Another great week starring Sebastien Offner is far from over. With two three-set and two-set wins, the 26-year-old reached his third final of the season at the Falkensteiner Punta Skala Zadar Open after Tenerife in January (ATP Challenger 100) and Antalya in March (ATP Challenger 75). With the first title won in the new year, bad luck didn’t work out again: fourth-seeded Styrian (ATP 137) had to give up Sunday afternoon at the ATP 75 clay court contender on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast after 3:09 hours for the final marathon, he was exposed Italian left-hander Alessandro Giannisi (ATP 261) hits thin chips 4: 6, 7: 5, 6: 7 (6). Just one point separated him from his fourth ATP Challenger coup after Astana 2018, Puerto Vallarta 2019 and Prague 2022.
The amazing race to catch up goes for nothing
Ofner put up a fight to watch in the final, with a stunning comeback that didn’t get rewarded in the end. First of all, St. Mariner lost the first set, despite leading 3-0 and two breaks apiece to make it 4-1 and breaking balls to make it 4-2 and 4-4. After a chance to break on both sides, he won the second late with a break in the 12th inning. In the decisive third section, faced with a supposedly hopeless 0:4 and 0:40 deficit on his own serve, he fought tenaciously to get back in the game, saving himself after another service loss to 5:6 and even a match point from Giannisi’s tiebreaker. There were 2: 1 and 6: 5 ahead twice with a small break, but he also could not use a match point. Shortly afterwards Giannessi still had a better finish for himself, he won the last three points and thus the match. “It’s hard to lose the third final this year after 3:10 hours,” Offner admitted candidly on his official Instagram page, but he couldn’t blame himself too much: “Today I left everything on the pitch outside. But I had another great week with a few matches. Brilliant. I look forward to the challenges ahead.”
No. 1 in the country and top 100 on the horizon
Despite the unfortunate and bitter final defeat, Over managed to secure another 50 ATP points for the world rankings on 3 April. With these, he can improve his career from May 6, 2019 from 126th position: he currently sees himself at 121st in the ATP live ranking. Under Wolfgang Thiem’s ATC Academy he remained outside the top 200 until September 2022 and had to end the previous season early at the end of September due to a second operation on his left heel. And because of his first forced break in that regard, he has no points to defend until mid-April 2023. At the ATP 125 clay court contender next week in Sanremo, Offner can take another step towards the top spot in Austria (only 33 points behind Dominic Thiem). And it reaches the top 100 for the first time – or even with another victory. This shouldn’t be an easy task given Italy’s strong squad. He started against France’s Manuel Guinard (ATP 221), in the Round of 16, the former world number 14 could already be there. Aslan Karatsev (ATP 107) from Russia is waiting.
Here are all the results of the ATP 75 Challenge in Zadar.
Here are all the draws for the ATP 125 Challenger in Sanremo.
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