Unstoppable Navone Nails Back-To-Back Challenger Titles, Reaches Career High

  • Posted: Oct 24, 2023

Unstoppable Navone Nails Back-To-Back Challenger Titles, Reaches Career High

Frenchman Jacquet wins maiden Challenger title

Nobody has won more ATP Challenger Tour titles this season than Mariano Navone. The Argentine claimed his fifth title of the year at that level this past weekend when he captured the AAT Challenger Santa Fe 2 on home soil.

The 22-year-old, who is one of four Challenger champions this past week, defeated Italian Andrea Pellegrino 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the final. Now at a career-high No. 127 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Navone has won 15 of his past 16 matches on the ATP Challenger Tour, including two consecutive titles after winning in Buenos Aires the week prior to Santa Fe.

“In May of last year I was losing in the first round of an M15 and today I have won five Challengers,” Navone said in Spanish. “To that kid I would tell him to be calm, that good things are going to come. At that moment it was difficult, but now we have to continue, finish the [season] as high as possible.”

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Navone is the sixth player with at least five Challenger titles in a season this past decade, joining Facundo Bagnis, Filip Krajinovic, Tallon Griekspoor, Sebastian Baez and Benjamin Bonzi. Navone is the fifth Argentine in ATP Challenger Tour history (since 1978) to collect five Challenger titles in a season.

In other action, Frenchman Kyrian Jacquet claimed his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title at the Olbia Challenger in Italy. The 22-year-old won seven matches in eight days as he advanced through qualifying en route to being crowned champion. Jacquet downed #NextGenATP star Flavio Cobolli 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

“It feels amazing. It was a tough week. I’m really happy about this win because now I’m in [good position for] Australian Open qualifying,” Jacquet said. “It was a long, hard week. Emotionally it was really tough. It was hard from the beginning to the end, but I never gave up and now I have the title.”

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Players from France have combined for a record-breaking 26 ATP Challenger Tour trophies this year, with the Lyon-native Jacquet becoming the 18th different champion from his country this season.

Following his triumph, Jacquet soared 101 spots to a career-high No. 201 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Cobolli, who won the Lisbon Challenger earlier this month, cracked the Top 100 for the first time Monday following his finalist finish in Olbia. The 21-year-old is also eighth in the Pepperstone ATP Race to Jeddah as he aims for his maiden qualification into the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Australian James Duckworth collected his first ATP Challenger Tour since 2021 by winning the Shenzhen Luohu Challenger, where he cruised past 19-year-old Chak Lam Coleman Wong 6-0, 6-1 in the final. Despite falling short in three Challenger finals in 2023, the 31-year-old Duckworth produced a high level to capture his 13th ATP Challenger Tour crown.

“Really happy to get through and get the win this week,” Duckworth said. “I had a couple of losses in finals this year that were pretty tough and I’m happy to win this one. I thought I played really well the last three matches. I was really focussed and locked in.”

<a href=James Duckworth wins the Challenger 75 event in Shenzhen, China.” />
James Duckworth wins the Challenger 75 event in Shenzhen, China. Credit: Shenzhen Louhu Challenger
Illya Marchenko won his second ATP Challenger Tour title of the season at the Hamburg Ladies & Gents Cup in Germany. The 36-year-old Ukrainian overcame Austrian Dennis Novak 6-2, 6-3 in the final to earn his 10th career title at the Challenger level.

“I played really well today,” Merchenko said. “It was an almost perfect match, certainly my best of the week. He had a few chances on my serve in the first set, but I served strongly and played good rallies. Overall, I’m very happy with my game.

“This is the first year I’ve been able to win two singles titles in the same season. At 36 years old it’s honestly quite surprising, but it feels great.”

<a href=Illya Marchenko wins the Challenger 50 event in Hamburg, Germany.” />
Illya Marchenko wins the Challenger 50 event in Hamburg, Germany. Credit: Witters

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