Alcaraz on the threshold of Paradise. Ruud climbs to seventh place

At the Challenger 80 in Lugano (indoor concrete) Luca Nardi he dominated the tournament, although he allowed himself, along the way, a few moments of distraction that could cost him dearly. Especially in the quarter-finals when, against the Swiss peer Jerome Kym (# 1025 ATP), had to recover after losing the first set, even canceling a match point in the decisive tie-break. In the final he then found the other Swiss Leandro Riedi (20 years old and 590 ATP, in 2020 defeated in the final by Dominic Stricker at Roland Garros junior) who defended himself with courage, forcing the Pesaro to another comeback race (4-6 6-2 6-3) even if it cannot be said that Luca has ever seriously risked losing. For the 18-year-old blue talent it is the second Challenger victory after that of Forlì at the end of last season. A success that earned him the new best ranking at position 231, with a view to the qualifiers in Paris. A passage that for young tennis players means the true entrance into adulthood. And Luca’s talent deserved this consecration, which we are convinced is only the first of the many steps that will follow.

In Saint-Brieuc (Challenger 80, indoor hard) the 20 year old Jack Drapercurrently 124 ATP but running at breakneck speed towards the top 10 (in our opinion by the end of the year), he joked with his opponents, making the figure of the adult who steals candy from children. Certainly some children resisted, like Antoine Escoffier, who forced him to the third set in the semifinals, or the Belgian Zizou Bergs (# 186 ATP) who gave life to a final that was more fought than Draper would have liked, even if it must be said that the English never gave the impression of being able to lose. Of course he gave Bergs too much confidence, surprisingly losing the second set and not capitalizing on a break advantage in the decisive set. Then when he went to respond on 5-4 in his favor he put an end to the contest at the first match point (6-2 5-7 6-4).

With this victory the young Englishman gets to four Challenger career successes (all in this 2022, three of which in Forlì). We have already written several times about this 20 year old with great service, but complete in all the fundamentals and even quick in moving (considering the fairly massive physique). You will forgive our insistence, but how can you not fall in love with someone who in Miami, in his first experience among the ‘grownups’, made Cameron Norrie (# 10 ATP) sweat cold? He is already at that level and the clay season is about to begin, a surface that in theory is not favorable to him, can only delay his gallop a bit, but then grass and concrete will come and it will be pains for everyone.

At the Challenger 80 in Oeiras (clay) the landlord wins Gastao Elias who in the final has the better of the Croatian Nino Serdarusic (n.207 ATP) quite clearly (6-3 6-4). Elias, who during the tournament eliminated our Vavassori and Giannessi, among others, repeats the success of last May here in Oeiras and hits the ninth Challenger victory in his career. The Croatian Serdarusic stops for the fourth time one step away from victory and has to postpone the appointment with the first successful Challenger. He will try to console himself with the new best ranking at position # 183, even if his mood must not be the best since he had just finished complaining on social media about how it was not fair for a top 200 player like him not to be able to go financially. not even hitting a Challenger semifinal. An age-old problem that we are well aware of.

Good tournament for ours Alessandro Giannessi who was stopped in the semifinals by the future winner but who can still be satisfied with this result which confirms the very recent one of Roseto degli Abruzzi.

At the Challenger 125 in Marbella (clay) in the end the 24 year old wins Jaume Munar who arrived in the final with the headlights off, while all the spotlights were for Dominic Thiem And Stan Wawrinka. In the final he beat the Argentine Pedro Cachin, Thiem’s ​​executioner, with a dry 6-2 6-2. The Mallorca native, former Nadal protege, will never be a phenomenon but has always been a consistent player that no one, especially on clay, ever hopes to meet. In fact, six of his seven Challenger successes have matured right on the ground.

We also played a Pereira in Colombia (Challenger 80, clay) and the Argentine won Facundo Bagnis (seeded # 1) who in the final planed (6-3 6-0) his compatriot Facundo Mena (n.181 ATP). Thanks to this success (the 15th Challenger in his career) Bagnis returns to the top 100 at the 93rd position, while the loser, on the threshold of 30 years, improves his best by climbing to the 159 ATP.

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