* Marburg, Germany, €43,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : In the shadow of the Wimbledon opening week, the lower-ranked players are battling for valuable ATP points at Challengers in Marburg and Recanati. On the clay courts in Germany, the 24-year-old Argentinian Juan Ignacio Londero will play in his second Challenger final after a 7-5 1-6 6-1 triumph over the super talented Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in an hour and 52 minutes. The Argentinian won just two points more than the youngster but he created more break points and had the upper hand in the final set when it mattered the most.
Felix did score two breaks but both of those came in the second set when he ruled the court, unable to repeat that in the decider or to edge his rival in the opening set. Juan Ignacio sailed through his service games in the opening set and he waited for a chance on the return patiently, breaking Auger-Aliassime in game 11 before closing the set with a hold at 30 a few minutes later.
The Canadian raised his level in the second set, serving well and controlling the pace in the rallies to break Londero in games two and six before holding at love at 5-1 for a commanding result and the momentum before the final set.
There, Juan Ignacio recovered his shots and he opened a 4-1 lead with a break in game two and two break points saved at 3-1. That was the last push we saw from Felix who got broken again in game five, allowing his rival to cross the finish line with a hold at love a few minutes later, losing 11 of the last 12 points to end his run in the semis.
The Bolivian Hugo Dellien has been on fire so far in 2018 and he will find the place in the Top 100 with a few other solid results in Challengers. The 25-year-old has notched his 25th Challenger win of the season after a rock solid 6-3 6-3 triumph over Julian Lenz in 65 minutes for the place in his fourth Challenger final of the season and the fifth overall in a career. Dellien served at 81% and that gave him a huge advantage on the court, delivering fury from his initial shot to drop just six points in his games and keep all the pressure on the other side of the net.
Lenz couldn't follow that pace and he lost his serve three times from six opportunities he gave to Hugo, unable to prolong the match and win a few more games. The Bolivian claimed the opening set with breaks in games one and nine and he needed only one loose service game from the German in set number two to gain the crucial lead and bring the match home after an amazing serving display in the second part of the match.
* Recanati, Italy, €43,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : On the fast hard courts in Recanati, the 30-year-old German Daniel Brands is through to his 12th Challenger final and the first since Como in 2015 after a dominant 6-0 6-3 triumph over Roberto Quiroz in just 53 minutes. The hard-hitting German lost 13 points in eight service games, saving one break point he faced and winning half of the points on the return to claim four breaks from six chances.
Brands was in charge from the opening point of the match and he needed just 20 minutes to take the opener, breaking Quiroz thrice for a 6-0. The second set was closer and Daniel earned a break in game four to open up a 3-1 lead (winning nine of the opening 10 games) and saving a break point in game nine before closing the match with a beautiful backhand down the line that Roberto failed to control. Semi-final results: