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Pro Media & News

Tiafoe, Eubanks win

ATP Challenger singles titles

Arthur Kapetanakis  |  June 14, 2021
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Frances Tiafoe of United States celebrates after victory against Illya Marchenko of Ukraine during Day 5 of the Viking Nottingham Open at Nottingham Tennis Centre on June 09, 2021 in Nottingham, England. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
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Frances Tiafoe kicked off the grass-court season in the United Kingdom with his first professional title on the surface, while Christopher Eubanks won his first ITF singles title since 2018 on the USTA Pro Circuit, on the hard courts of the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Florida.

 

Tiafoe, the No. 2 seed at the ATP Challenger 125 event in Nottingham, defeated good friend Denis Kudla, 6-1, 6-3, in an all-American final. He won the trophy with the loss of just one set in five matches.

 

“I needed it bad this week and I’m really happy to be here," Tiafoe said after the match, as quoted on the LTA's official website. He also credited Kudla, five years his elder at 28, with providing inspiration for his career. Both men trained at JTCC—the Junior Tennis Champions Center—in College Park, Maryland, as juniors, with Tiafoe first meeting Kudla at the NJTL chapter at the age of 4. 

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"I wouldn’t be the guy I am today without Denis," he continued, before addressing Kudla directly. "I’ve been trying to chase you since I was a kid. It feels good to beat you today but I’ve always looked up to you and I'm happy that we’re still able to keep a good friendship.”

 

The Nottingham title is Tiafoe's second Challenger title in the last nine months. He has six Challenger titles in total, thanks to a 6-0 record in finals, in addition to his one ATP title in Delray Beach, Florida, in 2018. The 23-year-old reached a career-high ATP ranking of No. 29 in 2019, and now sits at No. 65.

 

Next up for the American is Queen's Club, where he will continue his Wimbledon preparations. He faces Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene in the first round on Tuesday.

 

Back stateside, Eubanks won his second career Challenger title at the second 2021 edition of the Orlando Open at the National Campus, an ATP Challenger 80 event (Jenson Brooksby won the first in April). After storming to the final without dropping a set, the 25-year-old went the distance in a 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory over Colombia's Nicolas Mejia to claim the title. The unseeded champion took out surpise semifinalist Sam Riffice one round earlier, with the 2021 NCAA men's singles champion continuing his run of success at the Campus.

 

With a career-high ATP ranking of No. 147 in 2019, Eubanks rose to No. 205 with the Orlando title. He now has seven ITF titles in his career—three in singles and four in doubles, including one Futures title in each discipline. 

 

American Christian Harrison took home the doubles trophy at the Orlando event, playing alongside Canada's Peter Polansky.

 

Twenty-year-old Govind Nanda was also victorious on the USTA Pro Circuit last week, after topping Patrick Kypson, 7-6, 6-2, in an all-American final at the M25 event in Wichita, Kansas.

 

On the ITF World Tennis Tour, Robin Anderson won the W25 singles title in Madrid, while the American doubles duo of Emina Bektas and Quinn Gleason won the W25 event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where Bektas also reached the singles final. Jessie Aney was also a doubles champion at the W15 event in Heraklion, Greece, while Taylor Ng won the doubles event at the W15 event in Antalya, Turkey.

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