Andrej Martin takes first Challenger title in nearly two years with San Luis Title, Aljaz Bedene wins in Barletta
Andrej Martin ensured that lightning could not strike twice in three weeks as he denied Adrian Menendez Maceiras another Challenger title by defeating the Spaniard 7-5, 6-4 in Mexico. Menendez Maceiras had gone almost a decade between winning his first Challenger title in Pozoblanco and his second in Leon just two weeks ago.
Martin dominated the first set, but a game Menendez Macieras kept in touch until he was finally broken late in the set. Martin finally converted on his fifth break point for the lead.
Martin did drop serve in the second set, but stayed strong from there on in. The Slovak continued to have success against Menendez Macieras’ second serve and was rewarded with two breaks and the title.
It is Martin’s seventh Challenger title, and his first since August 2015.
Britain’s Aljaz Bedene continued his recent good form in Barletta. After briefly dropping out of the Top 100 after a poor start to the season, Bedene sealed his second Challenger title in consecutive weeks. Bedene took down top seed Gastao Elias 7-6, 6-3 for the title, and also dispatched Lukas Rosol and Marco Cecchinato. Bedene projects to move to around No.64 in the world when the rankings are changed to reflect his title run. Bedene is in hot form on the Challenger circuit this year and he adds Barletta to the titles he won in Irving (def. Kukushkin) and Verrazzano (def. Paire.)
Week’s talking points: Miomir Kecmanovic took strides to improve his rapidly growing reputation with a semi-final run that included wins over third seed Stefan Kozlov and seventh seed Marcelo Arevalo. His run was ended by a straight sets loss to Menendez Maceiras. The Serbian projects to move inside the Top 500 for the first time when next week’s rankings come out.
Second seed Gerald Melzer’s poor form across 2017 continued, as he only managed a quarter-final run. The Austrian won four Challenger titles last year, and reached two other finals last year. He would have hoped for a better run this week to take the pressure off of next week’s event in Sarasota, one of the two tournaments where he is defending runner-up points. Melzer’s ranking has dropped this season, and without a good run will struggle to make the main draw of Roland Garros directly.