* Como, Italy, €43,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The top seed Marco Cecchinato and Filip Krajinovic, seeded 4th, met for the 4th time in Italian Challengers this season, and Marco grabbed his 3rd win over the Serb, celebrating by 5-7 6-2 6-3 in 2 hours and 39 minutes for his 11th Challenger final, the 4th of the season. Cecchinato kept his second serve safer but he had to work hard in most of his service games, facing 18 break points (6 in each set) and fending off 14 to limit the damage.
On the other hand, Krajinovic struggled to find the rhythm on his second serve, winning 6 out of 27 points, and he got broken 6 times from 10 opportunities he gave to Cecchinato. The first set lasted over an hour and Marco was the first to score a break, moving 5-3 in front and serving for the set.
Krajinovic broke back, converting his 5th break point since the start of the match, and he did the same in game 11 to grab the lead. Serb survived 2 tough service games, saving 2 break points in game 12 to steal the set by 7-5.
Filip broke again at the start of the second set, rattling off 6 games in a row to open up a 7-5 2-0 advantage, and he had another break point in game 3 for an even more comprehensive lead. Marco saved it and that gave him the energy to start a comeback, winning 6 games in a row for a 6-2, playing brilliantly on the return in those 3 games to outplay Krajinovic completely.
Players traded breaks earlier in the final set and Cecchinato scored another one in game 8 to jump into a 5-3 lead. Serving for the match in the following game, he fought off 3 break points and sealed the deal with a great drop shot winner.
29-year-old Pedro Sousa found some great form this season and he advanced to his 3rd Challenger final in a row, the 5th overall, after a 4-6 6-4 6-4 triumph over French teenager Corentin Moutet, who played in only his second Challenger semis. Sousa served at 79% but that give him much, losing 47% of the points in his games and facing 18 break points.
On the other hand, Moutet was in troubles in his games as well, dropping 53% of the points and having to play against 16 break chances. In the end, Sousa scored one extra break and that gave him the victory, in what has been a very entertaining and close match.
The first set saw a feast of breaks, 7 in 10 games played, and it was the Portuguese who had an early lead after breaking the youngster in the opening two return games. Moutet pulled the break back in game 6 to level the score at 3-3, only to get broken at love after a few minutes.
Nonetheless, Frenchman stayed focused and he broke his rival in games 8 and 10, saving 3 break points in the game between, clinching the opening set by 6-4. The second set started in similar fashion, with 4 breaks in the opening 5 games, and this time it was Sousa who played better on the crucial points, breaking at love in game 9 to take the lead and closing the set on own serve after that, but only after saving another pair of break points.
Rivals stayed in touch until 3-3 in the decider and Pedro made a crucial move by breaking in game 7 to move 4-3 in front. He served out for the match in game 10, prevailing after 2 hours and 14 minutes to set up the final meeting with Cecchinato.
* Quito, Ecuador, $50,000+H (Outdoor Clay) :