* Savannah, USA, $75,000 (Outdoor Clay) : 23-year-old Brazilian Joao Pedro Sorgi, ranked 342nd, advanced to his maiden Challenger final after a 4-6 6-3 6-0 triumph over James McGee in just under 2 hours. Both players had a lot of chances on return, with 20 break points in total, and it was Sorgi who was more focused in the deciding points, losing his serve 4 times but breaking McGee on 8 occasions, dominating after losing the opening set.
Brazilian was a break up twice in the first set but he couldn't hold the advantage, losing his serve thrice as the Irish won the opener 6-4. Sorgi was a 4-3 in front before James took 12 out of the last 13 points of the set.
He continued in the same rhythm in set number 2, grabbing the opening two games to build a significant lead, but Sorgi broke back in the very next game to get back on the track, and this time he was the better player in the closing stages, winning the last 4 games to win the set by 6-3 and force a decider, with a momentum on his side.
He obviously saved more strength for the final part of the match, storming through the 3rd set to claim it by 6-0 and earn his biggest result in a career so far.
In the all-American battle, the 5th seed Tennys Sandgren took down young Tommy Paul by 4-6 6-3 7-6 in 2 hours and 23 minutes, reaching his 5th Challenger final in a career. Almost nothing could separate the players from start to finish, they both scored 2 breaks and Sandgren saved a match point in the 10th game of the final set before he won the tie break 7-5 to propel himself into the final.
The first set was decided in the early stages, Paul made a break at 15 in game 3 and he kept the lead until the end, saving a break point in game 10 to bring the set home by 6-4. The second set was fast and fluid and this time it was Sandgren who held easily in every service game, breaking the youngster in game 8 to clinch the set by 6-3 and force a decider.
There, he was a 3-1 up before Tommy pulled the break back in game 6, leveling the score at 3-3 and setting up an interesting closure. Aas we said, Tennys saved a match point in the 10th game and he took the tie break 7-5 after 3 mini-breaks to deserve the place in the title match.
* Ostrava, Czech Republic, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Two Italians will play for the title in Ostrava, as Marco Cecchinato and Stefano Travagla won their semi-final matches. Cecchinato stayed on the court for more than 2 and a half hours, beating Hungarian qualifier Attila Balazs 6-7 6-4 6-4 for his 8th Challenger final and the first since Como last September. Cecchinato fends off 12 out of 14 break points to limit the damage on his serve, and he broke his rival 4 times from 8 chances to prevail in the end.
Balazs fought great in the first set, there were no break points in the entire set and Hungarian overcame a 3-0 deficit in the breaker to turn it into his favor by 7-5. They exchanged breaks in the 3rd and 4th games of the second set and Marco was in a very tough position, having to save 3 break points in the 9th game.
He managed to hold and it was a real game changer, he broke Balazs in the following game to steal the set by 6-4 and send the encounter into a deciding set. There, Attila was the better player, creating 9 break points in 3 back-to-back return games, but he converted only one break point, which wasn't enough in the end.
He was 4-2 up, with another 4 chances for a 5-2 lead, but Cecchinato held in that game and he never looked back, winning the final 4 games of the match to cross the finish line first, breaking Balazs in games 8 and 10 to reach the title match.
Stefano Travaglia will play in his first Challenger final after a 6-3 7-5 win over the second seed and home star Adam Pavlasek, in an hour and 32 minutes. Both players had 8 break points and Italian scored 4 breaks, losing his serve just twice to wrap up a win in straight sets.
Stefano was off to a flying start, securing 12 out of the first 15 points, and his lead became even bigger when he broke for the second time in game 6. Pavlasek pulled one break back, reducing the deficit to 5-3 before the Italian brought the set home by 6-3 in game 9.
Stefano played much better on his serve in set number 2 as well, and he broke in game 5 to gain a 5-3 lead. He served for the win in game 10 but Pavlasek refused to surrender, he saved 3 match points before converting 5th break point for a 5-5.
Nevertheless, his efforts were in vain, as Travaglia broke him again in game 11 and he closed the match on own serve in the following game, but only after saving two break points.
* Gimcheon, South Korea, $50,000+H (Outdoor Hard) :