The fifth Challenger Tour Finals started today in Sao Paulo with first round robin matches and we already had great matches and one surprise. In group A, first seed Paolo Lorenzi needed three sets to beat Dustov and Inigo Cervantes prevailed over Daniel Munoz-De La Nava, as both matches lasted almost two and a half hours each.
In group B, Guido Pella was also forced to play three sets against Albot, and last year finalist Guilherme Clezar stunned Marco Cecchinato. Clezar got WC, just like in 2014, and he obviously plays his best tennis in this tournament.
Just to remind, Marco won their only previous match in Caltanissetta by convincing 6-0 6-0. It has to be said that court is very fast, like almost every South American clay Challenger, and of course it is played Indoor. Paolo Lorenzi vs Farrukh Dustov 4-6 6-3 6-4 (2:22) First seed and best ranked player Paolo Lorenzi had troubles against Uzbek Dustov, in their 4th meeting.
They both played well in first set but one break in the seventh game made the difference, when Dustov took advantage of Lorenzi's backhand errors to go 4-3 ahead. He finished first set in style, taking it 6-4 after amazing forehand winner.
Farrukh, who likes to play Indoor, lost only 6 points on serve, as Lorenzi couldn't find the way to deal with his strong groundstrokes. Despite serving at only 43%, the Italian found the way to get back into match, taking second set 6-3.
It seemed that Dustov gain full control over match when he broke in very first game, but lost his serve in next game when he netted easy backhand. From that moment on Lorenzi started to play better, won service game without losing point and broke rival again in 4th game to go 3-1 in front.
They both held until the end of the set as Lorenzi finished it with another ace. He lost only 6 points on serve, and on the other hand Uzbek was in deep trouble every time he miss first serve, giving Lorenzi 8 break chances.
Third set was very close again, with 4 longer games, but Lorenzi made crucial break in 3rd game to win it 6-4. Dustov wasted 2 game points before Paolo broke after Farukh sent backhand long. Still, Lorenzi needed to save break point in very next game, but he stayed calm and won 18 strokes rally, holding easily after that deuce.
In 6th game Dustov again came close to break back, but he only managed two deuces, with no break chance. Lorenzi finished the match on his own serve in 10th game after two nice forehand winners, to start campaign in victorious way.
Inigo Cervantes vs Daniel Munoz-De La Nava 4-6 7-6 7-5 (2:29) Match between two Spaniards was longest of the day, as this was also only clash of the two Top 100 players on day one. Just like in Hamburg qualifications, Cervantes won in 3 sets, as both players served very well on fast court.
Daniel won every important point on his serve in first set, giving no break chances to opponent, and he converted one with forehand winner to go 2-1 ahead, keeping the advantage until the end. Left-hander finished the set on his own serve in 10th game, following huge forehand down the line winner.
Serve was dominant factor again in second set, as only two games went to deuce. Cervantes saved sole break point in 9th game with brave forhehand and volley after it, and won the tie break 7-3, making two mini breaks. In first two sets Daniel lost only 3 points on first serve in total, but was still forced to play decider, as Cervantes was on high level too.
Older Spaniard missed big chance in 6th game, when he sent forehand long on break point, instead of that Cervantes leveled at 3-3. In that moment, they held in last 25 service games in total, which is exceptional for clay. After missing break point in previous game, Daniel got broken in next when he sent forehand way behind baseline.
Cervantes held easily to go 5-3 in front, smelling the victory, especially after being two point away in game 9, when he forced deuce on return. Munzo-De La Nava somehow managed to hold, adn broke back in last moment, when Inigo sent forehand long in 10th game.
Still, younger player found the way to break opponent again in 11th game, and this time there was no way back for Daniel, losing match after yet another forehand unforced error.