* Anning, China, $150,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Janko Tipsarevic is still undefeated on the Challenger Tour in 2017, winning his 4th title of the season in Anning to continue his great comeback run that moved him into 62nd place in the ATP rankings.
This is Janko's 15th Challenger title and he is undefeated in the last 10 he played, ever since Samarkand in 2006! In the title match, Tipsarevic came from behind to oust the 6th seed Quentin Halys from France by 6-7 6-3 6-4 in 2 hours and 15 minutes, saving all 4 break points he faced.
Halys blasted 14 aces and he faced just 3 break points, but he got broken once in sets two and three to finish on the losing side. It was an amazing battle in the opening set, Janko saved a break point in game 6 and that was the only chance for the returners in all 12 games, as they both served well.
Quentin opened a 4-1 lead in the tie break and he brought it home by 7-5. Serb stepped up in set number 2, breaking his rival in game 4 to open up a 3-1 lead, and he saved two break points in game 9 to wrap it up by 6-3 and force a decider.
There, he gained an instant advantage, breaking Halys in the opening game, and he stayed in front until game 10 when he served out for the win, but only after saving another break point. Just a year ago, Janko was ranked 581st but he is looking better and better to hit the Top 50 at some point soon and to move even further forward if he brings this kind of form into the ATP level as well.
* Tallahassee, USA, $75,000 (Outdoor Clay) : Blaz Rola claimed his 3rd Challenger title, the first in 2 years, beating Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2 6-7 7-5 in 2 hours and 36 minutes, which makes it the longest final of the season so far. Slovenian qualifier saved all 6 break points to keep his serve intact, and he converted 3 out of 8 to seal the win after a grueling battle.
Blaz had to dig deep right from the start, saving 3 break points in the opening game to settle into a nice rhythm, and he won 16 out of the last 19 points for an easy 6-2 score, breaking Ramanathan in games 6 and 8 (Indian won 1 point in total in these games).
At the start of the second set Rola again had to fight off 3 break points, but this time Ramkumar also kept his serve well, saving two break points to reach the tie break which he won by 8-6 to force the deciding set. Blaz saved his best tennis for the final part of the match, dropping just 3 points in 6 service games, and he finally made a decisive break in game 11 (Ramanathan had a game point), closing the match on own serve in the following game.
* Francavilla, Italy, €43,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Francavilla is the new Challenger in the calendar, and we got a new player with a Challenger crown there, as Portuguese Pedro Sousa lifted his maiden crown at this level.
28-year-old is the 6th player who won his first Challenger crown in 2017 and also the first Portuguese with the trophy since Gastao Elias conquered Mestre 12 months ago. This was only the second Challenger final for Sousa, losing the first one to Leonardo Mayer in Guayaquil at the end of 2013.
Everything went well for him in Francavilla, losing just one set in 5 matches and beating the second seed Alessandro Giannessi 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 42 minutes for his biggest success in a career so far. Sousa served at 85% and he saved 5 out of 6 break points to control the scoreboard, breaking the Italian 3 times from 7 opportunities.
Giannessi had to work harder in his games and he missed a chance to reach the final set, missing 3 break chances at the end of the second set. Pedro sailed through the opening set, saving two break points in game 4 and breaking Giannessi in games 3 and 9 for an easy 6-3.
Alessandro bounced back in set number 2, breaking at love in game 5 to go 4-2 ahead, but Sousa broke back in game 8 to level the score at 4-4. Italian had a massive chance to gain the lead once again, wasting 3 break points in game 11, and he loses the tie break by 7-3 to miss the opportunity to celebrate in front of the home crowd.