Meteoric rankings rise for Spaniard after Challenger win - UBITENNIS
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ATP Challenger

Meteoric rankings rise for Spaniard after Challenger win

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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).

ATP Challenger

Maria Sakkari eases past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in Seoul

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Third seed Maria Sakkari eased past Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-0 6-1 in just 62 minutes in the opening round of the KEB Hana Bank Korea Bank in Seoul.

Sakkari scored her third win in her previous two head-to head matches in 2016 (6-2 6-3 in Istanbul and 2-6 6-3 6-4 in Tashkent).

Sakkari converted all her seven break points and won 67% of her second serve points. The young Greek player won 16 of the final 19 points. Schmiedlova made 19 unforced errors and made her sixth double fault on the match point.

The young Greek player earned an early break in the opening game before holding serve from 0-40 down. Schmiedlova won just one game point in the next five games.

Schmiedlova hit a forehand down the line (her first winner of the match), when she faced her first set point.

Sakkari scored the third bagel of her career after beating Anett Kontaveit 6-0 6-4 in the first round of the 2017 Australian Open and easing past Timea Babos 6-0 6-1 in the second round in San José this July.

“My whole game was in full flow from the off. I was very solid and very aggressive when I had to be. The best aspect of my performance was my baseline. It is my big weapon and it worked well well”, said Sakkari to the wta website.

Sakkari set up a second round match against either Margarita Gasparyan or Varvara Flink.

Tamara Zidansek from Slovenia faced just a single break point in her 6-1 6-3 win over Polona Hercog to score her 52nd win of the season. She has improved her ranking by over 120 places since February.

Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele rallied from 1-4 down to edge past Ji-Hee Choi 6-3 2-6 6-4 setting up a second round match against Jill Teichmann.

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ATP Challenger

ATP To Increase Main Draw Size In Challenger Tournaments As Part Of Shake-Up

Changes are coming to the men’s tour next year.

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The ATP has confirmed a series of new measures will be implemented on the Challenger tour from 2019 in a bid to enhance the ‘player pathway.’

After an extensive review carried out by the governing body of men’s tennis, the draw size of tournaments on the Challenger tour will be increased from 32 to 48. The increase is set to result in a rise of roughly 2400 professional job opportunities. All tournaments will also be required to provide hotel accommodation for all of the players involved in the main draws. An initiative that the ATP estimates will result in an additional 20,000 rooms being provided to players throughout the season.

The reason for the increase in the tournament size is so that more players will be eligible to receive prize money. Next year the highest-level tournament will have a prize pool of US$162,480. In the past men’s tennis has been criticised for the disparity in tournament earnings between players. In the year-to-date prize money rankings, Rafael Nadal leads with earnings of $6,717,922. This is almost 20 times more than the 100th highest ranked player (Ernests Gulbis has earned $351,895 so far in 2018).

“These are significant changes that will lead to a real enhancement of the ATP Challenger Tour, particularly as we seek to provide more earning opportunities for players at the entry level into men’s professional tennis.” ATP President Chris Kermode said in a statement.
“A big priority for us is to ensure we have a healthy player pathway and that we improve the viability of a career in men’s professional tennis. These changes represent an important step in the right direction for our sport.”

Similar to the world tour, tournaments will be split into five categories (ATP Challenger 70, 80, 95, 110 and 125). Each category represents how many ranking points will be up for grabs. For example an ATP Challenger 70 event means that there will be a maximum of 70 ranking points available to the winner.

Fans will also see a rise in online streaming of the tournaments. The ATP has said that they ‘intend’ to show all main draw matches on the Challenger Tour. Doubling the current number of matches that are currently broadcast online. Streaming platform Livestream.com broadcasts all events around the world.

The changes come ahead of 2020 when ranking points will no longer be awarded at any event that is ranked lower than a Challenger. The ITF will introduce a transition tour that seeks to create an easier pathway between junior and professional competitions. Their goal is to reduce the number of professionally ranked players from roughly 3000 to 750.

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ATP Challenger

‘Regretful’ Evans Makes Successful Comeback In Glasgow

Dan Evans made his return from a drugs ban in Glasgow today.

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Dan Evans (zimbio.com)

Britain’s Dan Evans has made a successful comeback to tennis after he beat fellow Brit Edward Corrie 6-3 7-6(6) in the first qualifying round of the Glasgow challenger.

The 27 year old was suspended for 12 months after taking cocaine at the ATP event in Barcelona last year, which he has many regrets about. However the Brit looked to put his previous troubles behind him as he took on fellow Brit, Edward Corrie in Glasgow today.

It took a while for Evans to get going but the Brit broke twice in the first set as he won the opening set 6-3. He continued his momentum in the second set and after a tight tiebreak, the Birmingham resident sealed victory after 1 hour and 37 minutes.

The win must be a relief for Evans, who said that the incident had left him in ruins, “It’s a shocking drug, and it’s not just in sport – it’s terrible in life. It’s a life-ruiner,” said Evans before his match with Corrie. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. It’s a shocking thing to do, it’s let down many people. Not just that, it’s brought unwanted press to tennis. God knows what some of the greats of the game thought when that sort of thing comes into the headlines.”

Evans will now play Ireland’s Sam Barry in final round qualifying, with the win sealing his place into the main draw and also meaning that he will receive an ATP world ranking.

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