Four players were vying for a spot in the finals on Saturday at the Calgary National Bank Challenger. In the first semi-final match of the day, Ivo Karlovic, currently ranked no. 121 in the world, was taking on qualifier Borna Gojo, no. 505 in the ATP World Tour rankings. This was the first meeting between the Croatian compatriots. Leading up to Saturday’s match, Gojo was having a dream week in Calgary, having gone through the qualifying rounds and then proceeding to eliminate the tournament’s third seed Jason Jung as well as Canadian Filip Peliwo. This came to an end, however, as his chance of reaching his first career Challenger final was denied by the more experienced Karlovic. The 39-year-old got the victory after a little over an hour and a half of play by a score of 7-6(3), 7-6(2). This was the first time since the start of the tournament that Karlovic did not require three sets to close out his match.
Looking to secure the other spot in the final was Jordan Thompson of Australia and Casper Ruud of Norway. The Australian, who is the top seed at the tournament, reached a career high ranking of no. 63 last February and also recorded a win over former World No. 1 Andy Murray just a few weeks later. For his part, Ruud was the No. 1 junior player in the world in 2016 and make a seamless transition to the professional circuit that same year. In Saturday’s semi-final, the first set was tightly disputed, with the slight advantage going to the young Ruud. Thompson redeemed himself in the following set, dominating his opponent, and continued his momentum into the decider. The top seed powered his way into the final with a 6-7(5), 6-0, 7-6(4) victory.
The doubles final was also disputed Saturday and featured the top two teams. The first seeds, Matt Reid and John Patrick Smith of Australia, were in search of their ninth title as a team, their last one coming in 2017. They were facing Robert Galloway and Nathan Pasha from the United States. Despite it being their first time playing together as a team, it was the American duo who were crowned doubles champions at the inaugural tournament in Calgary.
*Feature photo: Kyle Clapham