ATP Top 40 star wins Challenger title in Uruguay, back in form - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

ATP Top 40 star wins Challenger title in Uruguay, back in form



Cuevas sought the comforts of his favoured clay surface to engineer a return to form on the Challenger Tour (

A Top 40 player in the ATP rankings is a big draw. That draw is even larger when it is a player taking part in a home event. World No. 38 Pablo Cuevas is Uruguayan, but it was a late decision to take part.


Cuevas needed a late wildcard to gain entry to the draw but the home tournament proved more than happy to accommodate him.

Uruguay does not have its own ATP World Tour event. High-profile matches in the South American country are limited to home Davis Cup ties and this Challenger events. Often overshadowed in tennis circles by its neighbour Argentina, Uruguay took centre stage this week.

Uruguay’s current highest ranked player, Cuevas has struggled on the tour of late. A solid Round of 16 display at the paris Masters was preceded by a horrid run of form. Cuevas had gone without a win since Roland Garros, a run of nine straight matches. He turned it around somewhat by taking World No.1 Rafael Nadal to a close deciding set in Paris after wins over Karen Khachanov and Albert Ramos Vinolas.

Yet Cuevas’ signs of poor form and confidence almost threatened to derail his winning run in his country’s capital. He started the tournament by dropping the opening set of his match with qualifier Juan Pablo Ficovich, ranked No.367. Cuevas recovered to win the match in three, dropping just one more set en route to the title.

That run saw him take out Jose Hernandez-Fernandez, Facundo Bagnis, and Nicolas Kicker. He faced Portugal’s Gastao Elias in the final, and ran out a 6-3, 6-4 winner to the delight of the home crowd.

The title win will not mean a great deal for Cuevas in terms of ranking points. However, winning a title at Challenger level is worth a great deal. Cuevas becomes the second highest-ranked player to win a Challenger this season.

He joins Richard Gasquet as high profile winners of tournaments at Challenger level this season. Gasquet used his win at the Szczecin tournament to propel him to a solid finish to the season after a first half beset by injury, illness, and poor form. After winning Szczecin Gasquet reached the quarter-finals in three of his last four tournaments, proving the confidence that can be gained from a strong run.

The season may too close to the end for Cuevas to make the most of the recent spell, but it may at least give him a positive mindset going into the off-season, and give the Uruguayan icon a chance to prepare well for 2018.

ATP Challenger

Dominic Thiem To Return At Marbella Challenger, Joins Wawrinka In Stacked Field

Dominic Thiem will be joining Stan Wawrinka in making his return to action at the Marbella challenger next week.



Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem (@SK_Tennis - Twitter)

Dominic Thiem will finally make his return to the ATP tour at the Marbella challenger next week.


The Austrian hasn’t played a tennis match since retiring at the grass court event in Mallorca last June due to a wrist injury.

Despite being scheduled to play at the Australian Open and at the Indian Wells-Miami swing, Thiem had to postpone his return as he wasn’t quite ready to compete in matches.

However now Thiem has decided to return as he will begin his clay court swing next week at the Marbella Challenger.

The former Roland Garros finalist took to Instagram to announce the news as he looks to climb back up the rankings.

The world number 50 will face tough competition with former Roland Garros champion Stan Wawrinka also making his comeback at the event in Spain next week.

At the blockbuster event there will also be the likes of Holger Rune, Pablo Cuevas, Jaume Munar and Lucas Pouille competing.

The winner of the event will receive 125 ranking points but much more importantly for Thiem and Wawrinka much needed match practice ahead of a busy European clay-court swing.

Thiem will be the top seed while Wawrinka will be unseeded with their being a possibility of the two heavyweights meeting in the opening round.

Play will start on Monday with Jaume Munar being the defending champion.

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ATP Challenger

Roberto Bautista Agut reaches his second career final in Doha



Roberto Bautista Agut reached the second final of his career at the Qatar Exxon Mobil with a 6-3 6-3 win over defending champion Andrey Rublev. 


Bautista Agut broke serve in the fourth game with a forehand winner to open up a 3-1 lead and held on his next service games to close out the first set 6-3 after 29 minutes. 

The Spaniard started the second set with an early break. Rublev broke straight back in the second game and won his next two service games to take a 3-2 lead. Bautista Agut saved two break points to hold serve before getting two consecutive breaks to claim the second set 6-3. 

Rublev was playing his first match this week after two walkovers. The Russian player claimed the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam last week. 

“It was very difficult to play tennis today, with the windy conditions, but I put a lot of pressure on his second serve and played really good tennis. I played a long match yesterday against Dominic Thiem, but I felt fresh and I had a lot of power on the court. This is one of my favourite tournaments. I played one of my best matches here in Qatar two years ago, and I hope I can win one more match tomorrow”, said Bautista Agut.

Bautista Agut set up a final against Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. 

Basilashvili, who beat Roger Federer in the quarter final, rallied from one break down to win the tie-break of the first set 7-3. The Georgian player broke twice in the second and sixth games to close out the second set 6-1.  “To reach the final means a lot. I am playing well and I am relaxed. It’s great to play in front of a crowd and a nice atmosphere”, said Basilshvili. 

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ATP Challenger

Andy Murray defeated in the final of the Biella Challenger

The former world number was runner-up to the Ukrainian Ilya Marchenko. Both will feature in next week’s event in the same location




Andy Murray - ATP Challenger Biella 2021 (Credit: Felice Calabrò)

Andy Murray suffered a surprising defeat in the final of this week’s tournament in Biella. Playing his second Challenger event in 16 years (the other one occurred in Mallorca in 2019 when, limping on a battered hip, he lost against Matteo Viola in the eighth of finals). Before today’s runner-up finish, he had played twice against his opponent, Illya Marchenko from Ukraine (N.212 in the ATP Rankings), both times at the Australian Open, in 2011 and 2017 respectively, winning both times.


But it was the Ukrainian who got off to a flying start, while the Scotsman looked a bit cumbersome and immediately lost his serve, giving a nice boost of confidence to his opponent, who broke his serve once more in the fifth game, taking a 4-1 lead. Murray couldn’t control his changes of pace, while Marchenko was pretty much spotless. The 6-2 score in his favour was the logical consequence, as confirmed by the numbers, which saw him win 83% of points on his first serve (against a meagre 53% for Murray), with no break points allowed.

In the first game of the second set, Marchenko immediately leapt ahead, breaking the Brit’s serve and even earning a chance for a 3-0 lead. Murray managed to stay close and started to play in a more conservative way, with great humility, in an attempt to reduce the number of unforced errors. Murray saved a match point at 3-5 with his second serve, exploiting Marchenko’s clumsiness with the backhand, but couldn’t do the same on the return, conceding defeat at the third match point. must defend with the second. Luckily for him, Marchenko is a bit clumsy in his preparation steps and puts up a not particularly difficult backhand. The former world number one will try to exact revenge in the same location starting tomorrow, as a Challenger 125 will take place once more in Biella, with players like Lorenzo Musetti (the seventh seed), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ATP N.54) and Sebastian Korda (N.88).

Report by Massimo Gaiba; edited by Tommaso Villa

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