With the final stop of the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series set to take place at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on February 25 – March 3, 2019, a talented field of 16 Americans will look to capitalize on their final opportunity to advance up the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard. The American contingent will be met with stiff competition, featuring arguably the strongest overall draw in the history of the Oracle Challenger Series. The field includes 25 Top-100 ranked players led by 2011 US Open Champion Samantha Stosur, two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Kristina Mladenovic, ATP Tour No. 72 Filip Krajinovic and more.
This season’s three previous events in Chicago, Houston, and Newport Beach each produced incredible matches and highlighted the next generation of American tennis. While next week’s tournament will showcase the same high-flying action that fans of the series have come to know and love, the stakes will be higher than ever for the players in Indian Wells. At the conclusion of this tournament, the two American women and two American men who have accumulated the most points over the course of the series will receive the ultimate prize: wild card entry into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.
A talented roster of nine American women is highlighted by world No. 52 Alison Riske, who is the highest ranked woman in the entire draw. A player on the United States 2018 Fed Cup team, Riske will look to channel her experience on the national stage into a successful week in Indian Wells. While she will certainly prove tough to beat, the rest of the women’s American field will be ready for the challenge.
Jessica Pegula, who cracked the WTA Top-100 for the first time in her career after reaching the finals at the Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach just last month, currently sits in second place on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard. The No. 93 player in the world, Pegula will look to build upon impressive runs throughout the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series and cement herself as one of the two female wild card recipients. She will be joined by another Oracle Challenger Series mainstay and WTA Top-100 player, Taylor Townsend, who was a Newport Beach quarterfinalist and 2018 Indian Wells Doubles Champion. Other Americans to watch include Sachia Vickery and Varvara Lepchenko, each of whom sit just outside the top two spots on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard. Vickery, an Oracle Challenger Series Chicago semifinalist, will try to recapture her magic from last year’s BNP Paribas Open, when she upset then world No. 3 Garbiñe Muguruza for the biggest win of her career. Madison Brengle, Jennifer Brady, Caroline Dolehide and Nicole Gibbs round out the list of American women.
The men’s draw features seven Americans, headlined by ATP Tour Top-100 Reilly Opelka, the Oracle Challenger Series Chicago runner-up and 2018 Newport Beach semifinalist. Opelka is playing the best tennis of his career, having recently defeated No. 10 John Isner in the first round of the Australian Open and upset No. 48 Adrian Mannarino earlier this week at the New York Open. While Taylor Fritz and Bradley Klahn currently top the men’s Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, they have each received direct entry into the BNP Paribas Open. Therefore, Opelka sits atop the standings for those eligible for wild cards. Along with him, Oracle Challenger Series veteran Donald Young Jr. will look to catapult himself up the leaderboard with a strong performance in Indian Wells. Young will lean on his experience with quarterfinal runs in Chicago and Newport Beach, each of which have helped elevate him to fourth place in the current standings. Two-time Oracle Challenger Series quarterfinalist Noah Rubin and 2018 Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Christopher Eubanks are also set to compete on the final stop on the Road to Indian Wells. Completing the group of American men are Michael Mmoh, Jared Donaldson, Tim Smyczek and Ernesto Escobedo.
With a tightly-contested race for wild card entry into the BNP Paribas Open, the future of American tennis will be on full display as they vie for the ultimate prize at the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells.