With one stop down and three to go in the 2019-2020 Oracle Challenger Series, players have their eyes set on the George R. Brown Tennis Center at Rice University with hopes of securing valuable ranking points and prize money on their pursuit of wild card entry into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open.
Who will improve their positioning on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboards at the midway point of the 2019-2020 Series? Let’s have a look at a few of our Americans to watch in our return tour to Houston.
Past BNP Paribas Open wild card winners Jessica Pegula (2019) and Bradley Klahn (2018) will return to the Series, both looking to finish the 2019 season on a high-note. Pegula, who won the Citi Open singles title in August, is looking to build on a semifinal appearance in Houston and Final appearance at Newport Beach; results that sparked the American to finish atop the 2019 Road to Indian Wells leaderboard. Klahn returns having made the quarterfinals on the first stop at New Haven in September. He will again look to find the form that catapulted him to the top in Houston, where he captured the men’s singles title in 2018.
A group of opportunistic American women will join World No. 76 Pegula in the draw; including current World No. 85 Taylor Townsend; a former Indian Wells doubles champion (2018) who recently made the Round of 16 at the US Open after upsetting World No. 4 Simona Halep. The doubles specialist will shift her focus to singles and look to make a splash at the second stop in the 2019-2020 Series; Usue Arconada, a New Haven singles and doubles finalist, enters the field looking to finish off a career-best year with a bang; as will rising sensation Catherine McNally, who recently won the Citi and Luxembourg Open women’s doubles titles with Coco Gauff.
Rounding out the American contingent on the women’s side are Whitney Osuigwe, a 17-year-old rising star who made her Series debut at Houston in 2018; Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Francesca Di Lorenzo, who will continue her quest for her first Oracle Challenger Series title in Houston. They will be joined by a trio of other Series mainstays including 2018 Chicago semifinalist Sachia Vickery, New Haven quarterfinalist Danielle Lao and Caroline Dolehide, who will be making her third overall appearance at the Series.
On the men’s side, Klahn will be joined by World No. 80 Tommy Paul, who has accumulated three ATP Challenger Tour titles this year, including the New Haven crown in September; Series veteran Marcos Giron is back and hungry for more; the Thousand Oaks product has made a name for himself this season, securing the Indian Wells doubles title, advancing to the 3R of the BNP Paribas Open after upsets of Jeremy Chardy and Alex de Minaur, and most recently advancing to the singles Final at New Haven. Jenson Brooksby, a Baylor University Freshman who advanced through qualifying at the US Open and followed it up with an upset of Thomas Berdych to make the second round, will debut and look to replicate the success of last year’s Baylor standout and Houston finalist Roy Smith.
World No. 68 Tennys Sandgren is returning to Rice University, where he competed as the tournament No.1 seed in 2018; Completing the draw of scrappy Americans will be 2019 Road to Indian Wells wild card winner and two-time semifinalist Donald Young, as well as a number of past Series participants including Mitchell Krueger, Ernesto Escobedo, Michael Mmoh and Sekou Bangoura.
Stop two is within reach and players and fans alike are excited to see who will rise to the top at the ever-important halfway point the Series. Who will begin to separate themselves from the pack and who will inch closer to wild card entry into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open? Join us November 10-17 at the George R. Brown Tennis Center to find out!