The 2019-2020 Road to Indian Wells concludes in less than two weeks at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and the stakes could not be higher for the strong field of American participants. As the Oracle Challenger Series makes its much-anticipated return to the Coachella Valley, a host of American hopefuls are battling for position on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard with their sights set on earning a main draw wild card into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open. Before play gets underway at the 2019-2020 Challenger Series’ final event, let’s take a look back at the first three events and see which American competitors have positioned themselves with the best chance in competing at the BNP Paribas Open:
The first leg of the Road to Indian Wells brought professional tennis back to the Elm City, where a familiar contingent of Americans – 32 to be exact – descended on the Yale Tennis Center with hopes of making their own noise on the first stop of the 2019-2020 Challenger Series. On the men’s side, the Americans accounted for three of the four semifinalists with Noah Rubin, Marcos Giron and Tommy Paul stringing together impressive performances. Ultimately, it was Paul who emerged victorious and earned 125 points with a dominant, straight-set victory over close friend Giron. While they fell short of the ultimate prize, Giron and Rubin, who currently sit at first and seventh on the leaderboard respectively, put themselves in prime position for the Challenger Series’ events to come. Usue Arconada was the top American performer for the women, as she reached the final before falling to Anna Blinkova. Challenger Series veteran Lauren Davis also got off to a strong start in the Elm City, earning a semifinal berth with several impressive performances throughout the week.
Returning to the campus of Rice University for the second consecutive year, Coco Vandeweghe and Irina Falconi, two established American competitors, made the women’s semifinals. Vandeweghe, who advanced to reach the finals, currently sits in great position at second place on the leaderboard. Fellow American women Taylor Townsend and Catherine McNally also had strong showings with quarterfinal appearances. Mitchell Krueger had one of his best ever performances at the Challenger Series with an impressive semifinal run that earned him 45 points on the men’s side, while it was once again Marcos Giron with a journey to the final. He overcame Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic in a thrilling match that saw him battle back from 1-6 down in the third set tiebreaker. With the title, Giron catapulted himself to the top of the men’s leaderboard at the Challenger Series’ halfway point.
Descending on beautiful Southern California, and the site of the Challenger Series’ inaugural event, the Newport Beach Tennis Club welcomed back the tournament for the third straight season. Another three of four American contingent greeted fans on the men’s semifinal side, as Mitchell Krueger, Steve Johnson and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski advanced to the tournament’s penultimate stage. Kwiatkowski eventually overcame Colombia’s Daniel Elahi Galan in the final and earned a crucial 125 point boost that leapfrogged him over Tommy Paul and into second place on the leaderboard. American Madison Brengle took the title for the women, as she downed a row of international competition in impressive fashion to propel herself into first place on the women’s leaderboard. Taylor Townsend, who sits at fourth place ahead of the Challenger Series’ final event, had another notable tournament in which she reached the Newport Beach semifinals.
Now at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 Oracle Challenger Series, the American contingent will battle it out at the final event on the Road to Indian Wells with main draw entry into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open on the line.