Hua Hin, Thailand, $125,000 (Outdoor Hard) : This is the strongest tournament in terms of money and points, and we will watch French veteran Stephane Robert and Japanese Yuichi Sugita in fight for the crown. They scored semi-final wins over seeded players and one of them will leave the event with huge 110 points.
Sugita will play in his 3rd Challenger final of the season as he prevailed over 7th seed Zopp in a very close match. Both players won 88 points, and made 3 breaks, but Estonian left off victory as he had 9 break chances, and on the other hand failed to save any of of 3 he gave to the opponent.
In first 11 service games Zopp was broken only once, but he just faded in the second part of final set. Stephane Robert will play in his 13th Challenger final, after easy win over 5th seed Ito. He fired 11 aces, saved 6 out of 7 break points and played better both on serve to take the match after 71 minutes.
He will try to win his first Challenger title outside clay, in his by far the best tournament of the season and first final after more than 2 years. 1/2 : Yuichi Sugita vs Jurgen Zopp 7-5 2-6 6-3 (2:01)
[Q]Stephane Robert vs Tatsuma Ito 6-4 6-2 (1:11) Guayaquil, Ecuador, $50,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Diego Schwartzman decided to go back to South American clay Challengers after US Open and Davis Cup, uninterested for improving his Indoor game.
He made 3 finals in a row, but failed to win the title so he lost some nice points in those matches. Here in Guayaquil Diego made his 17th Challenger final (all on clay of course) after beating fellow Argentine Marco Trungelliti in almost 2 hours.
Marco was in better position through set and a half, as he led 6-4 3-2 with break, but Schwartzman break back in 6th game after showing once again his quickness and defensive skills. From that moment on 1st seed dominated, keeping his serve untile the end of the match and breaking Trungelliti 3 more times.
His rival in the title match will be Portuguese Gastao Elias, who obviously found great form at the end of the seaosn. Just to remind, he won title in Lima last week, and this is the first time after 3 years he made back to back Challengers finals.
Gastao also needed 3 sets and almost 2 hours to beat 3rd seed Guido Pella 6-4 3-6 6-3. Just like in first semi-final, losing player created more break chances, but Elias saved most of them, 9 out of 12. On the other hand, he had 4 beak points and won all of them.
It was a close match but 2 Elias"s breaks in the third set made the difference. Match started with two breaks of serve, and Elias made another one in final 10th game for 6-4. Pella served much better in second set and broke in 7th and 9th game to force final set.
Elias stayed focused, saved one break point and took Pella"s serve in 3rd and 9th game for his 12th Challenger final in career. 1/2 : Diego Schwartzman vs Marco Trungelliti 4-6 6-3 6-2 (1:57)
Gastao Elias vs Guido Pella 6-4 3-6 6-3 (1:52) Canberra, Australia, $50,000 (Outdoor Hard) : For the second time in two weeks in Australia, home players will decide the winner, as Luke Saville and Benjamin Mitchell made final in Canberra.
Saville, former Junior number 1, made his second final in career (played against fellow Aussie Sam Groth in Manchester in June) after easy win over Robin Stanek, who played in his first Challenger semis. Young Czech is playing his 6th straight tournament in Australia but was no match for Saville who won 6-2 6-1 after 72 minutes.
In first set Luke saved 3 break points and broke Stanek twice, and was even easier in second after 3 breaks and great return winner to close the match. His rival will be Benjamin Mitchell who dominated Matt Reid 6-3 6-2 in just 65 minutes.
He served better and saved all 3 break points, needed only one break in first set, in 6th game. In second set Reid lost his serve in 3rd and 5th game, with Mitchell closing the match after love serving game, making first Challenger final.
1/2 : Luke Saville vs Robin Stanek 6-2 6-1 (1:12)
Benjamin Mitchell vs Matt Reid 6-3 6-2 (1:05)