Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Six Events on Three Surfaces

Sumit Nagal won his first Challenger Tour title in over three years last week.

It was a mammoth week on the Challenger Tour with six events across three surfaces and three continents. Lloyd Harris and Damir Dzumhur continued their excellent seasons with a third title each, while James Kent Trotter was the maiden trophy winner for the week. Chun-Hsin Tseng was trying to go back-to-back in Prostejov, but was stopped at the last hurdle by Jerome Kym. Read back on last week’s action:


Lloyd Harris was in a pretty similar spot, claiming back-to-back Challenger titles in April but having a tougher time on the clay. Grass suits his game just as well as it does Riedi’s though and he was able to show it despite a tricky opener against Marc-Andrea Huesler. The 27-year-old went on to defeat Aleksandar Vukic, Beibit Zhukayev, and then Billy Harris in a funky matchup with both players having the same surname. For the South African, that meant a third final in his last four Challenger appearances.

Leandro Riedi‘s incredible season slowed down a bit during the clay swing (at least at sea-level, altitude he still made the Madrid final), but the Swiss was back to dominant form on the grass in Surbiton. The opening round was a rematch of an all-Swiss 2020 Roland Garros boys’ singles final and this time Riedi came out on top against his compatriot. He later came back from a set down against Sho Shimabukuro and took out Brandon Nakashima in the semifinals.

Riedi was the one putting Harris under pressure in the regular part of the opening set, but the South African kept serving his way out of trouble. A dramatic tie-break ensued with both players having their chances and once again, the crucial points went one way. This pattern pretty much remained for the rest of the match as Riedi was 0/6 on break points and couldn’t save the only one he faced – which was also a match point. Harris claimed his 6th Challenger title 7-6 7-5 with both finalists heading to Nottingham next.


Sumit Nagal took a month off after Monte Carlo and when he came back, couldn’t win a match in Bordeaux, Geneva, and at Roland Garros. It wasn’t going to stay like this forever with the Indian prevailing over Nikoloz Basilashvili in three sets in the Heilbronn opening round. From that point onwards, Nagal only grew stronger. Quality wins over Ivan Gakhov and Luca Van Assche took him to his second Challenger final of the season (Chennai).

Alexander Ritschard won that Sarasota title at the end of April a bit out of the blue, but has been pretty spectacular since. Gabriel Diallo stopped him in a three-setter in the final qualifying round of the French Open with the Swiss making his next appearance in Heilbronn. On the way to the final, he was pretty much destroying his opponents until leading Jan Choinski 6-3 5-1 in the semifinals. One crazy finish later he was actually the one having to fight back from 1-4 in the 3rd set, but managed to pull it off.

At first, all the pace that Ritschard was throwing at Nagal seemed to be making absolutely no impact with the Indian counter-punching well and feeding off it. But things began getting a bit tricky from 6-1 4-2 up and that pressure never really relented until the end of the match. Ritschard kept clutching out games and holds, going against the grain but managing to survive. But Nagal eventually claimed his 6th Challenger title 6-1 6-7 6-3 and made his way to a new career-high No. 77. The champion is signed up for Perugia next, while Ritschard heads to Lyon where he made the final last year.


Chun-Hsin Tseng won the Vicenza title the week before Prostejov, not dropping a set on the way to the trophy.  The Taiwanese kept that form up and didn’t even need a tie-break in four matches to make his way to another final. He took out former champion Vit Kopriva in the second round and dispatched the top-seeded World No. 52 Laslo Djere in the semifinals, posting the biggest win of his career (had previously defeated then World No. 53 Pedro Martinez in Cincinnati in 2022).

Jerome Kym was the World No. 5 in juniors a couple of years ago, but suffered some severe injuries that held back his progress. The Swiss is stepping it up this season and with two ITF titles in 2024 already, it was time for a big Challenger run. He qualified for the main draw in Prostejov and scored the two biggest wins of his career on the way to the final – over World No. 70 Nishioka in the second round and over No. 108 Cachin in the semifinals.

Tseng couldn’t find his way through the court in the opening set with Kym dominating the match completely due to his easy power. These patterns began changing in the second set though as the Taiwanese started playing on his terms. Just like in the semifinal against Cachin, Kym was experiencing a physical dip. But despite dropping his serve in the first game of the decider, he ramped up the pace even more and eventually claimed his 1st Challenger title 6-2 3-6 6-2. The Swiss will debut in the Top 300 and has 0 points to defend after the first week of July. It’s a short turnaround for him now as he intends to play Bratislava qualifying, while the runner-up is in the Perugia main draw.


