* Prostejov, Czech Republic, €127,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Jiri Vesely reached the third round at the Roland Garros, and just like always in the last couple of years, he found a safe harbor at home in Prostejov a week later, winning his 3rd Challenger crown in this town in the past 4 years.
In the title match, Vesely took down Federico Delbonis by 5-7 6-1 7-5 in 2 hours and 20 minutes, for his 6th crown at this level, and the first since Prostejov 2015. Both players struggled with their serve and there were 18 break points in total.
Vesely lost his serve 4 times from 7 chances the Argentine had, but he managed to break his rival 6 times, which was enough for the triumph. The home player did well to recover after losing the opener, sailing through the second set, and he was the better player in the final set as well, scoring a late break that pushed him over the finish line.
We saw 4 breaks in the middle of the first set, 2 on each side, but Delbonis was the one who was more focused in the crucial moment, breaking again in game 11 when Jiri sent the forehand long. He closed the set on own serve in the following with a good backhand attack for a 7-5, moving just a set away from the title.
Things went from bad to worse for Vesely, as he lost his serve at love at the start of the second set, but from that moment on he turned into a different player on the court, rattling off the next 6 games to take the set by 6-1, breaking Delbonis on 3 occasions.
The Argentine fends off 3 break points in the first game of the decider to stay in contention and they both served well in the following 9 games, without deuces or break points. Deciding moment happened in game 11 when Delbonis missed an easy drive volley to drop his serve, leaving Vesely to serve for the triumph.
Czech sealed the deal with a good hold and an entertaining final point to make the crowd erupting in joy.
* Surbiton, Great Britain, €127,000 (Outdoor Grass) : 28-year-old Yuichi Sugita notched his 3rd Challenger title of the season and his 9th overall after a hard-fought 7-6 7-6 win over Jordan Thompson in 2 hours and 6 minutes. This was the first title for Sugita on grass, standing at a modest 3-6 score on that surface on Challenger level before Surbiton, and he hit no aces in the entire final! More importantly, Sugita served at 76% while Thompson landed in only 58% of the first serve, despite hitting 11 aces.
Both players suffered 2 breaks, but it has to be said that Yuichi faced 4 break points while Jordan had to fight against 7. In the end, it all came down to tie breaks (Sugita won 89 points, the Aussie 86) where the Japanese was more composed, winning both to cross the finish line as the champion.
It was a real grass court tennis contest in the first set, with only one deuce in 12 games, and the tie break was also very close, Sugita won it 9-7 to take an early lead. The second set saw less dominant service games and 11 break points in total, and they exchanged breaks twice for another tie break.
Sugita had a chance to serve out for the match in game 12, after breaking Thompson in the game before, but the Aussie got the break back in the last moment to prolong the match. The tie break was a real seesaw and Jordan wasted 2 set points at 7-6 and 8-7, losing the breaker 10-8 after a solid serve&forehand combo from Sugita.