Van Assche Survives Historic Challenger Closing; Purcell Completes Hat-Trick


French teen Luca Van Assche and Australian Max Purcell etched their names into the ATP Challenger Tour document books this week.

Van Assche, 18, saved two championship factors towards countryman Ugo Humbert to win the longest Challenger closing in historical past (three hours, 56 minutes) on the Terega Open Pau Pyrenees. Purcell prolonged his successful streak to fifteen by triumphing for a 3rd consecutive week in India. American Aleksandar Kovacevic additionally collected a title of his personal on the Texas Tennis Basic.

Within the Pau Challenger 125 closing in southern France, house hope Van Assche rallied from a double break down at 0-3 within the closing set and once more from 4/6 within the deciding-set tie-break earlier than successful 4 consecutive factors to outlive Humbert 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(6) and seize his second Challenger title.

ATP Challenger Tour 

“It was a loopy match, an incredible combat towards Ugo,” Van Assche mentioned. “I’m very pleased. A number of feelings throughout this match. I used to be main, then dropping. I used to be match level up, then match level down. It was a incredible match with nice assist from the gang.

“At 4/6 within the tie-break, I hoped he wouldn’t hit an ace! I used to be enjoying level by level, simply focussing on each level. I used to be slightly bit exhausted so I used to be not considering an excessive amount of, simply enjoying my sport.”

Van Assche, who gained the Maia Challenger in 2022, is the fourth Frenchman to win a number of Challenger titles earlier than turning 19, becoming a member of Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils, and Fabrice Santoro. The Belgian-born participant is the fifth #NextGenATP Challenger champion of the 12 months and joins Arthur Fils as the one teenage champions of 2023.

En path to the title, Van Assche wanted deciding units in 4 of his 5 matches and ousted the Prime 3 seeds: Arthur Rinderknech, Humbert, and Gijs Brouwer. The teenager rises to a career-high No. 110 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Luca Van Assche triumphs at the Challenger 125 in Pau.
Luca Van Assche triumphs on the Challenger 125 in Pau, France. Credit score: Alexis Atteret

There was no stopping Max Purcell on the Pune Metropolitan Area Challenger. After dropping the opening set in his first-round match towards Mukund Sasikumar, the 24-year-old didn’t lose a set the remainder of the week to assert a 3rd consecutive Challenger title (Chennai, Bengaluru). Within the championship match, the third seed defeated 19-year-old Italian Luca Nardi 6-2, 6-3.

“It’s nice to win three in a row,” Purcell mentioned. “In robust, sizzling situations too, I recovered nicely for the reason that first week and now I’m thrilled to maneuver into the Prime 100.”

Three weeks in the past, Purcell was No. 203 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, however following his trio of titles in India, the Sydney native climbs to a career-high 95.

Max Purcell in action at the 2023 Pune Challenger.
Max Purcell in motion on the Challenger 100 occasion in Pune. Credit score: Pune Metropolitan Area Challenger

The 2022 Wimbledon doubles champion (w/ Matthew Ebden) is the 14th participant to assert three consecutive Challenger titles and the primary since Ben Shelton did so this previous season (Charlottesville, Knoxville, Champaign). Purcell is the primary Australian to attain the feat in Challenger historical past.

On the Texas Tennis Basic in Waco, third seed Kovacevic dropped only one set en path to his second Challenger title of the season. The 24-year-old defeated Alexandre Muller within the closing 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Within the semi-finals, the American avenged his loss from final week’s Monterrey Challenger to Borna Gojo, who defeated him within the quarter-finals in Mexico en path to the title.


This previous month, Kovacevic won his maiden Challenger title in Cleveland, the place he defeated Wu Yibing in an exhilarating championship match earlier than the Chinese language star gained the ATP 250 occasion in Dallas the next week.

Now at a career-high 107, the previous College of Illinois standout Kovacevic units his sights on cracking the Prime 100 on the ATP Masters 1000 occasion in Indian Wells, the place he obtained a main-draw wild card.