It was a long match, comprised of exceptionally long rallies, saved break points and some truly stunning tennis but, in the end, it was Lauren Davis who came was victorious over fellow American Taylor Townsend. The match, which was first up on Court 1, lasted an astounding three hours and 11 minutes, making it the longest match we’ve seen in Newport Beach this week. Davis, who was a finalist at Oracle Challenger Series Houston and currently leads the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, advances to the semifinals where she will meet Jessica Pegula, the other remaining American in the singles draw after Nicole Gibbs, who fell to number 2 seed Tatjana Maria, was eliminated. With another finals appearance within reach, Davis is determined to keep her eyes on the prize. “It’s a race to win the wild card for Indian Wells,” says Davis. “And I would love to be able to do that.”
Pegula had a stellar debut at her first Oracle Challenger Series event in Houston, reaching the semifinals in singles and taking the doubles title. “They always say to solve your problems just keep winning,” she laughed. “I’m just trying to start off the year strong and hopefully I can keep it going here, and then the 125 in Indian Wells as well.” With a 6-3, 6-3 upset over number one seed Rebecca Peterson, Pegula is soon to see her second Oracle Challenger Series semifinals, in as many attempts.
World No. 158 Davis and World No. 113 Pegula have faced off twice before on the singles court, with Davis winning both times. But it has been over two years since they have met on the hard court and, in that time, Pegula’s ranking has climbed considerably while Davis’ has fallen. Both women are currently in the position to claim the 2 available wild cards to Indian Wells, and even if Pegula wins on Saturday, she will still trail Davis in the leaderboard – but only by a single point.