Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Coria and Cressy Back in Form with Big Challenger Wins

Federico Coria and Maxime Cressy were the high-profile winners at the two biggest Challenger Tour events last week. They both really needed the points too. Meanwhile, Terence Atmane continued his domination of the Chinese swing. Zachary Svajda won a final in Cary that had to be moved indoors, whereas Santa Cruz delivered us a third-ever Francisco Comesana vs Mariano Navone Challenger final.


Vit Kopriva won the title in Tulln the week before Szczecin, but he didn’t exhibit any signs of accumulated fatigue on the way to another final. He eliminated Jan Choinski in the opening round, before surviving Oriol Roca Batalla in two very physical sets. Despite that, he was the one who had more left for the deciding set against Flavio Cobolli and saw Alexander Shevchenko retire at 0-6 0-1 down in the semifinals. That’s already Kopriva’s third final since the end of July.

Federico Coria looked very mediocre while beating the German duo of Henri Squire and Lucas Gerch in the first two rounds, but the Argentinian quickly found some much better form. His performance against Jaume Munar in the quarterfinals was nothing short of astonishing as the 31-year-old showed so much more comfort than usual while playing the role of the aggressor. He also went on to defeat Francesco Maestrelli in the final four.

Kopriva’s serving started malfunctioning from the get-go in the final and he didn’t hold serve even once until being 1-6 2-5 down. Coria’s spinnier ball would also hurt his flat strokes in the backhand exchanges. But the Czech, who had already won a Challenger final from 1-6 2-5 this year (Verona), kept saving match points and eventually found his best level. Coria won his 6th Challenger title 6-1 7-6 and opted to pull out of Antofagasta this week. Kopriva wants to play Bad Waltersdorf, before also heading over to South America.

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After making the third round at the US Open, Benjamin Bonzi was back on the Challenger Tour in Cassis just a few days later with a horrific performance against Lucas Pouillain. A week of rest did him good though and the Frenchman soon became the dominant force that saw him clinch six titles at this level in 2021 (one of them was Rennes). On the way to the final, he didn’t drop a set and only needed two tie-breaks (Maxence Beauge and Richard Gasquet). He also dropped his serve just twice in four matches.

Maxime Cressy hadn’t played a Challenger since Lugano 2022 (March), but had to return to that level after struggling for wins for a few months. The draw wasn’t kind to kind to him and yet it didn’t matter for the American. He managed to take out Emilio Nava, Corentin Moutet, Mattia Bellucci, and Gregoire Barrere on the way to the final, not dropping a single set. Six out of eight ended in tie-breaks though with one 7-5 and one 6-2 scoreline.

Bonzi opened up the final with a 3-1 lead, but Cressy played some surprisingly good points on return to start clawing his way back into the set. He eventually won the next seven games in a row, before his opponent decided to pull the plug on the final due to an injury (it wasn’t particularly clear what the exact issue was). Cressy won his 4th Challenger title 6-3 2-0 (ret) and got plenty of rhythm after being just 3-18 since the end of February. Both finalists are scheduled to appear in Saint-Tropez next.

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Rinky Hijikata made the fourth round at the US Open, securing his top 100 debut. His return to action came the week after in Cary as the Australian was the top seed and the favorite for the title (maybe along with Alex Michelsen). On the way to the final, the only opponent that made Hijikata work for it was Christian Langmo in the second round. The 22-year-old beat him in three sets and made his second Challenger final of the season (Burnie).

Zachary Svajda also performed extremely well in New York (as usual), qualifying for the main draw and taking a set off Francisco Cerundolo. In the opening round in Cary, he went down a set to the 2023 NCAA champion Ethan Quinn, but managed to turn that match around. Another player with college ties in Toby Samuel pushed him in the quarterfinals, but Svajda had his best performance of the week dispatching the aforementioned Michelsen in the final four.

The final had to be moved indoors due to rain and the organizers didn’t manage to organize the streaming. Svajda took the opening set in a tie-break, before Hijikata fought back to level the match. The deciding set was surprisingly lop-sided and basically over in a flash compared to the other two. Svajda took his 2nd Challenger title 7-6 4-6 6-2. This run helps him break the top 200 for the first time (he’ll debut in that group at World No. 168). The winner plays Columbus this week, while Hijikata will fly over to China to compete in the ATP 250 in Zhuhai.

