SoCal Natives Lead Upcoming Oracle Series

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Southern California native Steve Johnson will be one of the highlights of the upcoming Oracle Challenger Series in Newport Beach.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

The Oracle Challenger Series released its player entry lists last week, led by Southern California natives.

Tennis fans will gather locally for the event, scheduled for Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 at the Newport Beach Tennis Club.

Most noteworthy on the list is two-time grand slam semifinalist and six-time WTA winner CoCo Vandeweghe, according to a Jan. 8 Oracle press release.

As the main draw for the women’s matches, Rancho Santa Fe native Vandeweghe continues her comeback campaign following extensive layoffs in 2019 due to injury.

Vandeweghe is a 2018 US Open Champion in doubles, with career-high rankings of no. 10 (singles) and no. 14 (doubles).

She advanced to the finals at the 2019 Oracle Challenger Series Houston, and currently sits in the second spot on the road to Indian Wells leaderboard, officials explained in the announcement.

Other highlights on the player list include four-time ATP Tour singles winner Steve Johnson; 2019 Oracle Challenger Series champions Tommy Paul and Marcos Giron; 2019 Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach finalist Jessica Pegula; and Canadian former World No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard.

Oracle series women’s finals match in 2019 between Bianca Andreescu (foreground) and Jessica-Pegula.
— Photo by Jim Collins

A potent men’s field is highlighted by two Southern California natives in Johnson and Giron, who played their collegiate tennis for crosstown rivals USC and UCLA respectively, Oracle officials reported.

World no. 84 Johnson is making his Oracle Challenger Series debut, while Giron, who currently sits atop the road to Indian Wells leaderboard, took home the doubles trophy last year in Indian Wells as well as the 2019 Houston singles title.

Pegula, who captured her first WTA Tour level title at Washington last summer and finished as runner-up at last year’s Newport Beach event. World no. 77 Townsend — the highest-ranked player in the women’s draw — is hoping to build upon the momentum she gained from an improbable round of 16 run at the 2019 US Open, officials remarked in the press release.

Also entered is teenage sensation and world no. 118 Catherine McNally; New Haven finalist and current points leader on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard Usue Arconada; Challenger Series veteran Nicole Gibbs; former top-25 singles player Christina McHale; and 2018 Oracle US Tennis Award recipient Francesca Di Lorenzo.

CoCo Vandeweghe poses for a photo with a trophy at a previous match.
— Photo by Lawrence Sherwin ©

Former UCLA Bruin Robin Anderson and former USC Trojan Danielle Lao are also set to compete.

“The American women will be challenged by a strong pool of international competitors,” the message reads, including former British no. 1 Heather Watson and former French Open finalist and 2018 Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells champion Sara Errani of Italy.

The remaining spots in both the men’s and women’s main draws will be filled by wild cards, which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Admission to the Oracle Challenger Series is free by registering for a ticket. Free parking is also available on-site.

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