Reilly Opelka, Elias Ymer and Alexander Bublik lead yongsters charge


by   |  VIEW 5124
Reilly Opelka, Elias Ymer and Alexander Bublik lead yongsters charge

* Bratislava, Slovakia, €106,000+H (Indoor Hard) : The 21-year-old Kazakh Alexander Bublik was on a verge of entering the Top 100 at the beginning of the season but his dreams were crushed after breaking his ankle at Indian Wells, returning at the end of April and barely winning any match in the next couple of months.

Entering Bratislava as a qualifier, Bublik wanted to finish a poor season with at least some positive notes and he certainly did that, winning eight matches in nine days to lift his third Challenger crown and the first since Aptos in August 2017.

In the title match, Alexander took down Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-4 in an hour and eight minutes, firing 14 aces and saving both break points he faced to keep the pressure on the Czech all the time. Rosol couldn't produce the same numbers in his games, facing nine break points and suffering one break in each set to settle with the runner-up spot.

Bublik earned a break in the seventh game of the opening set, saving those two break points at 5-4 while serving for the set and never looking back. The youngster lost just four points on serve in the second set and he grabbed a break at 3-3 just like in the opener, sealing the deal with a hold at love in game 10 to lift the title and return into the Top 200.

* Mouilleron le Captif, France, €85,000+H (Indoor Hard) : The 22-year-old Elias Ymer has managed to defend the title he won here 12 months ago, claiming his fifth Challenger title from as many finals after a 6-3 7-6 win over Yannick Maden in an hour and 48 minutes, the same rival whom he beat in the final last year! Both players served above 70% but Ymer drew more from that fact, winning 13 points more than his rival and saving three out of five break points.

Maden lost 45% of the points in his games and he had to play against nine break points, getting broken three times to end on the losing side, being two points away from the second set twice. The only break of the opening set came in game eight when Elias moved 5-3 ahead, sealing the deal with a hold at love in the game that followed and building the confidence before the rest of the match.

The second set saw an epic fight that lasted for more than 70 minutes and we saw two breaks on each side to reach a tie break, although Elias served for the win at 5-4 before getting broken. Maden led 5-4 in the tie break but Ymer found the way to win the last three points and wrap up the title in straight sets.

* Montevideo, Uruguay, $75,000+H (Outdoor Clay) : Competing at only his second Challenger of the season, Guido Pella took down the fellow Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 6-3 3-6 6-1 in two hours and 14 minutes for his 13th Challenger crown from just 15 finals played! Pella saved seven out of 10 break points to reduce the damage in his games against the veteran and he scored five breaks to clinch the win after a great performance in the deciding set.

Guido scored two straight breaks to take the opener 6-3 before Berlocq took charge to create a 5-1 lead in set number two. Pella pulled one break back and saved three set points at 2-5 but Carlos closed the set on own serve in game nine to set up a decider where Guido had the upper hand.

The younger player served well and he grabbed two breaks to rattle off the last five games and cross the finish line first. * Knoxville, USA, $75,000 (Indoor Hard) : Playing in his fourth Challenger final of the season, the 21-year-old American Reilly Opelka claimed his third title at this level to make another big step towards the place in the Top 100.

In the title match, the giant server toppled the fellow American Bjorn Fratangelo 7-5 4-6 7-6 in an hour and 59 minutes to earn 80 points and achieve a career-high ranking. Reilly blasted 26 aces and he won incredible 57 out of 64 points behind his first serve, facing just two break points and getting broken once.

Fratangelo fought well until the very last point, fending off five out of six break points to reach the deciding tie break where he lost three points on serve to hand the win to Reilly. Bjorn repelled three break points in the opening set, including a set point at 4-5, before Opelka found the way to break him in game 12 to grab the opener 7-5.

The youngster suffered a break in the third game of the second set and Fratangelo saved a break point in game 10 to take it 6-4 and force a decider where he saved another break chance in the eighth game to reach the tie break that Opelka won 7-2 to complete a great week and lift the trophy. Final results:

↓ SHOW RESULTS ↓