ATP tennis event switches surface and location mid-tournament in drastic move

An ATP Challenger Tour event has been forced to change the surface and location ahead of the semi-final stage following heavy rain. The Turin Challenger was taking place on clay at the Circolo della Stampa Sporting but organisers had to move to the venue’s indoor centre to finish the tournament on Saturday.

Organisers at the Turin Challenger were forced to scramble when heavy rain threatened to call off the tournament, with Friday’s matches called off entirely. The tournament was scheduled to end on Saturday and it left bosses with few options to finish the event on time, as they made the decision to move the remaining matches to indoor hard courts.

The final four players still competed at the Circolo della Stampa Sporting but they were relocated to the complex’s indoor centre, often used as a training base for the year-end ATP Finals.

And it meant that the remaining players faced the possibility of competing twice in one day, as organisers scheduled both semi-finals for Saturday morning with the winners facing off in the final later on the same day. World No 40 Sebastian Baez found himself affected by the change in surface, suffering a shock defeat to qualifier Federico Gaio.

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The Italian beat the top seed 7-5 6-3 to advance to the final, while second seed Daniel Galan was also the victim of an upset as he failed to adjust to the new conditions. Alternate Dominik Koepfer defeated him 6-4 6-2 and will now face Gaio in the final.

Baez’s defeat comes as a blow to his French Open hopes, as the Argentine would have secured himself a spot as one of the top 32 seeds with a title win in Turin. Elsewhere on the Challenger tour, Tomas Etchevery and Ugo Humbert will battle for the title in Bordeaux.

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The BNP Paribas Primrose had a star-studded lineup including Grand Slam champions Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem when the tournament kicked off at the start of the week. The former two were drawn to meet in the second round, with Murray crashing out to the 38-year-old.

Wawrinka then lost to Humbert, who now has a shot at the title. Meanwhile, Thiem defeated Benoit Paire in the first round before losing to No 8 seed Corentin Moutet in the second.

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