California boy and World No. 50 Taylor Fritz continued to defend his 2018 Oracle Challenger Series title today with a round of 16 win over Ecuador’s Roberto Quiroz. Fritz, who is taking advantage of playing of close to home, accepted a wild card into Newport Beach after an impressive run in Melbourne. In front of a packed house at the Newport Beach Tennis Club, Fritz outlasted the Ecuadoran and won in two sets to advance to the quarterfinals where he will meet Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who eliminated Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci in three sets: 62, 61, 62. This will be the first meeting for Fritz, 21 and Kecmanovic, 19.
Fellow American Donald Young saw similar success Thursday morning with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over compatriot JC Aragone. This win puts Young, who made the quarterfinals at the Oracle Challenger Series Chicago event, firmly in the running for a BNP Paribas Open wild card, with only two contenders, Reilly Opeka and Roy Smith, ahead of him. Since neither Smith nor Opelka are no longer competing in Newport Beach (Smith lost in the first round, Opelka was not on the player list) a quarterfinals win would place Young that much closer to Indian Wells.
Next up for Young is Oracle Challenger Series newcomer Collin Altamirano. The California native, who defeated Germany’s Dustin Brown in two sets, 7-6, 6-2, on Court 2 is ranked World No. 309 and has officially thrown his hat in the ring on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard.
Not so lucky were Americans Mackenzie McDonald and Dennis Novikov, who lost to Brayden Schnur and Janson Jung respectively. Schnur and Jung will face off against one another in the quarterfinals tomorrow, with Jung leading their head to head matchup by one. While Schnur is a first time Oracle Challenger Series participant this is the third tournament for Jung who participated in the 2018 Newport Beach event and reached the quarterfinals in Houston this past November.
Darian King was victorious over Japan’s Kaichi Uchida in a three-set match that lasted two hours and 16 minutes. The Barbadian, who also appeared in the Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach quarterfinals last year, participated in Houston and was an Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells finalist in 2018. King will face off against Frenchman Enzo Coucaud on the quarterfinals stage. Coucaud had the edge over Peliwo on Thursday afternoon, beating the Canadian 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.