Meteoric rankings rise for Spaniard after Challenger win

Andujar claimed his first Challenger win in nearly six years in Alicante (Zimbio.com)

Pablo Andujar is perhaps best known as a one-time Barcelona finalist. The 32 year-old Spaniard reached the 500 final in the high profile event back in 2015 when he lost to Kei Nishikori.

Since then life has been tough for the veteran. He has been forced to endure three surgeries on his elbow. The injury almost completely wiped out his 2017 season as he played just two Futures events.

A welcome sight then it is to see the Spaniard back in the winners circle. It may be at a Challenger tournament, but Andujar beat many established clay court experts to claim the win in Alicante.

Grinding out tough three set wins over the likes of Jaume Munar, Guido Andreozzi, and the in-form Marco Cecchinato set up an intriguing final with the young star of the season so far in Australia’s Alex De Minaur.

Andujar won in straight sets to capture his first Challenger title since defeating Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Orbetello nearly six years ago.

The win for Andujar sees him become the biggest rankings mover of the week. He moves up from No.598 to N0.355 this week.

Andujar is using a protected ranking to gain entry into the Grand Prix Hassan event this week in Marrakesh, where he starts against Ilya Ivashka a qualifier.

For De Minaur the loss is his third in a Challenger final and the young Aussie is yet to win a title at that level from three finals. He moves up nine places to No.114. He won’t however break the Top 100 this week after he was beaten in Marrakesh Qualifying by Alexey Vatutin.

In Panama City Carlos Berlocq re-established his reputation as one of the most fearsome competitors in clay Challengers. The Argentine thrashed Blaz Rola 6-2, 6-0 to secure his 19th Challenger title from 30 finals (all of them on clay).

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