While the focus this week was on the anti-climatic conclusion of the Barclays World Tour Finals, several notable competitors made significant strides on the Challenger Circuit.
Adrian Mannarino Lifts Champaign Crown
While he required three sets to get past the first two rounds of the JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana, France’s Adrian Mannarino lost only four games in the final to defeat Frederik Nielsen 6-2, 6-2 to lift the title. His win snaps a streak of five successive American champions at the tournament. This was also his fifth title of the season, which ties him for first place I the leaderboard with Gilles Muller.
I played really well and returned well from the beginning. I think Frederik was tired from his qualifying rounds and tried to play too fast and ended up making a few too many mistakes. Overall I was just solid.
“This tournament was special because it was the last one of the year and coming out with a win was really nice. I’ll also get my best ranking next week.
Pablo Cuevas Victorious at the Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil
While David Goffin won the Comeback Player of the Year for his breakthrough season in 2014, another notable athlete who had an incredible season following a comeback from two knee surgeries is Pablo Cuevas. The Uruguayan won his maiden title on the ATP World Tour in Umag in July and finished his season with a title win at the Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil.
The world No. 32 won the title via walkover after Paolo Lorenzi was forced to withdraw with a stomach illness.
“I am happy, but that was not the way I would have had liked to win the final. I was improving match by match, I was feeling better and was prepared to win the trophy.
“I still don’t know if I will be seeded (at the 2015 Australian Open). I have tournament next week in Montevideo and still have the possibility of winning some (Emirates ATP Rankings) points. After, I will have time to rest a little and start 2015 with a lot of energy and go for more.”