* Genova, Italy, €127,000+H (Outdoor Clay) :
Another youngster, Stefanos Tsitsipa, claimed his maiden Challenger title (he lost 2 finals last year in October), edging Guillermo Garcia-Lopez by 7-5 7-6 in Genova after an hour and 49 minutes. Greek served well, making a lot of damage with his first serve, and he fends off 4 out of 5 break points to keep the pressure on Garcia-Lopez. Spaniard played against 8 break points, saving 6, but those 2 breaks were enough for Tsitsipas to cross the finish line first, taking the crucial points of both sets.
Stefanos saved a break point in his opening service game and he found a good rhythm after that, with 5 commanding holds in the rest of the set. Guillermo saved the first 5 break points he faced but he lost his serve at 15 in game 11, dropping 12 out of the last 14 points to lose the set by 7-5. Tsitsipas opened a 4-2 lead in the second set but he lost 12 out of the next 15 points to find himself 5-4 down, serving to stay in the set. He did a good job in the next 2 service games and the set had to be decided in the tie break. Tsitsipas took it with ease, scoring 4 mini-breaks for a 7-2, celebrating his biggest title up to date.
* Seville, Spain, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) :
Back in June, Felix Auger-Aliassime became one of the youngest Challenger champions when he lifted the crown in Lyon, and this weekend he went even further, winning his second title in Seville, also on clay. Thus, Felix is the second youngest player with multiple Challenger crowns, only behind Richard Gasquet and in front of Rafael Nadal. Also, with these points, Auger-Aliassime cracked the Top 200, as the 4th youngest player to do so in the last 20 years, and the youngest since Rafael Nadal in 2002! In the final of Seville, Felix took down Inigo Cervantes, by 6-7 6-3 6-3 in 2 hours and 20 minutes, overcoming a 3-0 deficit in the second set. The first serve worked like a charm for Montreal native and he faced just 5 break points, losing serve twice.
On the other hand, he created 13 break points and converted 5 of those, dominating in the rest of the match after catching that deficit in the second set. Felix had a full control in his service games in the opening set, with 4 holds at love, and it looked that the set will be his when he broke for a 4-2 lead. Instead of that, he played a loose game to drop the break in the following game, and the set had to be concluded in the tie break. Spaniard won it by 7-4, scoring 1 mini-break, and we could say that he stole it, considering how well Felix served in the most of the set. Cervantes broke in the second game of the second set to open up a nice 3-0 gap before Auger-Aliassime took charge, winning the next 9 games to turn the scoreboard into his favor, leading 3-0 in the final set. The break he scored early in the decider was all he needed to bring the match home and write the history pages yet again.