The 2nd ATP Challenger Tour Finals will be held in São Paulo again. It’s a strange hybrid tour tour really. When the bigger ATP tournaments are in play, the bigger players drop into a challenger event. Other times, it’s a fairly unknown group of lower tier players. The rankings are therefore unusual with no real bearing on who is playing/qualifies for this tournament.
Of the players here that were true Challenger Tour grinders, only Victor Hanescu, Aljaz Bedene, Paolo Lorenzi, Guido Pella and Evgeny Donskoy appear in the top 10 rankings. Breakout players such as Martin Klizan (4 titles) and Jerzy Janowicz (3 titles) have no real need to play this event supposedly, but I would argue should be here.
Let’s break it down:
Surface: Indoor Hard
Players: Thomaz Bellucci (WC), Victor Hanescu, Paolo Lorenzi, Aljaz Bedene, Evgeny Donskoy, Guido Pella, Andreas Haider-Maurer and Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo
Defending Champion: Cedrik-Marcel Stebe – Played the main tour this year and so absent.
Slumping: Andreas Haider-Maurer – The Austrian played 20 events this year but a disappointing year overall.
On Fire: Evgeny Donskoy – The Russian llayed well recently and picked up 4 Challenger titles this year.
Dark Horse: Aljaz Bedene – Won 4 Challenger titles this year and the Slovenian is one to watch next year as a break out player.
My pick: Thomaz Bellucci – Feels a bit unfair that he is playing, since he’s by far the best player. Lost to Stebe last year, so maybe the Brazilian has a point to prove.
Here’s the list of Challenger Tour title winners in 2012:
- Aljaz Bedene – 4
- Martin Klizan – 4
- Andrey Kuznetsov – 4
- Yen-Hsun Lu – 4
- Evgeny Donskoy – 4
- Go Soeda – 3
- Daniel Gimeno Traver – 3
- Jerzy Janowicz – 3
- Igor Sijsling – 3
- Victor Hanescu – 3