Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Riedi’s Indoor Excellence Continues

Borna Coric Western & Southern Open

Leandro Riedi is now 12-0 indoors this year with two titles already. Other winners on the Challenger Tour included veterans like Gianluca Mager and Pierre-Hugues Herbert returning to form, or a maiden trophy for Jamaica’s Blaise Bicknell. Read back on last week’s action:


Leandro Riedi is having an incredible start to his season after only claiming one win in his last ten matches of 2023. Having won Oeiras at the beginning of the year, the Swiss retired the week after in Tenerife round one but was quickly back on his feet in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve. He had to start this week from the qualifying, losing a set to Henri Squire and then Benoit Paire in the main draw. His last two performances before the final were pretty special, though, with wins over Marc-Andrea Huesler and Brandon Nakashima.

Borna Coric was the first top 50 player to take a Challenger wildcard this year, looking for some momentum for the indoor season after ending 2023 injured. It was a patchy start, with sets dropped to Felipe Meligeni Alves and Kamil Majchrzak, especially against the latter, getting dominated for a large chunk of the match. Coric stuck to his guns, though, and eventually made the final in his first Challenger Tour appearance in about 1,5 years.

As usual, Riedi made sure that the game would be played on his own terms. He was pressuring the Coric second serve, which eventually led to the Croat’s patchy game at 5-6 in the 1st set and a double fault set point down. The Swiss kept coming at the top seed and eventually took his 4th Challenger title 7-5 6-2, also scoring the 1st Top 50 win of his career in the process. He’ll feature in Switzerland’s Davis Cup tie against the Netherlands now, while the runner-up plays the ATP 250 in Montpellier.


2014 champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert hadn’t made a Challenger final in over five years before getting to that stage again in Quimper last week. The former World No. 36 was progressing through the draw with almost identical results in every match – first set tie-break and then the second set won before it got to that special 13th game. Herbert had lost his last four Challenger semifinals in a row before getting over the line against Matteo Martineau here.

Duje Ajdukovic surprised everyone by taking the title at Kobe last year, given his records indoors generally weren’t too strong. It was a pretty quick switch-up from the outdoor hard courts in Thailand the week before, but the 22-year-old once again showed he actually can adapt right away. On the way to the final he only dropped one set to Maxime Cressy, breaking the American in the last game to prevail 7-5 in the 3rd, before beating Harold Mayot in straights despite going down 0-5 in the opening set tie-break.

He was yet to drop a set all week, but it was actually the final that was a proper Herbert clinic. He was hitting his spots on serve, finding precise angles off the baseline and even succeeded in making Ajdukovic play one more ball. A vintage display that earned him his 5th Challenger title (1st since 2016) 6-3 6-2. He returns to the top 200 and will likely play in Marseille (ATP 250) after a week of rest. The runner-up will have a similar schedule, but plans to try his luck at the event of the same category in Dallas instead.

Embed from Getty Images

Punta del Este

Thiago Agustin Tirante had only played one match in 2024 before this week, losing to Kimmer Coppejans in Australian Open qualifying. The Argentinian has been gathering most of his points at altitude over the year and a run like this in slower clay conditions is actually something new to him. But this time the 22-year-old defeated Gustavo Heide from a set down and received a walkover from Roman Andres Burruchaga in the final four, really upping his chances for a top 100 debut in the near future.

Gianluca Mager finished his 2023 season injured in August and returned to the courts in the South American swing. He was in very decent form right away, making the quarterfinals in Buenos Aires and losing to Joao Fonseca. It took him until this week to properly explode though and after qualifying for the main draw and posting a gutsy 3-6 7-5 7-6 win over Ivan Gakhov in the opening round (from 1-4 in the 3rd), he posted big wins over such established clay-courters as Francisco Comesana, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, and Marco Cecchinato.

Both players enjoy a similar dynamic and even though they love the clay, they basically try to play serve +1 forehand tennis on it. The flatter strokes of Mager were consistently putting Tirante on the back foot, even if he lost the opening set. Any backhand patterns were always going to be good for the Italian though. Mager clinched his 6th Challenger title 6-7 6-2 6-2. He’s supposed to play Piracicaba next, while the runner-up will get some rest before the ATP 250 in Cordoba.

Indian Wells

Zachary Svajda took a wildcard to the Challenger 50 in Indian Wells and had plenty of pressure on himself as the top seed significantly outranked the rest of the field. In fact, the only other top 200 player in the draw was Federico Gaio, who lost in the opening round. Svajda did drop a set to former top 10 junior Bor Artnak in the quarterfinals but never looked close to going out as he beat the Slovenian 6-0 in the 3rd. Everyone expected him to make it to Sunday, and he delivered.

Blaise Bicknell was the last player forced to tackle Svajda last week after the 22-year-old Jamaican made his second Challenger Tour final (Lima last year). Again in the Challenger 50 category, he once again showed he’s currently at that breaking point between fully establishing himself on this circuit. Bicknell was beaten by eventual runner-up Brandon Holt in round one the first Indian Wells event, this time taking out the American in the quarterfinals (via retirement) and making the final without dropping a set.

But just like Mariano Navone with a similar wildcard last week, the overwhelming favorite actually didn’t manage to win the title. Svajda was lacking any focus entirely with sloppy footwork and his forehand being even pushier than usual (while still making errors). Bicknell also crushed his opponent’s serve to claim his maiden Challenger Tour title 6-3 6-2, becoming the first Jamaican champion since Dustin Brown in 2010 (who later won more trophies but for Germany). Bicknell will now represent his country in a Davis Cup tie with Barbados, while Svajda plays Cleveland this week.

Embed from Getty Images

Events held this week:

  • Koblenz Open powered by Outlet Montabaur (Challenger 100, indoor hard)
  • Cleveland Open (Challenger 75, indoor hard)
  • Brasil Tennis Challenger (Piracicaba, Challenger 75, clay)
  • HCi Burnie International (Challenger 75, hard)

Top 100 players in action:

  • James Duckworth (Cleveland)
  • Federico Coria (Piracicaba)
  • Rinky Hijikata (Burnie)

First-round matches to watch:


  • Alexander Blockx vs Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard
  • (ALT) Oscar Otte vs (4) Lloyd Harris


  • (ALT) Noah Rubin vs Learner Tien
  • James Kent Trotter vs (2) Zachary Svajda


  • (1) Federico Coria vs Renzo Olivo
  • Carlos Taberner vs (2) Camilo Ugo Carabelli

Renzo Olivo beat Federico Coria in the first round at Punta del Este last week.


  • (4) Tristan Schoolkate vs Luke Saville
  • Blake Ellis vs (8) Philip Sekulic

Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane – USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message