Australian Open Wild Card Challenge presented by the USTA
(USTA) The Australian Open Wild Card Challenge presented by the USTA kicked off this week with the women’s challenge, and young American Victoria Duval has taken the early lead.
Duval, 21, who is on the comeback trail after recovering from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, advanced to the final of the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event in Macon, Ga., this weekend to earn 70 ranking points. Kayla Day is in second place with 42 points after reaching the semifinals, while Jamie Loeb is in third place after a quarterfinal finish in Macon. The women’s challenge continues this week at the $80,000 event in Tyler, Texas, while the men’s challenge kicks at the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Charlottesville, Va.
The women’s standings and schedule, as of Oct. 30, can be found here (women’s standings).
USTA Player Development will award an Australian Open main-draw wild card to the one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA ranking points in a series of hard-court events this fall. The women’s challenge concludes the week of Nov. 6, while the men’s challenge concludes the week of Nov. 13. Both challenges will include the best two results during the three-week time period.
New this year for the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will consider all American players’ results worldwide for the wild cards (main draw and qualifying). USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and U.S. and international ATP World Tour events at the ATP Challenger-level and above played on a hard-court surface will be included. The women’s challenge will include select $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit hard-court events (main draw only).
Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP (on Nov. 14) or best WTA (on Nov. 7) singles ranking will be awarded the wild card. The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2017 US Open and 2018 Australian Open are exchanged. The 2018 Australian Open main draw will be held Monday, Jan. 15, through Sunday, Jan. 28.
All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. Follow the USTA Pro Circuit on Twitter via #USTAProCircuit.
The USTA first used this wild card format in 2012 to award wild cards into the French Open and US Open and has been doing so ever since. Last year, young Americans Michael Mmoh and Kayla Day earned wild cards into the 2017 Australian Open by winning the wild card challenge; both players have since broken into the Top 150. This year, then-15-year old Amanda Anisimova and Tennys Sandgren, who was on the comeback from hip surgery, won the Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge for wild cards into the French Open, and young Americans Sofia Kenin and Tommy Paul earned US Open wild cards by winning the US Open Wild Card Challenge this summer; Kenin reached the third round in New York to face Maria Sharapova in Arthur Ashe Stadium.