Coric headlines strong week of Challenger entrants

CROATIAN top 40 player Borna Coric is among the strong contingent of players taking part in ATP Tour Challenger events across the globe this week. Though the outlier in terms of his ranking – with many others outside the top 100 – Coric’s goal like his peers is to get more match practice in after bowing out in the first round of the Australian Open.

The world number 40 was unlucky to cop 17th seeded Frances Tiafoe in the Round of 128 at Melbourne Park, knocked out in a hard-fought four set match. It meant that aside from the United Cup where Coric played two matches, the talented European has only played one match since reaching the semi-final at Winston-Salem last August. There, he lost to Sebastian Baez, the same player who knocked him out a few days later in the US Open.

Coric is coming off a more consistent 2023 year with a 22-19 record not jumping off the page compared to his 20-13 one of the year before, but given Coric’s injury history – where he was reduced to nine matches in 2021 – it was great for the Croatian to get some more matches under the belt.

The Croatian is the only top 100 player in Belgium, where the BW Open – a Challenger 125 event – is taking place. He will face off against Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves in the Round of 32. He is joined at the event by fellow Frenchman and second seed, Benjamin Bonzi who is eyeing off re-entering the top 100. Former top 20 players David Goffin and Benoit Paire are also at the event, as is American young gun Brandon Nakashima who is coming off a Challenger title at Tenerife last week.

Fifth seeded Goffin leads the home nation assault, as he takes on compatriot Zizou Bergs in a battle of the top two highest ranked Belgians. Young gun Alexander Blockx is ranked 350th in the world but the 18-year-old is one to watch, having reached the Australian Open Junior Boys’ Singles final last year.

Speaking of home nation homes, across the border in France, there is no shortage of French hopes in the Quimper Challenger 125 event. Top seeded Gregoire Barrere is ranked 83rd in the world, with the late withdrawal of Hugo Gaston stopping it from France boasting the top four ranked players, with Arthur Rinderknech (second seed) and Constant Lestienne (fourth) the key players. American duo Michael Mmoh and Maxime Cressy are also among the key chances, while more than half of the 32-player draw set to come from France.


The one exception to the hardcourt events is over in Uruguay where at Challenger 75 tournament takes place on the clay. Unsurprisingly, the top ranked players are South Americans, with the tournament filled with local hopes. Top seed Federico Coria (84th) is ranked ahead of second seeded Cristian Garin, while Garin’s Chilean compatriot Tomas Barrios Vera is the other Top 100 player in the event.

Garin has a huge first round match against Marco Cecchinato who is a former top 20 talent. The Italian has had his fair share of injuries over teh years, but broke the glass ceiling in 2018 to become the first Sicilian tennis player to win an ATP Tour title at the Hungarian Open. Unfortunately for Cecchinato, it has been a long time between drinks, with his last victory coming back in July last year and is currently on an eight-game losing streak.


In the second of back-to-back tournaments at Indian Wells, American sixth seed Mitchell Krueger will hope to make it consecutive titles at the Southern California event. Krueger defeated compatriot and wildcard Brandon Holt, 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the Indian Wells 1 final last week, and will take on another United States representative in 22-year-old Omni Kumar in the first round. Holt, the fourth seed will face wildcard Ryan Seggerman.

Number one seed Zachary Svajda is ranked 143rd in the world, and one of just two top 200 players in the event alongside Italian Federico Gaio (198th). Argentinian Marco Trungelliti is third seed, while two-time Australian Open quarter finalist Tennys Sandgren is the fifth seed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments