Thirteen Americans, as well as three-time ATP World Tour winner and former top 20 ranked player Andreas Seppi, were among those awarded wild cards into the main and qualifying draws of the Oracle Challenger Series Chicago tournament to be held September 2 – 9, 2018 at the XS Tennis Village.
Seppi, currently ranked No. 51 in the world, has received a wild card into the main draw, along with Americans Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, the 2017 NCAA Singles Champion from the University of Virginia; Tommy Paul, who had a breakout year in 2017 that included quarterfinal appearances in Atlanta and Washington, as well as his first career Masters 1000 victory in Cincinnati; and former University of Virginia standout JC Aragone.
On the women’s side, World No. 37 Danielle Collins – the 2018 Oracle Challenger Series winner at Newport Beach who also reached the Round of 16 at Indian Wells and the semifinals in Miami – was granted a wild card into the WTA main draw, along with fellow Americans Varvara Lepchenko, who has represented the United States in both the Olympic Games (2012) and Fed Cup (2013) and was once ranked as high as No. 19 in the world; Francesca Di Lorenzo, who recorded her first career Grand Slam match win at the US Open this year and was the 2018 recipient of the Oracle US Tennis Awards; Lauren Davis, who has one WTA Tour title to her name (2017 Auckland) to go along with two finals appearances (2016 Washington DC and Quebec City); and 23-year-old Allie Kiick, a cancer survivor making a comeback to the Tour after a battle with melanoma.
In action today is Men’s Qualifying Draw wild card recipient American William Blumberg, a current sophomore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill who was named the ITA Men’s Tennis Rookie of the Year and Most Outstanding Player at 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Americans Michaela Gordon, a 2017-2018 ITA All-American and the ITA National Rookie of the Year at Stanford; former Arizona State standout Jacqueline Cako; and Jamie Loeb, winner of seven career ITF singles titles, received wild cards into the Women’s Qualifying Draw and will begin play today, along with 16-year-old American Naomi Cheong, who will be playing in her first Tour-level event.
In addition, Oracle has partnered with the USTA Foundation and the local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapters in Chicago to provide funding and opportunities to under-served youth. Approximately 100 kids, 8-to-10 years old, from the four Chicago-area NJTL chapters will come to XS Tennis Village on Saturday, September 8thto participate in a Red Ball Competition to foster tennis skills and sportsmanship.
The 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series will begin in Chicago and culminate at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open, the largest ATP World Tour and WTA combined two-week event in the world held annually at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The two American women and two American men who accumulate the most points over the course of the Series will receive wild cards into their respective singles main draws in Indian Wells. The tournament marks the first professional tennis tournament to be held in the city of Chicago since the 1990s.