Two Americans will take center stage in Sunday’s men’s singles final of the Oracle Challenger Series as third-seeded Taylor Fritz will meet unseeded Bradley Klahn for the championship at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.
Fritz used a solid baseline game to overcome fellow American Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (6) in one-hour and 25 minutes. Following his semifinal victory, Fritz, who is seeking his fourth career Challenger singles title, spoke about playing against his good friend Opelka.
“It’s never easy playing your friends. Reilly and I are literally best friends. We had dinner and (were) hanging out last night. Once you step on the court, we both understand it’s our job and we’re going to be respectful, but at the same time try your hardest to beat each other. I’m just happy I got through it because those are the toughest matches to get through,” Fritz said.
Klahn, a native of Poway, Calif., who now trains in Los Angeles, got past qualifier Christian Garin of Chile 6-3, 0-6, 6-4 in Saturday’s semifinal action.
When asked about playing Klahn in the final, Fritz replied, “I’m excited for it. We’ve practiced together and we know each other’s game. We’ve never actually played before. I think it will be a good (final).”
American Danielle Collins, a wild card who is enjoying her best week in a WTA event, advanced to the women’s singles final after defeating seventh-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-4, 6-3 in the semifinals.
Collins, currently ranked No. 162 in the world, will face Russian Sofya Zhuk for the women’s singles title. Zhuk came back to eliminate fellow qualifier Mayo Hibi of Japan 2-6, 7-6 (7) 6-4 in two-hours and 34 minutes in the semifinals.
The men’s singles final will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the women’s singles final, not before noon.
Live audio play-by-play of the men’s singles final, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday and the women’s singles final, which will follow, will be broadcast live on RadioTennis.com. Tennis broadcaster Ken Thomas will provide the web cast commentary at www.radiotennis.com.