* Cleveland, USA, $81,240+H (Indoor Hard) : UCLA senior Maxime Cressy has never played a Challenger event in his young career before 2019 and he needed just two main draw appearances to lift the first trophy in Cleveland! The 21-year-old who is almost two-meter tall had to qualify to enter the main draw, ranked outside the top-500, and he won seven matches in seven days to wrap up the triumph, saving two match points in a 6-7, 7-6, 6-3 win over Mikael Torpegaard in the final.
The giant server blasted 22 aces and repelled all six break points he faced to keep the pressure on the Dane who had the opportunity to seal the deal in the closing stages of the second set before losing ground in the decider.
There were no breaks of serve in the opening set and Torpegaard claimed it with a solid performance in the tie break and a volley winner at 6-4 that gave him the lead. Mikael was on a roll in set number two as well, having the opportunity to clinch the win with two match points up for grabs on the return in games ten and 12.
Cressy stayed calm, fending them off with two booming serves and taking the breaker 8-6 to prolong the match and set a decider. The American served well in set number three while Torpegaard failed to leave those match points behind him, wasting a game point at 3-4 and suffering a break after a costly double fault that sealed his fate in this final.
Serving for the title, Maxime brought the match home with a great serve&volley combo for his second professional title after conquering Tallahassee Futures in December. * Launceston, Australia, $54,160+H (Outdoor Hard) : The top seed Lloyd Harris, another 21-year-old with the efficient first serve, went all the way in Launceston, winning the title in dominant style for his third Challenger crown and the place in the top-100 for the first time in a career! Lloyd needed just an hour to topple the 12th seed Lorenzo Giustino 6-2, 6-2, fending off all five break points and stealing half of the return points to secure four breaks that propelled himself over the finish line.
Lloyd settled into a nice rhythm right from the start, dropping four points on serve in four service games of the opening set and forcing an error from Giustino to break him in the third game. The South African broke at love at 4-2 and he closed the set with an ace a few minutes later, rattling off 12 of the last 13 points for a massive lead.
Lloyd struggled a little bit on serve in the second set although he managed to save all five break points in the second and sixth games, keeping Lorenzo under pressure and waiting for a chance on the return patiently. Just like in the first set, Giustino was broken in the third game following a backhand error and he sprayed another one at 2-4, leaving Harris to serve for the title in the next game.
The youngster held at 15 to finish another great week and earn the place in the top-100 where he joins Kevin Anderson as the second South African in the elite group. * Quimper, France, €46,600+H (Indoor Hard) : Gregoire Barrere claimed the first Challenger crown since Lille in March last year, coming from a set down to oust Daniel Evans 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and 48 minutes.
Serving at 71%, the Frenchman hit 13 aces and he repelled 11 out of 13 break points he faced to limit the damage in his games and prevail with four breaks in sets two and three. Evans suffered a break at 1-2 in the third set and Barrere served well in the remaining three games to wrap up the win and lift the trophy.
* Cleveland, USA, $81,240+H (Indoor Hard) :
[Q]Maxime Cressy (USA) vs Mikael Torpegaard (DEN) 6-7(4) 7-6(6) 6-3 [2:19]
* Launceston, Australia, $54,160+H (Outdoor Hard) :
LLoyd Harris (AUS) vs Lorenzo Giustino (ITA) 6-2 6-2 [1:00]
* Quimper, France, €46,600+H (Indoor Hard) :
Gregoire Barrere (FRA) vs Daniel Evans (GBR) 4-6 6-2 6-3 [1:48]