Jay Clarke joins illustrious list of Binghamton champions

Jay Clarke defeated Australian top seed Jordan Thompson in a marathon final of the ATP Binghamton Challenger event, adding his name to a wealth of former British champions.

In a week that has seen Clarke enter his 20s, the Brit has overcome a disrupted schedule, stormy weather and experienced players such as Marcel Granollers to make the final in New York. The final itself lasted just under three hours as Clarke fought back from a set down to claim a 6-7 7-6 6-4 victory in an epic encounter.

By claiming the title on Sunday, Clarke joins a list of former champions that includes Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund, Kei Nishikori and defending champion Cameron Norrie, indicating the exciting and promising career that could lie ahead.

In addition to winning his first ATP Challenger title, Jay Clarke is now ranked inside the world’s top 200 for the first time, with a new career high of 175 in today’s rankings.

After a fairly slow start to the year, Clarke has really stepped up over recent months. He established himself at Challenger events in a mini tour of North America in April, making the quarter-finals in San Jose and Sarasota, before surprising Ramkumar Ramanathan in French Open qualifying.

The Derbyshire youngster struggled to find his feet on the grass, but eventually claimed his first win at an ATP event in Eastbourne, where he defeated Ryan Harrison before going down to Cam Norrie in the second round. He then reached the Mixed Doubles semi-finals at Wimbledon with fellow rising star Harriet Dart

And in the first of his five tournaments in America, Clarke has won a significant title in what could be the beginning of a significant section of his career.

Beaten finalist Australian Jordan Thompson, will be sick of facing Brits in Binghamton after losing in last year’s final to Norrie. Thompson defeated James Ward in the opening round and hadn’t dropped a set en route to the final. Perhaps known to most British fans as the rookie who eliminated Andy Murray at Queen’s last year, the Australian is established on the ATP Challenger circuit, having made the final of three events already this year, winning one (Chennai, February), further highlighting the impressive nature of Clarke’s maiden Challenger title.

Clarke will now move on to take part in the Lexington Challenger, where he faces Israel’s Edan Lesham in the opening round. Fellow Brits Dan Evans, Liam Broady and Alex Ward will also be featured in the main draw.

Photo: Kate Tann @ Flickr

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