* Le Gosier, Guadeloupe, €85,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : After a poor run at Indian Wells and Miami, Dusan Lajovic decided to take a wild card for Le Gosier Challenger, his first tournament since winning Bastad last July.
It proved to be a great choice for the Serb as he won his fifth Challenger title following a 6-4 6-0 victory over the 6th seed Denis Kudla in 67 minutes. Lajovic fired eight aces and he lost 14 points in eight service games, playing against only one break point.
On the other hand, he was all over Kulda on the return, creating 12 break chances and converting four to control the scoreboard from the middle of the opening set. The first set was competitive and Dusan grabbed with a break in game five, closing it on own serve in game 10 for a 6-4.
The American faded from the court after that, facing no less than 10 break points in set number two and getting broken on all three occasions to find himself 6-0 down, losing the last seven games of the match to hand the victory to his opponent who will return into the Top 100 with these 100 points.
This was also the 100th Challenger win for Lajovic in a career so far. * San Luis Potosi, Mexico, $50,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : 27-year-old Marcelo Arevalo claimed his second Challenger crown (Bogota last year) following a 6-3 6-7 6-4 triumph against the qualifier Roberto Cid Subervi in 2 hours and 17 minutes, making it the longest final of the week. Arevalo served better, having to play against three break points in the entire match and dropping serve once.
Roberto struggled more in his games and he offered 10 break chances to his rival, giving serve away three times to end on the losing side in his biggest final in a career so far. There was only one break point in the opening set and Arevalo seized it in game six to move 4-2 ahead, clinching the set with a hold in game nine.
Cid Subervi fought well in set number two, fending off all four break points he faced, including three at 5-5, and he won the breaker 7-3 to send the match into a decider. There, they traded early breaks of serve and Roberto reached two deuces in the ninth game, eager to score a late break and serve for the win.
Instead of that, Arevalo brought the game home and he made a crucial move with a break in game 10 that sealed the deal for him, converting the second match point for his second Challenger title. * Marbella, Spain, €43,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The 7th seed Stefano Travaglia was the man to beat in Marbella, claiming his second Challenger title after a commanding 6-3 6-3 win against Guido Andreozzi in an hour and 18 minutes. This was the 50th Challenger win for the Italian and he earned it with a rock solid display in his games, losing just 15 points in nine service games and facing only one break point that he successfully defended to keep his serve intact.
Andreozzi was nowhere near those numbers, dropping 45% of the points behind his serve and getting broken three times from six break points he gave to the Italian. Travaglia broke in the opening game after a poor slice from Andreozzi and he settled into a nice rhythm in the rest of the set, bringing it home with another break in game nine thanks to a backhand down the line winner.
A return winner gave Stefano a 2-0 lead in set number two and that proved to be the pivotal moment of the set, as they both served well in the remaining games. The Italian wrapped up the win when Guido sent a forehand long in game nine, celebrating his second title and a career-high 109th spot in the rankings.
* St. Brieuc, France, €43,000+H (Indoor Hard) : The second seed Ricardas Berankis lifted his ninth Challenger title from 17th final, ousting the qualifier Constant Lestienne 6-2 5-7 6-4 in 2 hours and 10 minutes for his first crown since Shymkent last May. Berankis lost his serve three times and he kept the pressure on his rival, creating 14 break points and securing five breaks to emerge as a winner.
The Lithuanian was off to a great start, breaking his rival in the first and third games to open up a 4-0 lead, and he took the opener 6-2 after a hold in game eight. He was the dominant figure early in the second set as well, serving well and breaking Lestienne in game three for a 6-2 4-2 advantage.
Out of sudden, the Frenchman found his shots and he broke back in game eight to level the score at 4-4, gaining the momentum before the closing stages of the set. He scored another break in game 12 to steal the set 7-5 and set up a decider where they both held with ease in the first four games.
Berankis converted his fourth break point in game five to move 4-2 up and Constant made one last push at 3-4, breaking back to level the score at 4-4 and improve his chances. Nonetheless, Berankis broke him at love in game nine and he closed the match on his fifth match point in the following game to celebrate the title and the return to the Top 100. Final results: