NEXT GEN STARS RUNE & TSENG CLAIM SILVERWARE


Photographs: Matilde Martinetti & Andrés Molina

It’s been another big week on the ATP Challenger circuit with five tournaments all coming to a close. There were some familiar winners with Gastao Elias and Chun-Hsin Tseng winning their second trophies of the season while Holger Rune finally got one on the board after a slow start to the season.


Sanremo Challenger


It's finally clicked in 2022 for Danish young gun Holger Rune, who won his first title of the season at the Sanremo Challenger in Italy.


The Dane claimed his fifth Challenger title by defeating Italian Francesco Passaro 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 in one hour and 58 minutes.


The trophy was due reward for a brilliant week, with Rune only dropping one set for the entire tournament.


Prior to this tournament, Rune had exited in the first round in six of the nine tournaments he has contested so far this year.


The win has got him back on track in the Race to Milan for the Next Gen Finals - where he has leapt seven places to sit in eighth place ahead of Brandon Nakashima and Flavio Cobolli.




Costa Cálida Región de Murcia


Rising Chinese Taipei star Chun-Hsin Tseng won his third career Challenger title and his second of the season after defeating Slovakian Norbert Gombos 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 22 minutes.


The victory consolidates the hot form of Tseng, who has won all of his Challenger titles in the past five months.


In fact, Tseng managed to not drop a set for the whole week as he eased his way to another title.


It’s no wonder the young gun is a firm favourite to feature at the Next Gen Finals in Milan at the end of the year. Tseng is currently sitting in sixth position on the Race to Milan ladder, behind Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, Jack Draper, Jiri Lehecka and Lorenzo Musetti.


Tseng also finds himself at a career-high No. 125 in the world following his triumph in Spain.




Mexico City Open


Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler took out the Mexico City Open with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry in just 65 minutes.


It’s a welcome return to form for world No. 140 who had previously only won four matches in eight events this year before coming to Mexico. It’s a fifth career Challenger title for the 25-year-old and his first since 2020, when he defeated Botic van de Zandshlup in Ismaning, Germany.


As for Etcheverry, despite missing out on his second Challenger title for 2022, the Argentine has broken into the top 100 and is now sitting at a career-high 95 following an impressive run on the tour.


Etcheverry has now made the quarters in 17 of his last 24 Challenger events.




Salinas


Top seed and local hope Emilio Gomez took out the Challenger de Salinas in Ecuador after dropping just one set for the whole tournament.


Gomez lost that set in the final as he was made to work hard for a 6-7(2), 7-6(4), 7-5 victory over American Nicolas Moreno de Alboran in a marathon match lasting three hours and 16 minutes.


It was a heartbreaking affair for the American who at one stage led 7-6, 5-3 and 40-0 on serve but couldn’t close out the match. De Moreno had four chances to win it but couldn’t get past the Ecuadorian for what would have been his maiden Challenger title.


As for Gomez, it was his third Challenger title and his first since claiming the gong in Salinas in 2021.



Oeiras 2


Portugal’s Gastao Elias has lifted his second trophy in as many weeks at Oeiras after defeating Italian Alessandro Gianessi 7-6(4), 6-1 in an hour and 35 minutes.


It’s the Portuguese veteran’s 10th Challenger title and his third in a row at Oeiras, claiming one last week as well as the Oeiras 4 title over Holger Rune in May 2021.


It means the 31-year-old is now undefeated in 15 matches at the venue.