* Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, $125,000 (Outdoor Clay) : 37-year-old Victor Estrella Burgos just made another push forward in the ATP rankings, cracking the Top 100 again after winning his 7th Challenger title at home in Santo Domingo, beating Damir Dzumhur 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 45 minutes. This is the first title for veteran since Morelos 2015, where he also defeated Dzumhur, only by 7-5 6-4.
Home player served better, facing 3 break points and losing serve twice, and he won 42% of the return points, stealing Bosnian's serve 3 times. Players traded breaks in games 2 and 3, and then again in the middle of the set before Damir saved a set point in game 12 to set up a tie break.
Estrella Burgos took the tie break 7-4 with 3 mini-breaks, and this gave him a huge momentum before the rest of the match. He continued in the same style at the start of the second set as well, winning 8 out of the first 9 points to break Dzumhur and create a 2-0 gap, which he kept easily until the end of the set for a 6-4.
Despite his age, Victor fought really well and he could be pleased with his performance in front of the home crowd. * Vancouver, Canada, $100,000 (Outdoor Hard) : Cedrik-Marcel Stebe reached the Top 100 just after turning 21 in 2011 and numerous injuries stopped his progress after that.
Stebe kept trying and he was building his form inch by inch, even from outside the Top 1000. 12 months ago, he was ranked 570th and now he is on a verge of breaking into Top 100 again after winning his 6th Challenger title and the 2nd in 2017.
German stormed over the 2nd seed Jordan Thompson by 6-0 6-1 in just 54 minutes, losing serve once but completely surmounting the Aussie on the return, taking astonishing 73% of the return points and breaking his rival 6 times for an easy triumph. Both players scored an easy semi-final wins in just over an hour but it was all about Stebe in this one, dominating from the baseline and rattling off the first 8 games of the match.
Thompson ended his downfall with a break in the third game of the second set but that was all he could do, losing 16 of the last 20 points to suffer one of his biggest defeats. * Cordenons, Italy, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : 21-year-old Elias Ymer claimed his 3rd Challenger title (all in Italy) and the first since April 2016, taking down Roberto Carballes Baena 6-2 6-3 in an hour and 21 minutes. Elias, who is coached by Robin Soderling, did a great job in Cordenons, lifting the trophy without losing the set, and he was rock solid in the final as well, despite serving at miserable 40%! He lost just 16 points in his games and got broken only once, which he easily compensated with his performance on the return, taking 50% of the points in Spaniard's games and breaking him 4 times from 6 chances.
Swede raced into a 5-0 lead, taking 20 out of the first 27 points, and he closed the opener with his third break in game 8 for a 6-2. Carballes Baena raised his game in the second set, staying toe to toe with Ymer in the first 7 games before he dropped serve to fall 5-3 behind, and Elias needed no second chance to clinch the win on own serve in the 9th game.
* Meerbusch, Germany, €43,000+H (Outdoor Clay) :