Old Guard Reigns As Youzhny, Lorenzi Prevail
A LOOK BACK
Bangkok II Challenger (Bangkok, Thailand): Mikhail Youzhny returned to the ATP Challenger Tour in search of confidence and match play for the 2016 season, his 18th as a pro. Mission accomplished. The 33-year-old Russian claimed his second consecutive Bangkok title, defeating Adam Pavlasek 6-4, 6-1 and returning to the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings at World No. 84. Youzhny did not drop a set all week, winning his fourth Challenger title overall and moving to 10-0 in 2016. The former World No. 8 waited a record 15 years, five months between his first and second titles in Samarkand 2000 and Eckental 2015, and has now lifted three trophies in three months.
In the doubles draw, former World No. 1 Mahesh Bhupathi won his first ATP Challenger Tour match in 15 years, teaming with Purav Raja to reach the semi-finals.
Canberra ATP Challenger (Canberra, Australia): The old guard reigned last week, with 34-year-old Paolo Lorenzi also leaving with a title. The top-seeded Italian notched his 17th on the ATP Challenger Tour, pulling into a tie for third with Go Soeda on the all-time list. Lorenzi streaked past World No. 90 Ivan Dodig 6-2, 6-4 in 79 minutes, converting five of 11 break points. He has not dropped a set in three encounters with Dodig, with their most recent meeting having come at the ATP World Tour 250 event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It was a strong week as a whole for Lorenzi, who beat a trio of fellow Top 100 players, also including Marcel Granollers and Evgeny Donskoy.
All-Time Title Leaders
Racket Club Open (Buenos Aires, Argentina): Home favourite Facundo Bagnis delivered in Buenos Aires, defeating first-time finalist Arthur De Greef 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday. It has been an impressive start to the season for the Argentine, who was a semi-finalist in Mendoza the week prior. Bagnis improved to 6-6 in ATP Challenger Tour finals, claiming his first title since March 2015 (Santiago, Chile). Rising to No. 110 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, the 25 year old is closing in on a return to the Top 100. He assumed a career-high spot of World No. 90 after reaching the final in Sarasota last April. De Greef, meanwhile, reached his first final in his first week under the tutelage of former World No. 24 Olivier Rochus.
What The Players Said
Bagnis: "I am very happy with my start of the year. I was dissapointed after losing the semi-final last week in Mendoza, but I could win here in Buenos Aires and at the end of the day it's been a great fortnight. It gives me confidence to face the following weeks, but I know that I need to be more consistent the whole season. I broke into the Top 100 last year and now I know what you need to be there. My goal for this year is to be more consistent, earn a place among the Top 100 and remain in that group as long as I can."
The ATP Challenger Tour returns to the Philippines for the first time since 1994. The nation hosts a $75,000 event in Manila this week, with Italy’s Luca Vanni the top seed. Youzhny eyes a third successive crown, seeded second. In addition, a prelude to the Summer Olympics, the Vivo Tennis Cup is held in Rio de Janeiro. Bagnis seeks a second straight title, with countryman Horacio Zeballos the top seed.
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