by Florian Heer
For the second consecutive time, two Italians will meet in a singles final of the Tenerife Challenger series. After the success of Matteo Arnaldi over his compatriot Raul Brancaccio last weekend, this Sunday Stefano Travaglia and Matteo Gigante will play for the title of the Tenerife Challenger 3.
Travaglia battled past fifth-seeded Briton Ryan Peniston 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 on a sunny Saturday in Guía de Isora. The 31-year-old wild card entry sent down four aces and won two points more than his rival to secure victory in two hours and 24 minutes.
“It was a tough match right from the beginning and in the first set I immediately spent a lot of physical and mental energy,” said 409th-ranked Travaglia. “In the second set my opponent changed the pace, but in the third I found my best tennis.”
Gigante wins two matches, advances to maiden Challenger final
Gigante pulled double duty to reach his maiden final on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 21-year-old lucky loser backed up a win earlier in the day against Spaniard Pablo Llamas Ruiz (6-2, 6-4) with a hard-fought 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over fellow Italian Riccardo Bonadio.
The World No. 232 struck seven aces, won 77 per cent of his first-service points and broke his opponent four times to prevail after two hours and 36 minutes.
“In the first match I played well, then I recharged my batteries for the match with “Bonny”, which was a real battle,” said Gigante.
Gigante, who celebrated his maiden triumph on the Pro Circuit at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt last year, is bidding for the biggest title of his career. Travaglia could lift his sixth ATP Challenger career trophy, his first since the 2021 Sibiu Open in Romania. Both players met for the first-time last week in the second round of the Tenerife Challenger 2. Gigante won in straight sets.
The two have a very good relationship and have recently been training together at the Enjoy Sporting Club. “We often play in Rome. Last week’s match counts for nothing. Stefano is playing very well, and it will be a great final,” said Gigante.
Harris/Harrison triumph in doubles
Later in the evening and under the lights on Centre Court at the Abama Tennis Academy, Andrew Harris from Australia and US-American Christian Harrison captured the doubles title. The No. 4 seeds edged past third favourites Luke Johnson from Great Britain and Sem Verbeek of the Netherlands 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 10-8 in two hours and two minutes.
By winning their second team title after Little Rock, United States last year, Harris and Harrison split €9,880 in prize money and pocketed 75 ATP Doubles Ranking points.
President of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation visits Tenerife Challenger
Off the courts, the Tenerife Challenger earned a visit from Miguel Díaz Román, president of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), who attends the final weekend of the tournament series on the biggest of the Canary Islands.
“Not too many years ago we only had two Challenger tournaments in Spain,” Díaz Román said. “Thanks to companies like MEF Tennis Events, which are specialized in the organisation of international tennis tournaments, we had the opportunity to increase this number. We can only thank Marcello Marchesini for this. The three Tenerife Challengers are important for our development and Spanish players have the opportunity to compete in tournaments at home, so they can earn ranking points without leaving the country.”
Reigning US Open junior champion Martín Landaluce is one of the young Spaniards, who played at this year’s Tenerife Challenger series. “I don’t want to compare him to Carlos Alcaraz, but Martín Landaluce has all the ingredients to become a champion,” the RFET president commented on the prospects of the 17-year-old from Madrid.
A total of 15 Challenger events are scheduled to be held in Spain this season.
“It is very important for us to organise tournaments in Spain. To start with three Challengers, being held in a wonderful place like the Abama Tennis Academy is special,” said Díaz Román, who considers the organisation of professional events to be fundamental in his vision. The next step in this direction could be the organisation of an ATP Challenger 175, a category that has been added to the calendar for the first time this year.
“I like this novelty and I have also discussed it with Marcello Marchesini. I think it is a feasible objective for the future.”