Fans at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France are in for a treat Sunday, when three-time major champion Andy Murray and World No. 17 Tommy Paul will battle for the title.

Murray and Paul both earned straight-set victories in Saturday’s semifinals at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole. The Briton Murray displayed superb all-court coverage and fended off all four break points faced to down home hope Harold Mayot 7-5, 6-1.

Mayot, 21, showed a variety of tactics, often deploying drop shots and working his way forward in his first Challenger semi-final of the year.

Top seed Paul, who is yet to drop a set this week, defeated David Goffin 6-4, 6-2 in the last four after the American won 54 per cent of return points.

“Goffin is an unreal player, he’s had an unreal career,” Paul said. “I think I returned really well and played the big points well. There were a couple times where I was down break point and I came up with a first serve. I was really happy with that.”

Tommy Paul in action at the ATP Challenger Tour 175 event in Aix-en-Provence, France. Credit: Jared Wickerham/ATP Tour

Looking ahead to Sunday’s blockbuster final, both Murray and Paul feel their level has improved as the week’s gone on.

“[It will be] a great challenge for me. Tommy has had a great year so far, playing the best tennis of his career,” Murray said. “He’s played well this week also. He’s a brilliant athlete. My game I think is in a good place. I feel like I’ve played much better the last couple matches. Hope for another good performance tomorrow.”

Paul said, “The field is definitely strong here [in Aix-en-Provence]. There’s a tonne of really, really good players. I knew that every match I had to play better and better and I think every match, I have played a little better. I’m happy with how today went. Looking forward to the match tomorrow.”

In 2021, Paul defeated Murray in their lone ATP Tour-level meeting at the 250 event in Stockholm, where the American went on to win the title.

Both staples on the ATP Tour, Murray could claim his first Challenger title since winning the Binghamton Challenger in 2005. Paul last won a Challenger title in 2019, when he won the Tiburon Challenger.

In doubles action, Australians Jason Kubler and John Peers will contest Portugal’s Nuno Borges and Francisco Cabral in Sunday’s championship match.

Did You Know?
This season, the ATP Challenger Tour announced the all-new 175 events, which are played during the second week of select ATP Masters 1000 events. The Arizona Tennis Classic in March was the Challenger 175 event debut, which Portugal’s Nuno Borges won. Bordeaux, France and Turin, Italy will also host Challenger 175 tournaments later this month.

Packed house in Provence 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦#ATPChallenger

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 6, 2023