Following a first round loss in Australian Open qualifying, Alexander Shevchenko made the long trip from Melbourne to Tenerife to compete in an ATP Challenger Tour event on the Canary Islands.
Although the trip may have been halfway around the world, it paid off as the 22-year-old didn’t drop a set all week to claim the Tenerife Challenger 1, where he beat Austrian Sebastian Ofner 7-5, 6-. 2 in the finals.
“The final was very difficult,” Shevchenko said. “I had to be more aggressive and also play defense and win some points. Lots of fun emotions which I will remember for the rest of my career.
Shevchenko is coached by Günter Bresnik, who has worked with leading players such as Boris Becker, Patrick McEnroe, Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils.
After claiming her first Challenger title in Bratislava last season, Shevchenko was a two-time semi-finalist in the latter half of 2022 (Milan, Szczecin). The Challenger 100 title in Tenerife propelled him to a career-high No. 116 on the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
“I’m close [to the Top 100], ”Shevchenko said. “But I’m not there, so I have to work hard from next week, forget about this week and start a 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 her first Challenger title since August 2019 (L’Aquila). The Argentine clinched the Brazil Tennis Challenger, defeating Chile’s Tomas Barrios Vera 6-2, 7-6(1) in the final.
“I can’t wait to celebrate with my wife and my family,” Collerini said. “I’m happy because I won a challenger again. The last one was three years ago and this past year I reached two finals (Tigre-2, Vicenza) but I couldn’t win them. I have good weeks and bad weeks. Now I am happy because in those bad weeks I was wondering if I would win a tournament again and finally I did.”
Andrea Callarini won the Brazil Tennis Challenger. Credit: Joao Pires
After a record-setting 23 Challenger titles in 2022, the Argentine player is off to a fast start to surpass his own milestone. Juan Manuel Cerundolo grabbed a couple of titles in the first two weeks of the season and now Colerini joins fellow lefty as Argentine Challenger champions this month.
The title at the Challenger 75 event propelled the 2010 Roland Garros boys’ singles finalist to a career-high 186 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
At the Bangkok Open 3, Sho Shimabukuro of Japan captured his first Challenger crown. En route to the title, the 25-year-old beat top seed James Duckworth and ended Frenchman Arthur Cajoux’s 13-match winning streak in the final 6-2, 7-5.
Shimabukuro is building on the best season of his career in 2022 when he made his Davis Cup debut in September and narrowly survived former world No. 33 Denis Istomin. The following month, the Gifu native advanced through qualifying to compete in his first tour-level tournament, an ATP 500 event in Tokyo.
Sho Shimabukuro in action at the Bangkok Open 3. Credits: Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand