It was a desirable final for the first edition of the Calgary National Bank Challenger, as the top two seeds were playing for the title. Jordan Thompson of Australia came into the tournament ranked no. 108 in the world, he who reached a career high ranking of no. 63 last year. Prior to this week, he had reached five Challenger finals, coming home with the trophy once at a tournament in India. This was not Thompson’s first time in Calgary, as he played at the Futures tournament back in 2014 where he was eliminated in the first round in both singles and doubles.
Sunday’s other finalist was Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. The former world no. 12 is one of the tallest players on tour, standing at just under seven feet. He is known as one of the best servers in the game and proved it this week, totalling 102 aces so far, with an average 25 aces per match. Despite his age, he is still quite active on the professional tour. With his appearance in Sunday’s final, he becomes the oldest finalist in Challenger history, surpassing his own record that he set just two weeks ago by reaching the final at a tournament in Mexico.
With both players so close in the rankings, the final promised a good match for the spectators in attendance in Calgary. The first set did not disappoint, as it required a tiebreak to settle where the big serving Croatian got the edge to take the lead. Halfway through the second, the opponents exchanged breaks before Karlovic managed to consolidate his lead with a strong service game. After a little over an hour of play, Karlovic was crowned champion of the inaugural edition of the Calgary National Bank Challenger. With his win, he becomes the oldest champion in ATP Challenger Tour history at 39 years and 7 months.
*Feature photo: Kyle Clapham