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Virtanen Making Huge Enhancements On Challenger Tour | ATP Tour

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Planes, trains, and cars are a weekly theme for ATP Challenger Tour gamers as they work arduous for factors, prize cash, and trophies. The journey schedule might be grueling at occasions, however the gamers keep decided as they persevere in the direction of an analogous objective: turning into the subsequent skilled tennis star.

Finland’s Otto Virtanen just lately had an in depth journey that noticed him gather two Challenger titles and win 10 matches in 11 days (singles & doubles). After profitable the Brest Challenger doubles title (w/ Viktor Durasovic) in October, the 21-year-old rapidly departed for the Bergamo Challenger, the place he superior via qualifying en path to accumulating his maiden Challenger singles crown.

“I flew after my doubles [in Brest] to Paris, from Paris to Milan, then Milan to Bergamo by automotive,” Virtanen mentioned. “I had a really late first match and I performed very well. I simply went day-by-day and saved enjoying effectively. On daily basis I saved gaining confidence and within the [Bergamo] remaining I simply tried to give attention to what I used to be doing effectively and tried to deal with it as a traditional match. It was my first remaining and I believe I dealt with it effectively.”

Now at career-high No. 174 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Virtanen is amongst a powerful record of champions in Bergamo together with the earlier three titlists: Holger Rune, Jannik Sinner, and Matteo Berrettini.

Otto Virtanen wins his maiden Challenger title in Bergamo, Italy.” />
Otto Virtanen is topped champion in Bergamo, Italy. Credit score: Antonio Milesi

Virtanen, who began the 12 months as No. 395, made his preliminary Challenger breakthrough this summer season as a semi-finalist on the Surbiton and Liberec Challengers. The Challenger 90 occasion in France was his first Challenger remaining and the Finn did n’t flinch. Virtanen did not drop a set all week en path to the title and maintained his excessive stage within the championship match towards former World No. 29 Jan-Lennard Struff.

“I did not change something [about my game plan], I simply performed stable, possibly slightly safer,” Virtanen mentioned. “I used to be placing extra balls in and enjoying high-percentage tennis. Then when it was an excellent time, I performed extra aggressively. I discovered an excellent steadiness to my sport.”

The Hyvinkää native is simply the second participant from Finland to win a Challenger title prior to now 10 years and the primary since Emil Ruusuvuori in 2019.

Ruusuvuori, 23, is a four-time Challenger titlist. On the 2019 Helsinki Challenger, Ruusuvuori was topped champion on residence soil and defeated Virtanen within the spherical of 16. This season, Ruusuvuori reached his first Tour-level remaining in Pune and climbed to a career-high 40. Ruusuvuori and Virtanen have fond recollections of rising up collectively and at the moment are carrying the torch for tennis of their residence nation because the highest-ranked Finns.

ATP Challenger Tour

“I’ve recognized Emil since I used to be a child,” Virtanen mentioned. “We performed the identical tournaments. He is two years older than me so we have been in several age teams however similar tournaments in Finland. We practiced on the similar membership. We spend a while collectively off court docket as effectively however we each are busy touring for tennis, so it is powerful to search out the time after we are each in Helsinki. Once we each are residence, we observe collectively. It is good to catch up and see what he is doing effectively, take one thing from him.”

After a second-round exit at his residence Challenger this previous week in Helsinki, Virtanen closes his season with a 23-14 Challenger-match document. The #NextGenATP teen has been constructing upon the teachings he is realized since graduating from the ITF Futures occasions and now shifts his consideration in the direction of offseason coaching earlier than aiming for an excellent stronger displaying in 2023.

“It was a rollercoaster [season],” Virtanen mentioned. “I am pleased with this 12 months, the place I began and what I’ve achieved. I am fairly pleased with the outcomes.

“It is all the time a pleasure to be at residence. Final match of the 12 months, it is good to complete right here [Helsinki] regardless that the outcomes this week weren’t that good. However I am completely satisfied to complete the 12 months and now I can give attention to subsequent season. I am actually excited.”

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