McCabe


  • (1) Antoine Escoffier vs (ALT) Clement Chidekh
  • (6) Raphael Collignon vs (WC) Pierre-Hugues Herbert

Las Franquesas del Valles

  • (5) Adrian Andreev vs (WC) Daniel Merida Aguilar
  • Skander Mansouri vs (4) Dalibor Svrcina


  • (1) Chun-Hsin Tseng vs Mate Valkusz
  • (6) Laurent Lokoli vs Arthur Cazaux

Main photo credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports