'Great progress' as Clayton returns to top 150
SCOTT CLAYTON has leapt back into the top 150 in the world after securing back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles for the first time in his career.
The 25-year-old rose 16 places to 148 on the men’s doubles ladder thanks to a second tournament triumph of the season – partnering Adil Shamasdin to success in Drummondville, Canada.
The pair beat Denis Novlkov and Ante Pavic 3-6, 7-6, 10-5 in the semi-finals before seeing off world number 93 John-Patrick Smith and number 107 Matt Reid 7-5, 3-6, 10-5 in the final.
Clayton and Shamasdin, who secured silverware on their previous outing in Pau, France, have now won eight matches in a row and eight consecutive ‘Championship tie-breaks’ in 2019. The latest win is Clayton’s fourth on the Challenger Tour.
‘It’s great to keep the momentum going and we’ve had a couple of great matches, especially the last two where our backs were up against the wall,’ he said.
‘It’s pretty good going ... Championship tiebreaks [first to ten points, instead of a third set] are crucial moments so it’s good to be producing there. With the Challenger format it can go either way and we have lost a lot of close ones as well. It’s nice to be on the winning end of so many in a row which have been so important.’
Clayton, ranked 107 in the world before a wrist injury ended his 2018 season early, has moved up almost 50 places on the global list since the end of February.
‘It’s still not where I want to be but I’ve got to look at it with a smart head on, because a few weeks ago I was nearing 200,’ the former De La Salle student explained.
‘It’s great progress after being out for so long and winning a couple of Challengers back-to-back, I’m happy with that.
‘The decision now is whether I take a couple of weeks off for training and look after my wrist, or try and play another tournament in Europe with someone else. I’ve got to find the right balance – we’re on a good run with good momentum, but I have played a lot at the start of this year.’
Clayton, supported by Rathbones, is likely to fly to Mexico next month to re-join Canadian Shamasdin for another run of tournaments.
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