Three Week 10 challenger events came to a close on Sunday, each with its share of interesting/feelgood highlights.
First and foremost, Amer Delic made his first return to the challenger winner’s circle in almost 3 years, netting his 6th Challenger title overall when opponent Karol Beck had to retire in the warm-up before the Sarajevo Challenger final, citing a back injury. Beck had defeated top-seed Grigor Dimitrov in the first round, fifth seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the quarters, and surprise semifinalist Mirza Basic to get the last stage, so it’s a shame that his run had to end so ingloriously.
Still, despite the anticlimactic final, it was a thrilling tournament overall – one that saw two Bosnians (Basic and Delic) reach the semis of their home tourney. And Delic’s thrilling semifinal victory over second seed Nicolas Mahut – saving three match points in a 6-4 1-6 7-6(8) win – provided enough excitement to mitigate the disappointment of a finale unrealized. Delic’s win will likely land him back in the Top 300, after losing so much time to injury.
Amer In Red
On a personal level, it’s great to see Amer – one of the game’s nice guys and a terrific ambassador for the sport – playing again at such a high and healthy level. I know he reached the finals of the Champaign Challenger last year, but I wasn’t able to actually witness it. So it was great to see (albeit on a stream of questionable quality) him playing great ball this week.