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Osuigwe joins Watson, Muhammad and King in Houston Oracle Challenge

Oracle Challenge Series

By Editorial Team

On the heels of a $80k title win in Tyler, Texas, Whitney Osuigwe remains on the hunt for more upset wins in Houston this week. She was able to qualify for the main draw comfortably with a decisive win today over Réka LucaJani 6-3, 6-4 and now faces 199th ranked Naomi Broady of Great Britain in the 1st round. Whitney has made a huge leap into the top 250 after a string of great wins, but she is not slowing down as she aims to manufacture more wins with her steady play and mental toughness.

Watson and Muhammad are also aiming to have a good showing after facing major headwinds in Las Vegas last week with early round losses. The stakes are high for both players as they compete to finish the year within the top 100. Heather is right on the cusp of the top 100, but she will have to work overtime in Houston to reach her goals.

On the men’s side, Darian King will compete to get in his groove found last year (reached the round of 64 in main draw of 2017 BNP Open) to possibly qualify for an opportunity to play in next year’s 2019 BNP Open Qualifying Draw. A main draw wildcard goes to the highest finisher of the 5 tournament Challenger Series events. Darian may be out of contention for the main draw, but no fight is lacking for this talented 26 year old from Barbados. Opportunity is sure to find Darian as he continues to perfect his athletic style of play.

Match play begins tomorrow, click here to view the draws and order of play.

 

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Kamau Murray, nominated for WTA Coach of the Year award

BT Media Group/Getty Images

By Editorial Team

Kamau Murray has been nominated as WTA Coach of the Year with an impressive year following the 2017 US Open title by his prized pupil, Sloane Stephens. Kamau has had a working relationship with Sloane for three years, but her race to the top was heavily influenced by Kamau’s commitment to excellence and encouragement. With Sloane sporting a year-end WTA ranking of 6, French Open, Montreal and Singapore Finals appearances and a Miami Open title, Kamau is definitely well deserving of this year’s prize.

In addition to his coaching promise, Kamau is the Founder of XS Tennis and Education foundation in Chicago, which played host to Chicago’s first professional tennis event in 2018 with its inaugural WTA 125k series tournament.

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Pro Tour

Roy Smith tops Road to Indian Wells leaderboard

Roy Smith

HOUSTON, TEXAS. November 17, 2018 – The men’s draw for Oracle Challenger Series Houston started with an impressive 17 Americans – players ranging from seasoned players like Tennys Sandgren to newcomers to the tour like Harrison Adams, and everyone in between. This week, which has already seen eight all-American men’s matchups is about to see one more as Oracle Challenger Series veteran Bradley Klahn faces off against one of the Tour’s newest members, Roy Smith.

Klahn is no stranger to the ATP Challenger Tour and has seen great success at Oracle Challenger Series events in particular, making the finals in Newport Beach and receiving one of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open wild cards. The California native’s winning streak continued today as he eliminated German Dominik Koepfer in two sets: 63 64. Klahn is currently ranked inside the top 100 at World No. 97 and looks to gain even more points, as well as a healthy lead in the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard.

Klahn’s opponent on Sunday is 19-year-old Baylor University sophomore and tournament wild card, Roy Smith. Smith has been surprising fans and players alike this week, with his strong serve and his impressive on court power. New to the Challenger Tour, Smith celebrated his first ever Tour win at the beginning of this week and very well may celebrate his first championship by the end. The New Haven, CT native and World No. 870 battled past Darian King, Harrison Adams and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski to reach the semifinals today, where he won in a walkover (his opponent Kamil Majchrzak retired in the middle of the second set, 64 23). Regardless of the outcome tomorrow, this event is sure to have a profound impact on Smith’s ATP rankings.

By reaching the Houston event finals, both Klahn and Smith are currently tied in first place with Chicago finalist Reilly Opelka in the Road to Indian Wells leaderboard, with the winner of tomorrow’s men’s finals match one of them will pull ahead in the race to the BNP Paribas Open.

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Pro Tour

Match Preview: Roy Smith vs. Kamil Majchrzak

Jared Wickerham/Oracle Challenger Series

HOUSTON, TEXAS. November 16, 2018 – With Whitney Osuigwe and Heather Watson out in the quaterfinals today, Kamil Majchrzak of Poland and American Roy Smith are making the most out of their first Oracle Challenger Series event, advancing to the semifinals in Houston. 22-year-old Majchrzak started the tournament strong, upsetting number 1 seed and World No. 61 Tennys Sandgren in straight sets (62 75) before duking it out with Roberto Ortega-Olmedo of Spain for three sets in yesterday’s second round. His journey to the semifinals was completed by a three-set quarterfinal defeat of Taipei’s Jason Jung: 76(5) 67(2) 63.

His opponent and Baylor University sophomore, Roy Smith, is a newcomer to the tour. The hard-hitting 19-year-old and World No. 870 has been surprising fans all week, first eliminating Oracle Challenger Series veteran Darian King followed by fellow young American and Series newcomer Harrison Adams.

Having received a wild card into the Houston event, Smith got one step closer on his Road to Indian Wells with a nail-biting three set victory over World No. 310 Thai-Son Kwiatowski. Smith came back fighting after losing the first set, landing an impressive 11 aces and defeating the University of Virginia grad in a three set tie break: 46 76(5) 76(1).

 

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