The Oracle Challenger Series has awarded two-time WTA title winner Belinda Bencic and Grand Slam Doubles Champion Peng Shuai wild cards into the main draw of the Houston tournament, set to take place November 10-18 at the George R. Brown Tennis Center at Rice University.
Currently ranked World No. 39, Bencic will make her Oracle Challenger Series debut in Houston after a solid 2018 season that included a victory at the Hopman Cup and a run to the Round of 16 at Wimbledon. Peng, a former WTA doubles No. 1 ranked player, has 23 total singles and doubles titles on Tour as well as a singles semifinal appearance at the 2014 US Open.
Additionally, the Series has awarded one male and one female student athlete from Rice University wild cards into their respective main draws. Representing the men’s tennis team is American Sumit Sarkar, a sophomore New York native who earned All-Conference USA first team honors in doubles and second team in singles. The women’s wild card will be filled by sophomore Michaela Haet, who earned Conference USA All-Freshman honors in 2017. Remaining spots in both main and qualifying draws will be filled by additional wild cards, which will be announced prior to the start of the event.
The 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series, which began in Chicago in September, will continue in Houston 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.