ATPTour.com highlights 5 gamers who tasted success on the ATP Challenger Tour this season earlier than shining at one of many 4 majors.
Coming into the season, the American was ranked outdoors the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with only one main main-draw win. Closing 2022 by profitable 11 of his remaining 14 Challenger-level matches was an indication of issues to come back for Eubanks. 1 / 4-final look on the ATP Masters 1000 occasion in Miami led Eubanks to his Top 100 debut.
During a South Korean Challenger swing throughout April and May, Eubanks reached two quarter-finals and a semi-final. The former Georgia Tech University standout began his grass season on the Surbiton Challenger, struggling a second-round exit. Then his life modified.
The 27-year-old collected his maiden ATP Tour degree title in Mallorca and accomplished a dream run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. En path to the final eight on the All England Club, Eubanks ousted fifteenth seed Cameron Norrie and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“My grass-court season acquired off to a little bit of a tough begin on the Surbiton Challenger. I started to query whether or not or not I could possibly be good on the floor. I did not assume that I might,” Eubanks mentioned in July. “But my coach, Ruan Roelofse, and I, we put in lots of work on the grass to try to perceive the footing and the pictures and the whole lot that I would wish to have so as to achieve success.”
Making Swiss tennis historical past isn’t straightforward. After all, 20-time main champion Roger Federer and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka have etched their names into virtually each document e book for his or her residence nation. But the lefty Stricker managed to carve out a distinct segment place within the document books by profitable the Prague Challenger in May and develop into the one Swiss participant to win 5 Challenger titles earlier than his twenty first birthday.
Stricker, who additionally gained the Rovereto Challenger in February, loved a breakthrough on the US Open, the place he superior by means of qualifying en path to a fourth-round look. In the second spherical, Stricker shocked Tsitsipas after firing 78 winners in a five-set thriller that lasted 4 hours, 10 minutes.
“I used to be down 3-5 after which I got here again within the fourth set. I do not understand how, however I did it one way or the other after which I saved enjoying very excessive degree tennis. I’m a bit speechless,” Stricker mentioned on the time.
His deep run at Flushing Meadows propelled him into the Top 100 for the primary time on 11 September. The 21-year-old turned the youngest Swiss to achieve the milestone since 20-year-old Wawrinka did so in 2005.
Dominic Stricker celebrates profitable the Rovereto Challenger. Credit: Felice Calabro
The 22-year-old Australian partnered countryman Jason Kubler for the primary time at their residence Slam. The outcome? A fairytale run to their first Grand Slam title.
“I might by no means have imagined this, it’s simply unreal,” Hijikata mentioned.
The dream begin to the yr continued for Hijikata, who didn’t drop a set en path to profitable the Burnie Challenger, simply eight days after profitable the Australian Open doubles crown.
A wild card into the US Open, Hijikata reached the fourth spherical (l. Tiafoe), to earn his Top 100 debut. After the season’s remaining main, the previous University of North Carolina star reached the Cary Challenger remaining and superior to the final 4 on the Playford and Sydney Challengers.
“The Challenger Tour has been nice for me. There’s so many high quality gamers on the Challenger Tour and I actually really feel like the extent isn’t too totally different between Challengers and ATP Tour occasions,” Hijikata mentioned. “To make that transition is essential, to play Challengers and put your self week in and week out in opposition to some high quality gamers, simply having the ability to again up good weeks week after week is tough to do and essential.”
Not many gamers have been extra profitable on the ATP Challenger Tour within the first half of the yr than Ofner. The 27-year-old Austrian reached 4 Challenger finals earlier than his career-best second at Roland Garros.
Ofner certified for the clay-court main and confirmed no indicators of slowing down. After racing previous Maxime Cressy and Sebastian Korda, Ofner survived his second profession five-setter, in opposition to Fabio Fognini, earlier than falling to fifth seed Tsitsipas within the fourth spherical.
Following his deep run in Paris, Ofner jumped 37 spots within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to mark his Top 100 debut. He then reached the Ilkley Challenger remaining in June and gained his fourth Challenger title in July in Salzburg. Ofner completed the season at a career-high No. 43.
The 22-year-old was the one Italian to win a trio of ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023, with triumphs in Tenerife, Murcia and Heilbronn. Arnaldi earned his first Top 10 victory by defeating World No. 4 Casper Ruud in Madrid, the place he additionally secured his Top 100 breakthrough.
In New York, Arnaldi’s profession hit new heights. The Sanremo native superior to the fourth spherical, having defeated sixteenth seed Norrie alongside the way in which to an Arthur Ashe Stadium match in opposition to high seed Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated Arnaldi in straight units.
After beginning the season at No. 134, Arnaldi boasted a 16-5 Challenger-match document and hit a career-high No. 41 in October.