Lauren Davis plays Sofya Zhuk on court 3 during the Oracle Challenger Series at the George R. Brown Tennis Center on the Rice University campus on Saturday November 17, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Oracle Challenger Series)
The future of American tennis is returning to Southern California, as the third stop on the Road to Indian Wells is set to take place at the Newport Beach Tennis Club on January 21-27, 2019. This event will mark the third of four tournaments in the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series.
The Series, which began in Chicago and Houston last fall, will return to Newport Beach and Indian Wells in early 2019 before culminating 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.
At the halfway point on the Road to Indian Wells, the final two events will be instrumental in determining the male and female winners of the coveted BNP Paribas Open wild card recipients. Bradley Klahn – the singles champion in Houston – is atop the leaderboard on the men’s side, while Lauren Davis – the Houston runner-up — holds the number one spot for the women. Trailing just behind them are Reilly Opelka, the runner-up in Chicago and a semifinalist a year ago in Newport Beach, and Sachia Vickery and Jessica Pegula. Vickery, a semifinalist in Chicago, and Pegula, a semifinalist in Houston as well as doubles champion, will both look to separate themselves from the pack with a strong showing at Newport Beach.
With the player field for Newport Beach announced just a few days ago, more than 30 American players will throw their hats in the rings for the wild card spots. The men’s draw features several ATP World Tour top-100 players including current leader Klahn (No. 76), Opelka (No. 99) and Mackenzie McDonald (No. 78), as well as former ATP Tour No. 8 Jack Sock. Other players looking up at Klahn, including current fourth place points-holder Bjorn Fratangelo, will be looking to catapult themselves atop the standings with a strong showing at Newport Beach.
Though Davis currently sits atop the women’s leaderboard, a number of players are within striking distance. Varvara Lepchenko looks to improve on her showing from Chicago and Houston, while eight WTA top-100 players including Sofia Kenin (No. 52), Rebecca Peterson (No. 63) and Maria Tatjana (No. 72) aim to make a statement of their own.
The Newport Beach tournament will be a joint ATP Challenger Tour/WTA 125K Series event and pay equal prize money ($150,000 per Tour) for a total of $300,000. The event will be free and open to the public.