Challenger Tour Weekly Recap: Guillen Meza Demolishing Altitude Experts

Wimbledon qualifying took a lot of the attention of Challenger fans this week, but two exciting events were also held in Milan and Ibague. Federico Agustin Gomez secured his maiden title, while Alvaro Guillen Meza managed to add to his 2023 Lima trophy. Read back on last week’s action:


Federico Agustin Gomez has been very successful at qualifying for Challengers this year and that’s how he started his run in Milan as well. The Argentinian made his fourth quarterfinal of the season and broke into the final four stage for the first time by beating Nikolas Sanchez Izquierdo and Vilius Gaubas on one day (Thursday). In the semifinals, he came back from a set down to beat Samuel Vincent Ruggeri but never really let him get close to the win.

Filip Cristian Jianu made his maiden Challenger final in Oeiras last January (lost to Joris De Loore), but struggled to make the step up to this level full-time. A nice start to the season with 4 ITF titles in the first three months opened up some doors for him again though and just like Gomez, he turned his fourth Challenger quarterfinal of 2024 into a final. He outlasted Elmer Moller at the last eight stage before surviving a thriller final set 7-5 with Enrico Dalla Valle.

For a first Challenger final, Gomez delivered a stellar performance. He was tough to touch on serve and kept finding it easy to dictate play with his forehand inside the court. Jianu was always playing catch-up and couldn’t really force the Argentinian into any uncomfortable positions. Gomez took his 1st Challenger 6-3 6-4 and is getting closer and closer to fighting for a US Open qualifying spot. His next event will be Modena, while Jianu is playing in his home country in Brasov.


Alvaro Guillen Meza was the runner-up to Juan Manuel Cerundolo in Santa Cruz the week before Ibague and ended up getting to another final despite much faster conditions in Colombia (about 1200 metres above sea level). The Ecuadorian was in total control in all his matches from the get-go and avoided potential fatigue concerns, dropping just 13 games on the final. The most impressive victory had him taking out second seed and altitude expert, Nicolas Mejia.

Facundo Mena is on a really good streak in the last few events with a final in Santa Fe, quarterfinal in Lima, semifinal in Santa Cruz, and now another deep run. The Argentinian is an altitude expert with two of his three Challenger titles coming at over 1000 metres above sea level. It was only this year’s San Luis Potosi runner-up Matias Soto that took a set off him on the way to another final as Mena once again proved his specialization in altitude conditions.

After facing Mejia, Guillen Meza had to take on another altitude conditions legend. Mena’s serve wasn’t making much impact on Saturday in Ibague though and without it the Argentinian’s game felt pretty empty. He recovered from a bagel opening set to give a better fight in the second, but wasn’t able to compete in the long run as Guillen Meza secured his 2nd Challenger title 6-0 6-4. He’s in the running for a US Open qualifying spot now and wants to make a quick trip to Europe to play in Troyes. Mena decided to withdraw from that event.


Events held this week:

  • Cranbrook Tennis Classic (Bloomfield Hills, Challenger 75, hard)
  • Ion Tiriac Challenger (Brasov, Challenger 75, clay)
  • Modena Challenger (Challenger 75, clay)
  • Tennis Open Karlsruhe (Challenger 75, clay)
  • Internationaux de Tennis de Troyes (Challenger 50, clay)

Camilo Ugo Carabelli will be the only Top 100 player in action (Karlsruhe).

First-round matches to watch:

Bloomfield Hills

  • (1) J. J. Wolf vs (WC) Andres Martin
  • James Kent Trotter vs (WC) Learner Tien


  • (1) Roman Andres Burruchaga vs Dalibor Svrcina
  • (WC) Cezar Cretu vs Luka Mikrut


  • Federico Agustin Gomez vs (6) Benoit Paire
  • (7) Juan Pablo Varillas vs Dino Prizmic


  • (8) Joris De Loore vs Rudolf Molleker
  • (PR) Evan Furness vs (WC) Diego Dedura-Palomero


  • Jonas Forejtek vs (6) Tristan Lamasine
  • Gabriel Debru vs (2) Calvin Hemery


Main Photo Credit: IMAGO Images PHOTOPQR/NICE MATIN/Cyril Dodergny


More Posts

Send Us A Message