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Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Fantastic Final in Modena, Kypson Claims Maiden Title

Clay-court tennis

Only two ATP Challenger Tour events were held during the week of Wimbledon qualifying. Modena delivered a phenomenal championship match between Emilio Nava and Titouan Droguet, which had a very healthy mix of drama and quality. Meanwhile, recent USTA Roland Garros wildcard recipient, Patrick Kypson, won a Challenger for the very first time in Medellin. Read back on this week’s action:

ATP Challenger Tour Weekly Recap

Modena

Droguet made his maiden Challenger final in Cherbourg earlier this year and while he didn’t instantly follow it up, he was putting in some really strong ITF Tour results just before Modena. He won the 25K in Grasse and almost went back-to-back in Montauban, finishing runner-up. Last week, he reeled off three straight-set wins in a row before taking out Nerman Fatic 6-4 in the decider to make his second Challenger final of the season (and overall as well).

Emilio Nava wasn’t far away from the Wimbledon qualifying cut, but he made sure not to regret that with his run in Modena. The 21-year-old had recently qualified for the French Open and then failed to make a big splash in either Prostejov or Poznan. The rather fast clay conditions in Italy last week were really to his liking though and despite a tough battle with Elmar Ejupovic in the first round, the American also had a couple of stunning performances on the way to the final.

What a final it was in Modena as Nava and Droguet were involved in a very entertaining clash of styles. The American’s power seemed like it would be too much on the quicker clay, but his opponent was holding on impressively. Droguet got himself into a winning position at 7-6 5-4 40-15, but committed a backhand error and could only watch as the 21-year-old executed a perfect return 1-2 punch on the next point. This battle lasted almost three hours as Nava claimed his second Challenger title 6-7 7-6 6-4. Droguet is supposed to feature in Amersfoort this week, while the champion takes a couple of weeks off until Pozoblanco.

Medellin

Kypson often schedules himself for altitude clay with the run in San Luis Potosi a few months back (semifinal) kickstarting his quest for the Roland Garros main draw wildcard. After that potentially career-changing achievement, the American lost in four consecutive opening rounds, but managed to get back on track in Medellin. In four matches on the way to his first Challenger final, he never dropped a set and needed just two tie-breaks.

Benjamin Lock very recently won back-to-back 15K ITFs in Addis Ababa, before going on to feature in Stuttgart ATP 250 qualifying and losing in the opening round in Cali. At the Challenger level, the Zimbabwean had previously made the final eight stage just once (Segovia 2022). He got there again in Medellin and scored an impressive win over Nino Serdarusic, only to snap a similarly surprising run of Adria Sorano Barrera in the semifinals.

You could feel the nerves on both sides as the final just wasn’t of high quality at all. Lock tried to execute his game of simple attacking patterns, but was way too all over the place. To his credit, Kypson responded great in all the situational play and turned defense into offense admirably. The American claimed his maiden Challenger title 6-3 6-3 and broke the top 300. Lock is currently scheduled for a 25K in Klosters this week, while Kypson had to withdraw from Bloomfield Hills qualifying.

Events held this week:

  • Aspria Tennis Cup (Milan, Challenger 75, clay)
  • Tennis Open Karlsruhe (Challenger 75, clay)
  • Cranbrook Tennis Classic (Bloomfield Hills, Challenger 75, hard)
  • Internationaux de Tennis de Troyes (Challenger 50, clay)
  • AAT Challenger Santa Fe (Challenger 50, clay)

Due to the first week of Wimbledon, there will be no top 100 players in action.

First-round matches to watch:

Milan

  • Stefano Travaglia vs (PR) Pablo Cuevas
  • (4) Thiago Agustin Tirante vs Mattia Bellucci
  • Luciano Darderi vs (2) Cristian Garin

Karlsruhe

  • (1) Zsombor Piros vs Geoffrey Blancaneaux
  • Norbert Gombos vs (3) Pedro Martinez

Bloomfield Hills

  • (1) James Duckworth vs Beibit Zhukayev
  • (WC) Kei Nishikori vs Adam Walton
  • (WC) Michael Zheng vs (2) Emilio Gomez

Troyes

  • (1) Genaro Alberto Olivieri vs Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg
  • Pol Martin Tiffon vs (4) Terence Atmane

Santa Fe

  • (WC) Juan Ignacio Londero vs Luciano Emanuel Ambrogi
  • (WC) Alejo Lorenzo Lingua Lavallen vs (2) Santiago Rodriguez Taverna

Main photo credit: Credit: Matthias Hauer/GEPA via USA TODAY Sports

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