Long journey, big reward: Shevchenko claims Tenerife Challenger | TBEN | Tennis

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After a first round defeat in qualifying for the Australian Open, Alexander Shevchenko made the long journey from Melbourne to Tenerife to compete in the ATP Challenger Tour event in the Canary Island.

While the journey may have been halfway around the world, it paid off as the 22-year-old didn’t drop a set all week on his way to claiming the Tenerife Challenger 1 where he defeated Austrian Sebastian Ofner 7-5, 6-2 in the final.

“The final was very tough,” said Shevchenko. “I had to be more aggressive and also had to take points defensively. Lots of fun emotions that I will remember for the rest of my career.”

Shevchenko is coached by Gunter Bresnik, who has worked with prominent players such as Boris Becker, Patrick McEnroe, Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils.

After winning his first Challenger title in Bratislava last season, Shevchenko was a two-time semi-finalist in the second half of 2022 (Milan, Szczecin). The Challenger 100 title in Tenerife takes him to career No. 116 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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“I’m closed [to the Top 100]Shevchenko said. “But I’m not here, so I have to work hard from next week, forget this week and start the new week.”

On the clay courts of Piracicaba, Andrea Collarini dispatched four of the Top-9 seeds, including World No. 102 Alejandro Tabilo, to win his first Challenger title since August 2019 (L’Aquila). The Argentinian defeated Chilean Tomas Barrios Vera in the final 6-2, 7-6(1) to win the Brasil Tennis Challenger.

“I can’t wait to celebrate with my wife and my family,” Collarini said. “I’m happy because I won another Challenger. The last one was three years ago and last year I reached two finals (Tigre-2, Vicenza) but I couldn’t win them. I’ve had good weeks and bad weeks. Now I am happy, because in those bad weeks I wondered if I could win another tournament, and I finally did.”

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<a href=Andrea Collarini triumphs at the Brasil Tennis Challenger.” />
Andrea Collarini triumphs at the Brazilian Tennis Challenger. Credits: João Pires

After a record 23 Challenger titles in 2022, players from Argentina are off to a fast start to surpass their own milestone. Juan Manuel Cerundolo collected a pair of titles in the first two weeks of the season and now Collarini joins the fellow southpaw as Argentine Challenger champion this month.

The title at the Challenger 75 event propels the 2010 Roland Garros boys’ finalist to a career high of 186 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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At the Bangkok Open 3, Japan’s Sho Shimabukuro took his first Challenger crown. En route to the title, the 25-year-old defeated top seed James Duckworth to end Frenchman Arthur Cazaux’s 13-match winning streak in the final 6-2, 7-5.

Shimabukuro is building on his best season in 2022 when he made his Davis Cup debut in September, narrowly escaping former world No. 33 Denis Istomin. The following month, the Gifu native reached qualification to compete in his first Tour tournament, the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

<a href=Sho Shimabukuro in action at the Bangkok Open 3.” />
Sho Shimabukuro in action at the Bangkok Open 3. Credit: The Lawn Tennis Association Of Thailand

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