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Denis Kudla earned a berth in the Wimbledon main draw after claiming the Ilkley title.

Kudla Claims Wimbledon Wild Card With Ilkley Challenger Title

Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to who’s in action in the week to come.
Aegon Ilkley Trophy (Ilkley, England): It’s not often on the ATP Challenger Tour that a player has the opportunity to immediately exact revenge on an opponent the following week, especially in consecutive finals. But that’s the situation Denis Kudla found himself in as he entered Saturday’s Ilkley title match, looking to repay Matthew Ebden after the Australian defeated the American on the grass of Surbiton the week before. Ebden had saved two match points in claiming the title and was riding a nine-match win streak when he clashed with Kudla once again.

This time, the 22 year old would have the answer, earning a 6-3, 6-4 victory to clinch his fifth Challenger crown. Up to No. 105, Kudla moves one step closer to returning to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings after mononucleosis forced him to the sidelines for the latter part of the 2014 season. He receives a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw with the title.

Kudla is also eyeing the $50,000 prize in Tecnifibre’s Young Guns On The Road contest. The American is competing against fellow Tecnifibre clients Filip Peliwo, Jules Marie and Hiroki Moriya, with two criteria determining the champion: on-court performance and social network activity. A jury of three experts will select the winner at the end of the 2015 season. Learn more here

Fergana Challenger (Fergana, Uzbekistan): Teymuraz Gabashvili was born in Georgia and lives in Russia. But there’s a strong chance he adopts Uzbekistan as his new home. Gabashvili improved to a perfect 15-0 on Uzbek soil this year, completing a three-tournament sweep in Karshi, Samarkand and Fergana. The 30 year old defeated second seed Alexander Kudryavtsev when his countryman retired with a right hip injury, trailing 6-2, 1-0. It was Gabashvili’s 10th ATP Challenger Tour crown overall. He joins Hyeon Chung as the only players with three titles in 2015. For Kudryavtsev, the loss marked a second straight runner-up finish in Fergana after falling to Blaz Kavcic last year.

Blu-Express.com Tennis Cup (Perugia, Italy): As impressive as Gabashvili’s perfect mark in Uzbekistan is, Pablo Carreno Busta’s own undefeated record might have it topped. The Spaniard improved to a ruthless 10-0 in finals on the ATP Challenger Tour with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Matteo Viola in Perugia. Carreno Busta converted on four of nine break points to secure the victory in exactly one hour. He has won 39 of his last 43 matches on the circuit since 2013.

Carreno Busta In ATP Challenger Tour Finals (10-0)

Perugia, Italy
Win (d. Viola)
 Sevilla, Spain
Win (d. Daniel)
 Mohammedia, Morocco
Win (d. Munoz-de la Nava)
 Caltanissetta, Italy
Win (d. Bagnis)
 Como, Italy
Win (d. Thiem)
2013  Cordenons, Italy
 Win (d. Burquier)
2013  Segovia, Spain
 Win (d. Olivetti)
2013  Tanger, Morocco
 Win (d. Kukushkin)
2011  Como, Italy
 Win (d. Beck)
2011  Alessandria, Italy
 Win (d. Bautista Agut)

Poprad-Tatry Challenger Tour (Poprad, Slovakia): The ATP Challenger Tour event in Kosice, Slovakia, relocated 118 km west to Poprad this year, and Adam Pavlasek became its first champion. The 20-year-old Czech claimed his maiden Challenger title, having finished runner-up on two previous occasions in 2015. The 12th first-time titlist this year, World No. 212 Pavlasek needed two hours and 12 minutes to dispatch Chile’s Hans Podlipnik-Castillo 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. It was Podlipnik-Castillo’s first final on the circuit.

Internationaux de Tennis de Blois (Blois, France): Daniel Munoz-de la Nava came within one set of cracking the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time at the age of 33, but the Spaniard was unable to stop home hope Mathias Bourgue in Sunday’s Blois final. Needing to win the title to break into the Top 100, Munoz-de la Nava would succumb to his French opponent 2-6, 6-4, 6-2. Bourgue had remarkably never reached a quarter-final on the Challenger circuit entering the week and would become the 13th first-time titlist this year.

What the Players are Saying
Kudla: “I put last week’s loss behind me and just approached today as a whole new match and controlled what I could control. I let the rest take care of itself. I feel great to be close to the Top 100 and I'm playing well. I hope to continue this form for the rest of year if I can stay healthy!”

Gabashvili:"I feel great. I won one more Challenger title and now I'm really close to the Top 50. It's a great position for me to start the second part of the year. I feel really healthy now and willing to improve my results in Wimbledon. I hope the Fergana title will help me with my confidence. I will play without big pressure in London."

The lone ATP Challenger Tour event this week is in the fashion capital of Milan, where 2013 champion Filippo Volandri will look to become the fourth player to reach the 300 match wins threshold. Yen-Hsun Lu and Paolo Lorenzi have already joined Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo in the exclusive club this year and Volandri is one match win from securing his place among the Challenger immortals. Seeded eighth, he opens against Spain’s Oriol Roca Batalla. The top seed at the Aspria Tennis Cup is Benoit Paire, with Federico Delbonis seeded second. Milan draw