Vickery and Gibbs Advance to Quarterfinals
Sixth-seeded Sachia Vickery reached the quarterfinals of the Oracle Challenger Series as the 22-year-old from Miramar, Fla., defeated unseeded Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-1, 6-4, on a cool, cloudy day at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
In their only previous meeting, Peterson eliminated Vickery in the second round of a WTA tournament in Honolulu in 2017, but in their second head-to-head meeting, Vickery won the first set in 32 minutes and proceeded to use two service breaks to take control of the second set.
Serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Vickery fought off a break point and ultimately prevailed over Peterson in one-hour and 22 minutes. She will take on qualifier Mayo Hibi of Japan in the quarterfinals.
“I had a very tough match today. She’s a tough opponent. I was really happy I was able to get through,” Vickery said after clinching her quarterfinal spot. “I was a little more aggressive in the first (set) then I kind of took my foot off a little bit. She started playing really well, so I definitely wanted to end it before giving her more confidence.”
Former two-time NCAA singles champion Nicole Gibbs also got through to the quarterfinals after she scored a hard-fought 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over unseeded Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia in one-hour and 49 minutes.
As Gibbs served for the match at 5-4 in the second set, she fell behind 15-40, but rallied and on her second match point, blasted a down the line forehand winner to wrap up the victory. Gibbs, who is unseeded, will face seventh-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in her quarterfinal match.
In men’s second-round singles action, wild card Reilly Opelka slammed 19 aces past fellow American qualifier Dennis Novikov to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win.
After winning the first set in 29 minutes, Opelka, ranked No. 207 in the world, exchanged service breaks with Novikov early in the second set and was on serve at 3-3.
Later in the set, Opelka broke Novikov at love to take a 5-4 lead. He then served three aces in the tenth game on his way to closing out the match, which took one-hour and 12 minutes. Opelka will face unseeded Matthias Bachinger of Germany in the quarterfinals.
“I’m pretty pleased with how I played. This is the best tennis I’ve played in a while. I didn’t play a tie-breaker, for me that’s pretty rare,” Opelka said. “Physically I feel really good which is most important for me. I’m playing pretty loose and focusing on getting better right now.”