While Cici Bellis, CoCo Vandeweghe, Eugenie Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek-Sands may be capturing the headlines at the Oracle Challenger Series Houston, Usue Arconada is making a statement of her own at the final WTA 125K of the season.
On a bright, cold day in Houston, the 5-foot-5-inch American needed only 47 minutes to deliver a flawless 6-0, 6-0 victory over compatriot Hanna Chang to advance to the third round. The No. 11 seed will face seventh-seeded Stefanie Voegele on Thursday for a spot in the quarterfinals.
“I started off very strong and aggressive with my shots, while also staying consistent,” Arconada said of her masterpiece. “This is my last tournament of the year so I’m trying to bring it all and give it all I’ve got. It’s a little cold, but just trying to end the season well.”
While temperatures hovered near freezing, Arconada was all business, winning nearly 90 percent of her first serve points and facing only two break points all match.
The 21-year-old, who was born in Buenos Aires and currently resides in Puerto Rico, is in the midst of a break-out season that has seen her jump more than 100 spots in the WTA ranks to her current spot at No. 121. After a dominant summer on the ITF circuit where she collected three of her four career titles, Arconada reached the finals of the Oracle Challenger Series New Haven in August, falling to eventual champion Anna Blinkova 6-4, 6-2 after blasting her way through the tournament without dropping a set.
“I was very excited to come here,” Arconada said. “I had a good run in New Haven at the other Oracle 125 so I was excited to come out and do my best here too.”
While she won’t get too far ahead of herself, Arconada has her eyes set firmly on cracking the Top 100 and playing in the main draws at the Slams in 2020 – goals that don’t seem out of reach considering her strong 2019 season. And if she happened to top the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard and earn a wild card into the BNP Paribas Open too? Well that would just be icing on the cake.