Champions Tennis League Blog

01 August 2016, Monday
In a week where there was an ATP Masters 1000 and a WTA Premier tournament being played, success for CTL Stars came in the ATP Challenger Tour. Santiago Giraldo and Divij Sharan were the ones to lift trophies over the weekend. 
Ivo Karlovic’s strong run in the North American hard court swing continued in the Rogers Cup, the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto, and he upset his compatriot and 8th seed, Marin Cilic in straight sets in the second round.  This was after he subdued the challenge of rising youngster, Taylor Fritz in the first round.  Karlovic was finally beaten by Grigor Dimitrov in the round of 16.  Nevertheless, Karlovic has had a fabulous 3 weeks winning 10 of his last 12 matches and his ranking has risen to 26.
Meanwhile in the WTA equivalent of the Rogers Cup took place in Montreal.  Heather Watson, riding on her mixed doubles success in Wimbledon, continued to impress in the doubles event.  Along with experienced doubles specialist, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Watson reached the quarterfinals of the event.  Elina Svitolina reached the furthest in the singles event reaching the round of 16 before falling to Angelique Kerber in an epic 3 set encounter. Svitolina won the first set 6-1 before Kerber fought back to win in 3 sets.
Having fallen out of the top 100, Santiago Giraldo began his climb back up the rankings by trying to gain precious ATP points in the Challenger circuit. This week, Giraldo competed in the Prague Challenger which had a pretty strong field.  
Giraldo was seeded 6th in the draw and was placed in the same half of the draw as in form players like Martin Klizan and Nikoloz Basilashvili.  Giraldo’s best win came against Martin Klizan in the quarterfinals.  Giraldo beat Klizan in straight sets 6-1, 7-5.  The win is mighty impressive considering the fact that Klizan won the ATP 500 title in Hamburg just a couple of weeks ago.  Giraldo had to dig deep to win the final against Uladzimir Ignatik in three well competed sets 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7-2).  This was Giraldo’s 9th ATP Challenger title and his first in three years.  With a highest ranking of 28, Giraldo has shown potential to mix with the very best.  The climb back to the top could start with this title at Prague.
Divij Sharan and Purav Raja have had an amazing run post the French Open.  After having won two grass court challenger titles, they went on to reach the semifinals of the ATP 250 events in Newport and Gstaad the last two weeks.  They were seeded 3rd in the Segovia Challenger tournament in Spain and one of the favourite teams to lift the title.  They played stellar tennis all week and did not disappoint the Indian fans.   They did not lose a single set till the final and won the title clincher 10-8 in a deciding set match tie-break.  This was the third Challenger doubles title for the pair and helped Divij Sharan rise to a doubles ranking of 87 in the world.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who featured in both editions of the Champions Tennis League combined to reach the semifinals of the Lexington Challenger in USA.  Ramkumar also reached the round of 16 in the singles event.