Damir Dzumhur is enjoying a strong campaign with titles in Barletta and Ostrava since the start of the clay season. His Roland Garros qualifying visit ended with an opening-round loss to Henri Squire, but the 32-year-old was soon back to winning ways in Zagreb. The top seed defeated David Jorda Sanchis from a set down in the opening round and then prevailed over his friend Nerman Fatic in an all-Bosnian classic. The semifinal match against Oriol Roca Batalla was also a good battle with Dzumhur prevailing 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Luka Mikrut has made some big progress recently and arrived in Zagreb just after winning a 15K ITF in Bol (beat Basic, Poljicak, and Gueymard Wayenburg along the way). The Croat had never been past the second round at a Challenger before, but kept pushing through fellow youngsters and made it all the way to the final. Rodrigo Pacheco Mendez pushed him the hardest, while in the semifinals he extended his head-to-head lead over Matej Dodig to 4-0.

Dzumhur lost to Mikrut 0-6 1-6 two months later, but struggled with his fitness in that match. This time he was sharper and yet the young Croatian was still playing very clean technically off the ground and causing him plenty of issues. Until 5-all in the 1st set as eventually having to hit through all the slices and track down dropshots ended up being too intense physically for Mikrut. Dzumhur claimed his 11th Challenger title 7-5 6-0 and finds himself just about 30 points away from a Top 100 return. The champion aims to make a quick switch to grass in Nottingham, while the runner-up grabbed a special exempt for Bratislava.


Despite his amazing Grand Slam results a couple of years ago (including the win over Taylor Fritz at the US Open), Brandon Holt was always struggling to turn that into consistent results on the Challenger circuit. The American is doing it this season though and made another final after finishing runner-up in Indian Wells in January. His opponent there was Mitchell Krueger and that’s exactly who the key win in his Tyler run came against as Holt took revenge from 1-4 down in the 3rd set.

Ohio State alumni James Kent Trotter has been one of the best doubles players on the Challenger Tour this year, winning four titles already including Tyler with Hans Hach Verdugo. In singles, he was yet to make the semifinals in 2024, but on occasion showed his quality by pushing some high seeds. This time he started out by beating Trevor Svajda and impressed with back-to-back wins over young talents Abdullah Shelbayh and Coleman Wong.

Despite competing in his first Challenger singles final (even his first professional singles final of any kind), Trotter delivered an excellent performance. Serving was untouchable and he was quick to move into the forecourt with excellent net presence. His one-handed backhand produced great angles to set up the forehand finishes. Trotter claimed his 1st Challenger title 6-2 7-6 and made it to a career-high ranking inside the Top 300. Both finalists are skipping this week and it’s not clear where they’ll return to the circuit yet.

Santa Fe

Andrea Collarini picked up the title in Tucuman in April, later showing up in Europe for a few events without much impact made (two ITF semifinals). Back in Argentina, he survived a tough opening-round draw against recent Santos champion Alejo Lorenzo Lingua Lavallen and went on to reach another final. Only Matheus Pucinelli de Almeida was able to take set off him as Collarini locked up a matchup with Mena, whom he led 6-1 in their head-to-head dating back to 2013.

Facundo Mena had an extremely tough first half of 2023 (didn’t win a match until May), but later dropped down to the ITF level and started rebuilding his momentum. This season already included another trophy for him at the ITF level and a semifinal in Porto Alegre. In Santa Fe, the run for the 31-year-old was mostly about that opening win against Emilio Gomez where the Ecuadorean served for the match. Mena picked up his game later in the week and made his first Challenger final in 23 months.

Mena has that sneaky good serve and an aggressive clay court game, so it’s no wonder he tried to take it to Collarini early. Especially as handing over the initiative to his opponent would often just end with getting dragged around the court. But the front-foot tennis from Mena came with a high number of errors, which he couldn’t quite cover up with the pressure. Collarini ended up claiming his 4th Challenger title 6-2 6-3 in a relatively straightforward final. Both players are in the draw in Lima next.

Events held this week:

  • Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Perugia (Challenger 125, clay)
  • Rothesay Open (Nottingham, Challenger 125, grass)
  • Bratislava Open (Challenger 100, clay)
  • Open Sotra Steria (Lyon, Challenger 100, clay)
  • Lima Challenger (Challenger 50, clay)

Top 100 players in action:

  • Luciano Darderi, Laslo Djere, Borna Coric, Daniel Altmaier, Fabio Fognini, Sumit Nagal, Francisco Comesana (Perugia)
  • Cameron Norrie, Daniel Evans, Juncheng Shang (Nottingham)
  • Hugo Gaston, Alexandre Muller (Lyon)

First-round matches to watch:


  • (1/WC) Luciano Darderi vs (WC) Federico Cina
  • Giulio Zeppieri vs (3) Borna Coric


  • (6) Damir Dzumhur vs Joao Fonseca
  • Dominic Stricker vs (2) Dan Evans


  • (1) Pedro Cachin vs Jiri Vesely
  • Dalibor Svrcina vs (WC) Martin Klizan


  • Calvin Hemery vs (7) Lucas Pouille
  • (WC) Arthur Gea vs (3) Luca Van Assche


  • (1) Juan Manuel Cerundolo vs Lautaro Midon
  • (5) Gonzalo Bueno vs Joao Lucas Reis da Silva

Main Photo Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


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