Humbert beats Thiem, Rennes captures ATP Challenger Tour title | TBEN | Tennis

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Two French left-handers won the ATP Challenger Tour titles on Sunday. Ugo Humbert defeated former US Open Dominic Thiem on home soil in Rennes to win his seventh Challenger title, while Corentin Moutet was victorious at the Szczecin Challenger and claimed his second Challenger title of the season (Lyon).

Players from France have now won 17 Challenger Tour titles this season, equaling Argentina’s season leader.

Humbert fended off all 21 breakpoints from the past week en route to capturing the Open Blot Rennes. In the championship game, the 24-year-old rode to a comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory over Thiem.

“I’m super happy, it was a really big race. A final is never easy, I managed to raise my level of play today,” said Humbert. “I could not have hoped for better, I had been looking for this level for a long time. I played well on the important points and felt that I had managed to crack him. To end the week like this is very strong. I’ve worked hard to get to this level.”

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The Frenchman has won his last nine finals at all levels, including the 2021 ATP 500 event in Halle (deceased Rublev), which propelled the lefty to a career-high number 25 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings. This week marked Humbert’s first appearance in a final since claiming the title in Halle and his first Challenger final since October 2019 (Brest).

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Humbert, who has three Tour levels, started this season with a win over then world champion Daniil Medvedev at the season opening ATP Cup. This summer, he reached three consecutive Challenger semifinals: Pozoblanco, Segovia and Vancouver. Humbert’s homegrown title this week lifts him to No. 110 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings.

“The Challengers are so tough, over time I knew it would put a smile on my face,” said Humbert. “Eventually it’s this week and in France, which makes it even better. I want to finish in the Top 100 and sit on the table for a Grand Slam. If I play at this level, I can hope for better things.”

Thiem, 29, took part in his third Challenger event of the year as he looks set to return to form after suffering a wrist injury last season that forced him to miss nine months. In his semi-final, he defeated leader Hugo Gaston 6-2, 7-5.

At the Peko Szczecin Open, Moutet claimed his sixth Challenger title by beating Austrian Dennis Novak 6-2, 6-7 (5) and 6-4 in the final.

The 23-year-old arrived in Poland after reaching the fourth round of the US Open, where he lost to eventual finalist Casper Ruud in four sets. The title lifts the Frenchman to a career-high World No. 64.

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<a href=Corentin Moutet claims his second Challenger title this season.” />
Corentin Moutet claims his second Challenger title this season. Credit: Peko Szczecin Open

“I’m very happy to win here, especially today, it was a very difficult game,” Moutet said. “Every time I play against Dennis it’s a hard fight, so I’m really happy to have won this time. After the US Open it is a good result for the first tournament on clay. I feel healthy and still feel fresh for the next week.”

In the final, Moutet avenged his 2021 loss to Novak, who won in a three-hour, 10-minute clash in the Orleans Challenger. It was another exciting battle in Szczecin as the Frenchman held his nerves and turned 7/14 breakpoints into triumph.

At the Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, North Carolina, home favorite Michael Mmoh won over Germany’s Dominik Koepfer 7-5, 6-3 to capture his first Challenger title since 2019. The 24-year-old, with six Challenger titles (all on home soil), rises to No. 133 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings and has his sights set on a strong finish to the season.

“I have a gear that I can work towards, which is exciting, but I still played this match at a high level,” said Mmoh. “When the opportunities came to be grabbed, I grabbed them. Whoever changed direction first with a good ball won the point.

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“Early this year I said my goal was to finish in the Top 100. After this event and the momentum I have, that goal is still alive.”

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American Michael Mmoh claims the Cary Challenger. Credit: Atlantic Tire Championships

Mmoh, who won the Tallahassee Challenger in April and reached the semifinals in Cleveland and Malaga, reached a career-high World No. 96 after collecting consecutive titles in Columbus, Ohio and Tiburon, California.

It took Radu Albot of Moldova just 66 minutes to beat Lukas Rosol 6-2, 6-0 and win 21/23 points on his first pitch to win the Istanbul Challenger TED Open.

<a href=Radu Albot captures the title in Istanbul, Turkey.” />
Radu Albot captures the title in Istanbul, Turkey. Credit: Istanbul Challenger TED Open

Albot, placed second, claimed his ninth Challenger title and his first this season. In 2019, the 32-year-old took a personal best of 31 Tour-level victories, including his first TBEN title at Delray Beach (d. Evans, who saved 3 MPs), climbing to a career-high No. 39 in the Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

Rosol ousted Australian James Duckworth in the first round and didn’t drop a set en route to the final in Turkey.

ATP Challenger Tour

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