* Brest, France, €106,000+H (Indoor Hard) :
Corentin Moutet and Stefanos Tsitsipas, talented teenagers that were the youngest players in the draw, reached the title match in Brest and Moutet celebrated by 6-2 7-6 in an hour and 37 minutes for his first Challenger title. An 18-year-old Frenchman is the 4th player born in 1999 who won the crown at this level, after Denis Shapovalov, Yibing Wu and Miomir Kecmanovic, and he in a career-high ranking of 160. Corentin won 16 out of the 21 points on his second serve and that made all the difference, facing 2 break points and saving both to keep his serve intact. On the other hand, Tsitsipas struggled after missing the first serve and he played against 5 break points, losing serve twice in the opening set and wasting 5 set points in the second set tie break to left Brest empty-handed.
Corentin found his shots right from the start and he dropped 4 points on serve in the opening set, forcing Stefanos to serve well too, and Greek failed to follow that pace. He lost serve in games 3 and 7 to hand the set to his rival by 6-2 in less than 30 minutes. Tsitstipas, who reached the semi-final in Antwerp a week earlier, raised his level in set number 2 and he served well besides that loose 5th game when he had to save 3 break points. Moutet was under pressure in the 8th game as well, fending off 2 break points to set the tie break, which was a really interesting one. Stefanos was 6-3 in front but this just wasn't his day, missing no less than 5 set points and keeping Moutet in contention. The Frenchman grabbed the last 3 points of the match, including 2 mini-breaks, clinching the tie break by 10-8 to start a huge celebration of his biggest career title so far.
* Suzhou, China, $75,000 (Outdoor Hard) :
Another big prospect born in 1999, Miomir Kecmanovic, claimed his maiden Challenger trophy, playing his 9th tournament at this level, all in 2017. Belgrade native who trains at Bradenton took down the 3rd seed Radu Albot by 6-4 6-4 in an hour and 24 minutes, and with these 80 points, he is on a verge of entering the Top 200. Kecmanovic kept his second serve under control and despite losing serve 3 times he compensated that with a solid display on the return, winning almost 50% of the points in Albot's games and breaking him 5 times from 6 chances to stay in front from start to finish. The teenager grabbed the opening 9 points of the match and he broke again in game 3 after Radu failed to convert 3 game points.
Moldavian pulled one break in the 4th game to get his name on the scoreboard but Miomir claimed his 3rd break of serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Serb served for the set at 5-2 but he played a loose game to get broken, but he closed the set on his own serve next time around, winning the opener by 6-4. He jumped into a 4-1 lead in set number 2, with 2 breaks under his belt, and Albot could only erase one break, reducing the deficit to 5-3. Kecmanovic served well in his last 2 service games to bring the match home and lay down on the ground, happy with the way he performed in his most important match in a career up to date.
* Traralgon, Australia, $75,000 (Outdoor Hard) :
Former junior world number 1 Jason Kubler had a promising career a few years ago, winning his first Challenger title in 2014 and entering the Top 150 that season. Still, he had immense troubles with his knees, that just couldn't endure the efforts of the modern tennis, especially outside the clay, and Jason was forced to undergo 5 surgeries, losing all his ranking points a few times and starting from rock bottom. At the moment, it seems that this Brisbane native found his game again, reaching 2 Futures finals recently and entering his first Challenger main draw since July 2015.
He qualified with 3 solid wins and carried that form all the way, winning his second Challenger title after a hard-fought 2-6 7-6 7-6 triumph over Alex Bolt in 2 hours and 28 minutes! Bolt had a match point in the tie break of the second set but Kubler endured all the obstacles to send the encounter into a decider, winning it in another tie break. Bn 3 points more, thanks to that opening set, and he saved 9 out of 11 break points to keep the pressure on the other side of the net. Kubler lost serve 4 times from 7 break chances he offered to his opponent but he managed to overcome a deficit at the start of the final set and bring a very important win home, moving inside the Top 350 in the ATP rankings for the first time since September 2015. It was a solid start for both players in the first 4 games, and Alex stepped in to grab the last 4 games and claim the first set by 6-2.
Jason consolidated his serve in the second set and he broke for a 5-4 lead, having a chance to close this part of the match with another good hold. Instead of that, Bolt broke him at love to level the score at 5-5, and the set went into a tie break. Jason saved a match point on the return at 5-6, winning the last 3 points to clinch the breaker by 8-6 and force the decider. There, Alex earned a break in the opening game and he stayed in front for a few games, with Kubler getting back on the scoreboard with a break in game 4. That gave him the momentum and he served better in the remaining games, while Alex had to save a break point in game 8 and 3 match points in the 12th game to reach another tie break. Despite valiant efforts, he lost it by 7-3 and Jason wrapped up a win with a forehand down the line winner.