Prior to 2017, the left-handed German Mats Moraing had a chance to play only once in the Challenger main draw, building his career around ITF Futures Tour in order to get some points and the money that would keep him running in a harsh world of modern tennis outside the big scene. Some good Futures results sent him near the Top 200 entrance at the end of the last season and the 25-year-old will finally enter that group after the Australian Open after a great streak in Challengers in 2018.
Mats won just 6 Challenger matches before 2018 and he is already on 11 in the first 3 weeks of the new season, reaching the final in Bangkok as a qualifier and another semi-final at the same place a week later. He returned to Europe to play at home Koblenz Challenger and the indoor conditions presented the perfect chance for him to polish his form even more (he is 198cm tall) and make some damage in the draw.
Mats went all the way to lift his maiden Challenger crown, toppling Kenny De Schepper by 6-2 6-1 in just 46 minutes, in what should be one of the shortest finals on the Challenger Tour in 2018. German was the only player on the court from start to finish, dropping just 7 points on serve and never facing a break point while De Schepper played well below his level, losing more than 50% of the points in his games and giving his serve away 5 times from 6 chances that Moraing created.
Instead of an intense battle between two tall players with giant serve, it was Mats who found his range on the return early on to score a break in the very first game of the match, providing a huge momentum for him before the rest of the encounter.
German held in the second game with 3 winners and he fired another forehand winner to break Kenny once again in game 3, opening a 3-0 lead that pretty much secured the opener for him. They both served well in the remaining games and Mats grabbed the opener with a hold at love in game 8, closing the set with an ace and hoping for more of the same in set number 2.
De Schepper never truly found his range and he was broken again at the start of the second set, with no room for errors in the rest of the encounter. Moraing had some other plans, though, placing a backhand winner in game 3 for a double break and notching another one in game 7 to seal the deal in style in front of delighted fans.