Following his semi-final run at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals, Dominic Stricker was eyeing another standout season on the ATP Challenger Tour. However, the Swiss had to battle through a turbulent start to the year before collecting his fourth Challenger title in Rovereto, Italy on Sunday. The #NextGenATP star is among four Challenger champions this week.

The 20-year-old made Swiss tennis history when he won the Citta’ Di Rovereto final against home favourite Giulio Zeppieri 7-6(8), 6-2. Stricker joins Stan Wawrinka as the only Swiss players to win four Challenger titles before their 21st birthday.

Stricker, who fended off five set points in the opening set against third seed Zeppieri, reached the final round of qualifying at the Australian Open, but is still aiming for his maiden Grand Slam appearance.


After a first-round exit at the Vilnius Challenger, where he was the top seed, Stricker found himself nearing another disappointing opening-round loss in Rovereto. Down a set and a break in the first round against Mili Poljicak, the former junior World No. 3 rallied to survive and win the tournament.

“Winning a title after a little bit of a struggle is great,” Stricker said. “I’m back fully motivated and happy. I think I’m on a good way now. [My goal for this year] was to not have one week winning a title and then losing three first rounds, just to be more consistent.

“For my ranking, Top 100 would be great, but the rankings change so quickly. A lot can happen in one week.”

Following his triumph in Rovereto, the lefty climbs to 120 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and is just nine spots from tying his career-high.

The #NextGenATP Zeppieri, who won last week’s Cherbourg Challenger, propels to a career-high 115 following his nine-match winning streak.

At the Bengaluru Open in India, Max Purcell battled from a set down in the championship match to down second seed and countryman James Duckworth 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5). The 24-year-old Purcell is riding a 10-match winning streak.

Max Purcell is crowned champion at the 2023 Bengaluru Challenger. Credit: Bengaluru Open

The Sydney native, who fended off two championship points last week to win the Chennai Challenger, is the first Australian to win back-to-back Challenger titles since Jordan Thompson in 2018 (Traralgon, Canberra). A four-time Challenger champion, Purcell rises to a career-high 116 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

In Monterrey, Mexico, Nuno Borges saved 10 of 11 break points faced all week to claim his third Challenger title at the Abierto GNP Seguros. Now at a career-high 85, Borges defeated Croatian Borna Gojo 6-4, 7-6(6) in the final.

Following the 2022 US Open, Borges became the fourth Portuguese player to crack the Top 100 in the past decade, joining Joao Sousa, Pedro Sousa, and Gastao Elias (in 2016, Joao Sousa reached the highest ranking in Portuguese tennis history when he climbed to a career-high No. 28).

Nuno Borges in early-round action at the 2023 Monterrey Challenger. Credit: Abierto GNP Seguros

In the semi-finals of the 2018 NCAA singles championship, the Wake Forest University standout Gojo took out Mississippi State’s Borges but the Mexico encounter went in favour of the Portuguese, who captured his first hard-court title in Monterrey. In 2019, Borges’ prominent college career included a 31-match winning streak before falling short in the NCAA Singles Championship (l. Jubb).

In Rome, Georgia, top seed Jordan Thompson didn’t drop a set all week en route to winning his 10th Challenger title. In the final, the 28-year-old won 20 of 24 first serve points to take down wild card Alex Michelsen 6-4, 6-2 at Georgia’s Rome Tennis Open.

Jordan Thompson during Sunday’s final in Rome, Georgia. Credit: Georgia’s Rome Tennis Open

Following Purcell and Thompson’s Challenger titles this weekend, players from Australia have combined for an early season-leading five Challenger titles.

Michelsen, 18, was competing in just his third Challenger event. The California native is the youngest American to reach a Challenger final since Frances Tiafoe in 2016 (Tallahassee). Still a senior in high school, World No. 356 Michelsen received a special exemption into the Waco Challenger, as he was still competing in Georgia when the Texas Tennis Classic draw was made.


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