Matteo Berrettini, John Millman and Dennis Novikov are Challenger champions


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Matteo Berrettini, John Millman and Dennis Novikov are Challenger champions

* Bergamo, Italy, €64,000+H (Indoor Hard) : Two promising Italian youngsters battled for the home title in Bergamo and it was the top seed Matteo Berrettini who ousted Stefano Napolitano 6-2 3-6 6-2 in an hour and 52 minutes for his second Challenger crown from six finals played. Berrettini blasted 12 aces and he fends off seven out of eight break points to limit the damage in his games.

Napolitano struggled more in his service games and he gave 11 break chances to Matteo, suffering four breaks to finish empty-handed. The better-ranked Italian lost just three points on serve in the opening set and he broke Napolitano in games three and seven for a commanding 6-2, looking for more of the same in set number two.

Instead of that, Napolitano saved two break points in the first part of the set and he earned his lone break in game six to gain a 4-2 lead, closing the set on own serve in game nine to set up a deciding set. Berrettini won the set 6-2 with breaks in games six and eight to seal the deal but it wasn't easy, he had to save six break points in three different service games before bringing the match home.

* Kyoto, Japan, $50,000+H (Indoor Hard) : 28-year-old John Millman grabbed his 10th Challenger title in an all-Australian final in Kyoto, defeating the second seed Jordan Thompson 7-5 6-1 in an hour and 24 minutes. The more experienced Aussie kept his second serve safe and he faced just two break points, losing serve once and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.

Thompson could not follow that pace in his games and he dropped almost 50% of the points on serve, offering 10 break points to Millman and losing serve five times to find himself on the losing side. There were no break points in the opening 10 games and Thompson was on the level terms with Millman before game 11 when he netted an easy backhand to lose serve and fall 6-5 behind.

John saved a break point in the following game and he closed the set after a long rally, taking the opener 7-5 and moving a set away from the title. Thompson faded from the court in set number two, losing 21 out of 31 points on his serve and suffering breaks in all four service games.

Millman's win was halted for a few minutes when he got broken at 5-0 but the trophy was in his hands when he claimed his fifth consecutive break of serve in game seven. * Morelos, Mexico, $50,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : 24-year-old Dennis Novikov claimed his third Challenger title in Morelos after a 6-4 6-3 triumph over Christian Garin in an hour and 9 minutes. This was the first title for Novikov since Columbus in September 2015 and despite a short match and straight sets win he had to work hard to earn it, saving nine out of 10 break points and keeping the pressure on the Chilean.

They had a similar performance behind the first serve but Garin struggled more on his second serve, getting broken three times from five opportunities he gave to the American. Dennis had to dig deep right from the start to keep the pace with his rival, saving four break points in the opening three service games and moving in front with a break in game six.

He served for the set at 5-3 but a double fault cost him the game and Christian was back on the positive side of the scoreboard. Nonetheless, the Chilean lost his serve at love in game 10 to give the set away by 6-4 and Novikov moved closer to the finish line with a cracking forehand cross court winner that moved him 2-0 in front in set number two.

Garin wasted two break points in game five and Dennis served for the title at 5-3. He saved a break point with a service winner and completed his triumph with another one to celebrate the title and a big step forward in the ATP rankings with these 80 points. Final results:

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