Thiemo de Bakker and Bradley Klahn are back! Maiden title for Ofner


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Thiemo de Bakker and Bradley Klahn are back! Maiden title for Ofner

* Astana, Kazakhstan, $125,000 (Outdoor Hard) : The 3rd seed Sebastian Ofner has claimed his maiden Challenger crown after a 7-6 6-3 win over Daniel Brands in an hour and 37 minutes. Two tall players have shown the most during the tournament and it was the young Austrian who defended his second serve better to fend off five out of six break points and convert two of the nine chances he earned on the return to seal the deal in straight sets.

It was a great battle right from the start, Brands saved two break points in the first game of the match and he wasted three break points in game six that could send him in front. The German escaped in game nine when he repelled two more break chances and he wasted two set points on the return at 6-5 for a tie break.

They stayed close to each other until 5-5 and Sebastian grabbed the crucial mini-break in the 12th point for a 7-5. Daniel was the first who scored a break in the fifth game of the second set but Ofner was ready to strike back, rattling off the last four games of the match with breaks in games six and eight, closing the match with a hold at love in the ninth game for a 6-3.

* Gatineau, Canada, $75,000 (Outdoor Hard) : The 27-year-old American Bradley Klahn has taken his sixth Challenger crown and the first since November 2014 and Traralgon, defeating the young Frenchman Ugo Humbert 6-3 7-6 in an hour and 23 minutes. Klahn served at 49% but there was nothing wrong with his initial shot, dominating with the first serve and saving three out of four break points to keep the pressure on Ugo who couldn't endure it.

The Frenchman gave his best but it wasn't enough, getting broken on both break points he offered to Klahn to fall short in his first Challenger final. We saw three straight breaks at the start of the first set and Bradley scored two of those to create the gap, saving three break points in game nine to grab the opener 6-3.

Both players served well in set number two to avoid break points and Klahn prevailed in the tie break 7-5 to wrap up the win and celebrate his first title in almost four years. * San Benedetto, Italy, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Competing in his second Challenger final, the 22-year-old Daniel Elahi Galan has conquered the maiden title thanks to a 6-2 3-6 6-2 win over Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol in an hour and 55 minutes. Serve played no part in this match and we saw 30 break points in total, 17 for Elahi Galan who converted eight to dominate in the sets he won.

The Spaniard had his chances as well but he could gain only six breaks from 13 opportunities which wasn't enough for the title in the end. Daniel broke his rival thrice in the opening set for a 6-2 but he suffered three breaks of serve in set number two as well, allowing Gutierrez-Ferrol to dictate the points and set up a decider.

Elahi Galan eas back to his finest in set number three, breaking his opponent four times and holding in games six and eight to celebrate the title. * Scheveningen, Netherlands, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : A former Top 40 player Thiemo de Bakker has been struggling to find the right form in the last couple of seasons but he played like in good old days at home in Scheveningen, ousting the top seed Yannick Maden 6-2 6-1 in an hour and nine minutes for his 11th Challenger crown and the first since Monterrey in 2016. Thiemo was on a verge of defeat against Adam Pavlasek and Alessandro Giannessi in the previous rounds but he was at the top of his game in the title match, saving both break points and winning 50% of the points on the return to create 11 break chances and convert four to control the scoreboard all the time.

Maden had an early edge, creating those two break points in the first half of the opening set but he failed to convert them and had to pay the price for that. De Bakker broke him in games six and eight to clinch the opener 6-2 and he never looked back, racing into a 5-0 lead in set number two before he sealed the deal with a forehand down the line winner to lift his biggest trophy in almost four years. Final results:

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