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By Kieran Jackson | Sunday, June 10, 2018

Jeremy Chardy

Top-seeded Jeremy Chardy overcame Australian Alex de Minaur, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, to capture the Surbiton Challenger title.

Favorites Jeremy Chardy and Alison Riske captured Surbiton Challenger championships.

The top-seeded Chardy overcame Australian Alex de Minaur, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, in the final in south-west London.

Watch: Nadal Rolls To 11th RG Title

In his Surbiton debut, the explosive Frenchman needed just one break of serve to take the opening set, using his powerful forehand to great effect.

But the 19-year-old de Minaur, who broke into the Top 100 with his performance this week, rallied in the second set. De Minaur tayed solid behind his serve and broke in the 10th game to win the second set when the Frenchman double faulted.

However, that solidity on serve soon deserted de Minaur, as he was immediately broken in the opening game of the decider, and once more in the seventh game.

Chardy comfortably served out the match, and could hardly contain his delight at winning a long-awaited title.

“It’s been a long time for me without a trophy so I’m really happy”, said the 31-year old Chardy. “I’ve played really well every match this week, so it’s a great start to the grass court season.”

The French number nine also spoke of how pleased he was with his serve all week, having only been broken three times in five matches, as well as his movement on the grass.

“I served well all tournament," Chardy said. "I’m also really happy with my movement, normally it’s really difficult for me to move on grass after coming from clay, but this week I felt good on court, which was why I felt confident and played my game.”

De Minaur, who played impressively all week on the grass in front of Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, was gracious in defeat.

“Jeremy was too good today, he deserved to win after playing a great third set," de Minaur said. "It’s bittersweet, I’ve played a great tournament. It’s a huge milestone [to reach the top 100] – it was a goal at the start of the year and I couldn’t be prouder.”

The women’s final earlier on in the day was more routine. 

Riske rolled to a 6-2, 6-4, victory over Conny Perrin.

The second-seeded Riske, who hadn’t dropped a set all tournament, was ranked 110 places above Perrin, and the superior ranking showed throughout, as Riske dominated rallies from the back of the court with her flat, aggressive groundstrokes.

Perrin, who saved three match points in her three-set semifinal win against Harriet Dart, looked understandably fatigued, and although she broke Riske when serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set, she was unable to do it again two games later, as Riske secured the title at the second time of asking.

After the trophy ceremony, the American, who won a set against French Open champion Simona Halep in the first round at Roland Garros, was thrilled with the tennis she was playing on her favorite surface.

“I handled my emotions pretty well today," Riske said. "I combatted everything she threw at me today really well. To end my first week [on grass] is definitely special and I’ve really enjoyed my time here at Surbiton.”

Riske also spoke of how she had to make a dash to Holland, as she prepared to play at s-Hertogenbosch on Tuesday.

“I’m trying to book a flight so I can get there tonight and have a full day of practice tomorrow – that’s what I’m currently shooting for," Riske said.

Runner-up Perrin, who was playing in her first ITF $100,000 final, reflected on what had been one of the most successful weeks of her singles career, despite the loss.

“I’ve played a lot this week and I can take a lot of positives from this week," Perrin said. "I gave it my best, I’ve had a lot of people cheering for me this week, and I started with a British coach two weeks ago, which helped me a lot!”

And there we have it. It’s been a superb week of grass-court action at Surbiton, with star names coupled with competitive singles and doubles matches making for a record-breaking year in terms of spectator numbers at the event.

The grass-court swing is up and running – our favorite time of the year!

Freelance sports journalist Kieran Jackson is covering the grass-court season ahead of Wimbledon for Tennis Now. For more of Kieran's tennis coverage, follow him on Twitter.


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