Nineteen-year-old Stefan Kozlov took home his second Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour trophy on Sunday in Las Vegas, adding to his first career Challenger win from the 2016 Challenger 2 in Columbus, Ohio.
The Las Vegas Tennis Open, part of the ATP Challenger Tour, took place Oct. 16 through Oct. 22 and played on outdoor hard courts. This year the open court matches took place at the Frank and Vicki Fertitta Tennis Complex on UNLV’s campus, and was sponsored by The Orleans casino and the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
Kozlov was born in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia in 1998 and currently lives in Pembroke Pines, Florida. He turned pro in 2013 at 15 years old, becoming the youngest player in the ATP junior Top 20 and highest-ranked American at the time.
Ranked at 137 in the Emirates ATP Men’s Singles Rankings before the open, Kozlov was able to defeat players older and with higher rankings than him and move up to 125 in the rankings. Koslov was able to take down 26-year-old American native Tennys Sandgren in the semifinals, then ranked at 94, currently ranked at 92. Their match went on for an hour and forty minutes, Koslov taking both sets at 6-3 and 7-66.
In the finals the teen faced 23-year-old British native Liam Brody, who was ranked at 196 and is now ranked at 169. Kozlov defeated Brody in a two hour and nineteen minute match. Brody took the first set 3-6, with Koslov taking back control in the second and third set at 7-5 and 6-4.
“We were both left gasping for air and it wasn’t easy,” Koslov told the ATP. “It could have gone either way today. I was very impressed with Liam’s sportsmanship today. I haven’t had the best last couple of months, a lot of ups and downs. For all the downs, you have to kind of look for the ups and today I had to dig deep for mine.”
Koslov’s win is the thirteenth for teenagers and the tenth for Americans this year according to the ATP.
He is currently a contender for the Next Gen ATP Finals, currently ranked in twenty first place, 13 spots away from being able to compete. The Next Gen ATP Finals will take place in Fiera Milano, Italy Nov. 7 through 11.