* Chicago, USA, $150,000+H (Outdoor Hard) : The 32-year-old Denis Istomin has won his 11th Challenger title and the first since Tashkent almost three years ago after a commanding 6-4 6-2 triumph over Reilly Opelka in 68 minutes. The giant American fired 13 aces but it wasn't enough to keep him in the match, struggling on both the first and second serve to lose 43% of the points in his games to get broken three times from nine chances he gave to Istomin.
On the other hand, the more experienced player did everything right behind his initial shot, dropping seven points in nine service games and never facing a break point. Opelka saved two break points in the opening game of the match with a solid attack and a service winner but he wasted two game points at 2-2 to suffer a break following a great return from Istomin.
Denis had two set points on the return in the ninth game, wasting them both but closing the opener with a service winner a few minutes later to grab the opener 6-4. The youngster suffered another break in the third game of the second set and it was all over when Istomin scored another break to move 4-1 ahead.
He held at love in games six and eight and the match was in his hands when Reilly hit a backhand forced error to finally lift another Challenger trophy. * Genova, Italy, €127,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : The 23-year-old Italian Lorenzo Sonego has won his maiden Challenger title in front of the packed crowd at home in Genova, just a week after he qualified for the main draw at the US Open and won his second Grand Slam match.
Lorenzo needed 68 minutes to dismiss Dustin Brown 6-4 6-2 who received a wild card to enter the main draw, breaking the German four times and saving all six break points to secure the first title at this level. Dustin served at 45% and he lost almost 50% of the points in his games, unable to impose his shots or to overpower the Italian from the baseline.
Lorenzo saved four break points in the opening two service games to avoid an early setback and he moved in front with a forehand return winner in game four for a 3-1. Brown wasted another break point in the following game and he suffered another break at 2-5 to hand the opening set to his opponent.
Sonego fends off a break point at the start of the second set, the last one he would face, and he broke Brown after the German failed to convert no less than four game points in the second game, sending a forehand long to move further and further away from the positive result.
A backhand lob winner pushed Lorenzo 4-0 up and he sealed the deal with an ace in game seven for his biggest result at this level so far. * Seville, Spain, €64,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Kimmer Coppejans had to qualify just to enter the main draw in Seville, surviving a tough match against Mario Vilella Martinez in the final qualifying round to go all the way and claim his fifth Challenger title, the first since Tampere 2016.
In the title match, Kimmer toppled another qualifier Alex Molcan 7-6 6-1 in an hour and 38 minutes, taking the opener in the tie break and dominating in the rest of the match. Molcan scored two breaks from four chances but it wasn't enough at least for a set, dropping 50% of the points in his games and not being able to follow the pace of his rival in set number two.
The match kicked off with back-to-back breaks before the Belgian moved ahead with another break in game five. Molcan pulled it back at 3-4 and they both served well to set up a tie break. Kimmer scored five mini-breaks to claim it 7-2 and he was the dominant figure in set number two, breaking his rival in games two and six to cross the finish line with a hold at 30 in the following game to secure the title.