With two stops down and two to go in the 2019-2020 Oracle Challenger Series, players have their sights set on the Newport Beach Tennis Club with hopes of securing valuable ranking points and prize money on their pursuit of wild card entry into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open.
After thrilling tournaments in New Haven and Houston, the Oracle Challenger Series is moving west to Southern California for the final two events of the 2019-2020 Road to Indian Wells. The question is, who will make a statement in Newport Beach and improve their positioning on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboards? Let’s have a look at a few of our Americans to watch during our third annual visit to Newport Beach.
2019-2020 Oracle Challenger Series standouts Coco Vandeweghe (Houston finalist) and Marcos Giron (New Haven finalist, Houston champion) will look to continue their impressive Series performances with another strong showing in Newport Beach. Vandeweghe, who currently sits in second place on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard, is no stranger to the spotlight having reached two Grand Slam singles semifinals as well as being a six-time WTA winner across singles and doubles. The Rancho Santa Fe product will be only a few hours’ drive from home when she competes in Newport Beach, as she continues her comeback tour following an injury-riddled 2019 season. For Giron, who currently sits atop the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, the Newport Beach event affords him another opportunity to add to his ever-growing Series trophy case. Also a Southern California native, he is a multiple-time champion having won the doubles title last year in Indian Wells as well as the 2019 Houston singles trophy in November.
A host of compelling American women will join Vandeweghe in the women’s draw; including current World No. 77 Taylor Townsend – the highest ranked player in the women’s draw – a former Indian Wells doubles champion (2018) who will look to build upon the momentum she gained at the 2019 US Open after upsetting World No. 4 Simona Halep. Jessica Pegula, who captured her first WTA Tour level title at Washington last summer and finished as runner-up at last year’s Newport Beach event is slated to compete; as will Usue Arconada, New Haven singles and doubles finalist and current points leader on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard; and teenage sensation and World No. 118 Catherine McNally.
They will be joined by Challenger Series veteran Nicole Gibbs; former top-25 singles player Christina McHale; 2018 Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Francesca Di Lorenzo; and former collegiate crosstown rivals in UCLA Bruin alum Robin Anderson and USC Trojan alum Danielle Lao.
On the men’s side, Giron will be accompanied by Orange County native Steve Johnson, who is the current World No. 84 and making his Oracle Challenger Series debut. The four-time ATP Tour singles winner will present a tough challenge for the rest of the Americans, such as World No. 90 and 2019 New Haven champion Tommy Paul, who has accumulated three ATP Challenger Tour titles this year; 2018 Houston champion Bradley Klahn, who has a chance to catapult to the top of the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard with an impressive showing in Newport Beach; and local UCLA grad and 2017 Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Mackenzie McDonald.
Rounding out the American men’s contingent is World No. 68 and 2018 Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren, the highest-ranked American in the men’s draw; alongside a number of past Series participants including 2019 Road to Indian Wells wild card winner and two-time semifinalist Donald Young as well as Christopher Eubanks, JC Aragone and J.J. Wolf.
Stop three is within reach and players and fans alike are excited to see who will stake their claim as the Road to Indian Wells moves west for the second half of the 2019-2020 Series. Who will emerge from the pack and move closer to wild card entry into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open? Join us January 27 – February 2 at the Newport Beach Tennis Club to find out!