American Taylor Townsend and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium look to keep their Oracle Challenger Series doubles winning streak alive in Newport Beach. The duo reached the quarterfinals here in 2018 and went on to win the title at the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells. Townsend/Wickmayer, the third-seed doubles team, eliminated Jamie Loeb/Rebecca Peterson 4-6, 7-5, 10-3 in the first round and went on to beat Quin Gleason/Luisa Stefani in the quarters 6-4, 6-4. Friday afternoon’s semifinal win against Alexa Guarachi/Giuliana Olmos 6-4, 7-5 sends the Townsend/Wickmayer back to the doubles final where they will meet the all-American team of Hayley Carter/Ena Shibahara.
Townsend, 22, saw success in singles this week in Newport Beach, ultimately falling to fellow American Lauren Davis in a grueling quarterfinal match that lasted over 3 hours on Friday. This the first event she’s participated in for this Oracle Challenger Series that started in Chicago and will culminate in Indian Wells in March. Still, her quarterfinal appearance puts Townsend on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, with the top two receiving a wild card into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.
The all-American team comprised of Hayley Carter and Ena Shibahara are making their first ever WTA 125k doubles final appearance. The duo competed together regularly in ITF events all last year, and won 3 titles (Stockton, Lexington, Baton Rouge) as a team. This marks the first Oracle Challenger Series event for the team who have had a strong showing this week in Newport Beach. A first round victory over fellow all-American team Nicole Gibbs/Varvara Lepchenko 6-4, 6-0 sent Carter/Shibahara into the quarters where they beat Sabrina Santamaria/Valeria Savinykh 6-4, 6-4. A victorious Friday showing eliminated the remaining all-American team of Lauren Davis/Jacqueline Cako 6-4, 7-6(2) and propelled Carter/Shibahara onto the biggest stage of their young careers.