World No. 93 and number 5 seed Taylor Townsend wasn’t messing around this morning in Newport Beach. She got down to business straight away, beating her opponent, World No. 308 Harmony Tan for France, in just under an hour and six minutes. While the 22-year-old Chicago native has participated in two past Oracle Challenger Series events (2018 Newport Beach, 2018 Indian Wells) she has seen more success on the doubles court than on the singles, reaching the quarterfinals in Newport Beach and winning the title in Indian Wells with partner Yanina Wickmayer.
Up next for Townsend is compatriot Lauren Davis of Ohio, who eliminated Mexican Renata Zarazua in two sets: 6-2, 7-6. The Oracle Challenger Series Houston finalist, Davis is currently in the top position on the women’s side of the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard and hopes to hold onto it. “It [the Oracle Challenger Series] gives us the opportunity to play in one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world,” said Davis. “Indian Wells, in my opinion, is like the fifth Grand Slam so hopefully I can win that wild card.” That wild card is certainly within reach for Davis, though several players are on her heels in the race.
Catching up with Davis is World No. 113 Jessica Pegula whose win over fellow American Allie Kiick (7-5, 6-3) sends her into the quarterfinals and places her firmly in the second position on the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard. Pegula saw great success at the Oracle Challenger Series Houston event where she wasn’t only a singles finalist but the doubles champion, along with her partner Maegan Manasse. Up next for the Buffalo, NY native is number 1 seed Rebecca Peterson of Sweden who came out on top in a two-set tiebreaks over American Claire Liu. Pegula and Peterson have met twice before, with Peterson winning each time. Still, with the wild card on the line, Pegula is doubly motivated to stay on court in Newport Beach.
Third on the leaderboard is Nicole Gibbs who returns to the Newport Beach quarterfinals, where she had her best ever Oracle Challenger Series showing in 2018, after a win over Katherine Sebov, 6-1, 6-2. Gibbs, who also participated in the 2018 Indian Wells and Houston events, has her work cut out for her tomorrow as she meets number 2 seed Tatjana Maria, who beat American Christina McHale on Court 3 today. Gibbs and Maria have met three times before, with Gibbs leading the head to head matchup 2 wins to 1.
Number 3 seed and World No. 79 Canadian Eugenie Bouchard beat Jil Teichmann of Switzerland on Court 1 and will meet compatriot Bianca Andreescu in an all-Canadian quarterfinal matchup. This will be the first on court meeting for Bouchard, 24 and Andreescu, 18.