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Santa Cruz

Around June/July, Mariano Navone went on a 10-match winning streak on the Challenger Tour with titles in Poznan and Santa Fe. The 22-year-old had to wait until Santa Cruz for his next big run. It almost never happened though as Matias Soto had the chance to serve for the match against him in the opening round. Navone would later find a better level, although he also benefitted from the retirements of Thiago Agustin Tirante and Juan Manuel Cerundolo.

Francisco Comesana is on an unbelievable run on the Challenger Tour, making eight consecutive quarterfinals and reaching the final four on seven of these occasions. That includes two titles and one more final (before Santa Cruz). The Argentinian was a strong favorite to win all of his matches on the way to the championship match here with only Andrea Collarini proving to be a worth foe. Comesana was briefly a break down in the decider, but found the way to win.

The final took place in very windy conditions and it was definitely Navone hitting through the court a lot more easily. Despite that, he went down 4-6 3-5 and that’s when it started showing that Comesana didn’t have that finishing blow in this particular match. The older of the Argentinians (just by half a year) had a short-lived comeback attempt of his own, but it was quickly nipped in the bud. Navone claimed his 3rd Challenger title 4-6 7-5 6-1 and is nearing the top 150. Both finalists are supposed to play Antofagasta next week.


Terence Atmane will not regret travelling to China, having clinched his maiden Challenger title in Zhangjiagang and now finding another run in Guangzhou. The Frenchman went three sets with Lorenzo Giustino in the opening round, before scoring a massive win over World No. 53 Christopher O’Connell in the quarterfinals (only his 2nd top 100 victory). Chinese crowd hopeful Bu Yunchaokete also couldn’t stop him in the final four.

Marc Polmans made three Challenger semifinals before Guangzhou this year, not managing to get over that hurdle though. His Chinese swing started with a very disappointing 1-6 3-6 exit to Filip Peliwo in Shanghai. The Australian was in much better shape the week after and managed to make the final without dropping a set. He only needed one tie-break too, coming against the recent Zhuhai champion, Arthur Weber. Polmans secured his first Challenger final since October last year.

The fast hard courts in Guangzhou were more suitable for Atmane on paper, but Polmans managed to make good use of them as well and put a lot of pressure on the Frenchman to go up 6-4 3-1. The second tie-break turned out to be vital though with Atmane saving three match points (one on return), coming up with two passing shots and a +1 FH winner. It didn’t grant him an instant momentum advantage in the decider, but it was Polmans who blinked first 4-5 down. Atmane claimed his 2nd Challenger title 4-6 7-6 6-4 and will break the top 150, earning 159 points in three weeks. He will now debut in the main draw of an ATP Tour event (Zhuhai), while the runner-up plays qualifying for that event (he would have been directly accepted too had he signed up).

Challenger Tour magic:

Events held this week:

  • LAYJET-Open (Bad Waltersdorf, Challenger 125, clay)
  • Saint-Tropez Open (Challenger 125, hard)
  • Challenger DoveMen+Care Antofagasta (Challenger 100, clay)
  • BCR Sibiu Open (Challenger 75, clay)
  • Columbus Challenger (Challenger 75, indoor hard)

Top 100 players in action:

  • Roberto Carballes Baena, Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Jaume Munar, Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Bad Waltersdorf)
  • Ugo Humbert, Sebastian Ofner, Gregoire Barrere, Richard Gasquet, Michael Mmoh, Hugo Gaston, Benjamin Bonzi, David Goffin (Saint-Tropez)
  • Juan Manuel Cerundolo (Antofagasta)

First-round matches to watch:

Bad Waltersdorf

  • (1) Roberto Carballes Baena vs Jozef Kovalik
  • (WC) Fabio Fognini vs (7) Benoit Paire


  • (1/WC) Ugo Humbert vs Liam Broady
  • Maxime Cressy vs (7) David Goffin


  • (1) Juan Manuel Cerundolo vs (ALT) Viktor Durasovic
  • (ALT) Tristan Boyer vs (3) Alejandro Tabilo


  • (1) Zsombor Piros vs Nicolas Sanchez Izquierdo
  • (6) Duje Ajdukovic vs Francesco Maestrelli


  • Guido Andreozzi vs (8) Zachary Svajda
  • (7) Adam Walton vs Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard


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