Mens Tennis

From New York To Shanghai: O'Connell Wins Challenger Crown, Reaches Career-High

Following Christopher O’Connell’s second-round appearance at the US Open, where he pushed finalist Daniil Medvedev to four sets, the Australian made the long journey from New York to Shanghai, where he competed at the ATP Challenger 100 event, the Road to the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

Despite the lengthy trip, the 29-year-old did not drop a set en route to the title, which lifted him to a career-high No. 53 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. O’Connell, who is one of six Challenger champions this week, defeated Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki 6-3, 7-5 in the final. Despite Watanuki’s 20 aces, O’Conell held the edge on second serve, winning 68 per cent of his second-serve points, compared to his opponent’s 32 per cent.

“I loved playing here. As soon as I arrived here, I felt pretty comfortable. It was a tough trip coming from the US Open, playing a tough match against Medvedev,” O’Connell said. “I continued playing some really good tennis. I love the conditions here, the humidity. I’ve been training prior to the US Open in Florida with conditions similar to this, so that really helped with how I played this week.”


The ATP Challenger Tour made its long-awaited return to China three weeks ago after a near four-year absence on the calendar. Starting next week, China will host four tour-level tournaments in as many weeks. O’Connell looks to maintain his form in Asia. He will next play the Guangzhou Challenger before competing at the ATP 250 event in Chengdu.

“My goal is to finish the season inside the Top 50. Playing here is going to put me in really good stead for the Masters [1000 event] in a couple weeks time,” O’Connell said.

In other Challenger action, Thiago Seyboth Wild captured his second consecutive trophy, extending his winning streak to 10 by winning the AON Open Challenger in Genoa, Italy. The 23-year-old defeated five Italians en route to the title and downed home favourite Fabio Fognini 6-2, 7-6(3) in the final.

Thiago Seyboth Wild wins the Challenger 125 event in Genoa, Italy.
Thiago Seyboth Wild wins the Challenger 125 event in Genoa, Italy. Credit: AON Open Challenger

Following his triumph, Seyboth Wild surged to a career-high No. 76 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, marking his Top 100 debut.

“It feels great to be in the Top 100. I started the year outside the Top 400, so this is an important step for me,” said Seyboth Wild, who holds a Challenger season-leading four titles and 38 match wins. “I’ve been working hard all year with my team and I hope to continue to climb the rankings.”

The Brazilian…

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