Ugo Humbert and Dominik Koepfer converted their hot runs on the ATP Challenger Tour into lifting trophies at this week’s Challenger 175 events in Bordeaux and Turin.
The Frenchman Humbert dropped just one set all week en route to capturing his second consecutive Challenger 175 title in southern France. The 24-year-old defeated Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry 7-6(3), 6-4 in Saturday’s final at the BNP Paribas Primrose.
In front of a packed stadium, Humbert played with aggression from the baseline, using his forehand to dictate play, while also incorporating deft drop shots for variety. The lefty was dangerous on serve all week in Bordeaux, including Saturday, when he dropped just five points off his first delivery.
When Humbert has competed at Challenger Tour events this year, he’s been a dominant force, tallying a 14-2 Challenger-match record. Earlier this month, the Metz native triumphed at the Cagliari Challenger 175 event, where he fended off two match points in his quarter-final against Taro Daniel to stay alive.
Ugo Humbert in action Saturday at the Bordeaux Challenger. Credit: Jared Wickerham
Following his title on home soil, Humbert returned to the Top 40 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings for the first time since 31 January, 2022.
Etcheverry, seeded seventh, has played his best tennis this season, including a finalist finish at the ATP 250 events in Santiago and Houston. A three-time Challenger champion, the World No. 46 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings is set to surpass his career high (No. 59) on Monday.
The 23-year-old Etcheverry earned the highest-ranked win of his career in the semi-finals, when he upset top seed and World No. 28 Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 6-2.
In Bordeaux doubles action, top seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara cruised to the title, downing Frenchmen Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul 6-4, 6-2 in just one hour, two minutes.
Harri Heliovaara (left) and Lloyd Glasspool triumph at the BNP Paribas Primrose. Credit: Jared Wickerham
At the Challenger 175 event in Turin, rain forced the tournament to be moved from clay to an indoor hard court for the semi-finals and final. The German Koepfer prevailed, completing double duty Saturday en route to lifting his biggest career title.
The 29-year-old upset second seed Daniel Elahi Galan 6-4, 6-2 in the last four before ousting qualifier Federico Gaio 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0 to win the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo.
“It wasn’t easy to go from outdoor clay to fast indoor courts in just a few hours, but I’m proud of how I was able to adapt,” Koepfer said. “It was an incredible week, which gave me the most important title of my career.
“Thanks to the 175 points earned, I should be able to enter the Wimbledon main draw. That was my goal and I hope to continue on this path.”
Dominik Koepfer during Saturday’s Turin Challenger final. Credit: Francesco Panunzio
The lefty Koepfer produced a heavy-hitting performance to rally to his fourth Challenger crown and second of this season (Mexico City). The World No. 102 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings has competed in four Challenger finals this year and boasts a 20-7 Challenger-match record in 2023.
A former Tulane University standout, Koepfer played his first-round match in Turin approximately 48 hours after competing in last week’s Prague Challenger final.
Gaio, 31, was playing in his first Challenger final since July 2021. The home hope upset top seed and World No. 40 Sebastian Baez 7-5, 6-3 in the semi-finals.
Andrey Golubev and Denys Molchanov claimed the doubles title in Turin, where they defeated Nathaniel Lammons and John Peers 7-6(4), 6-7(6), 10-5 in Saturday’s championship match.
The 2023 Turin Doubles Champs 🏆
Denys Molchanov and Andrey Golubev fend off Lammons/Peers to notch their first title as a team!#ATPChallenger pic.twitter.com/yt4Xne3JJx
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 20, 2023
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