The men’s draw for Oracle Challenger Series Houston started with an impressive 17 Americans – players ranging from seasoned players like Tennys Sandgren to newcomers to the tour like Harrison Adams, and everyone in between. This week, which has already seen eight all-American men’s matchups is about to see one more as Oracle Challenger Series veteran Bradley Klahn faces off against one of the Tour’s newest members, Roy Smith.
Klahn is no stranger to the ATP Challenger Tour and has seen great success at Oracle Challenger Series events in particular, making the finals in Newport Beach and receiving one of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open wild cards. The California native’s winning streak continued today as he eliminated German Dominik Koepfer in two sets: 63 64. Klahn is currently ranked inside the top 100 at World No. 97 and looks to gain even more points, as well as a healthy lead in the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard.
Klahn’s opponent on Sunday is 19-year-old Baylor University sophomore and tournament wild card, Roy Smith. Smith has been surprising fans and players alike this week, with his strong serve and his impressive on court power. New to the Challenger Tour, Smith celebrated his first ever Tour win at the beginning of this week and very well may celebrate his first championship by the end. The New Haven, CT native and World No. 870 battled past Darian King, Harrison Adams and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski to reach the semifinals today, where he won in a walkover (his opponent Kamil Majchrzak retired in the middle of the second set, 64 23). Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, this event is sure to have a profound impact on Smith’s ATP rankings.
By reaching the Houston event finals, both Klahn and Smith are currently tied in first place with Chicago finalist Reilly Opelka in the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, with the winner of tomorrow’s men’s finals match of them will pull ahead in the race to the BNP Paribas Open.