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James Blake, Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas and Juan Carlos Ferrero Warm Up A Cold Night In Houston, TX Competing For The Oracle Champions Cup

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Oracle Champions Cup Presented By RBC Wealth Management at the 2019 Oracle Challenger Series in Houston, Texas was definitely worth coming out for.  The four legendary players that competed in the event, James Blake, Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas and Juan Carlos Ferrero, provided a very high spirited competition drawing in the crowd and entertaining them all through the night.

At various points during the evening, whether the players were entering or exiting the stadium, the crowd members that so desired got autographs, photos and sheer pleasure from simply being in the midst of these guys.

James Blake and Juan Carlos Ferrero opened the competition against one another with Ferrero taking the win.  Next up, Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick hit the floor with Tommy Haas taking that win.  Both segments were exciting and highly challenging, keeping the crowd cheering.

The Final competition pitted Tommy Haas against Juan Carlos Ferrero in a single set of action that would clearly earn the winner the Champions Cup.  And that winner was...  Tommy Haas.

This win placed Tommy Haas in an undefeated season on the Invesco Series QQQ circuit and claim the season-long points title on the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

Haas, the former world No. 2 and silver medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games, finished the 2019 Invesco Series QQQ season with a perfect 10-0 record, winning titles in Newport Beach, Calif, Maui, Hawaii, New Haven, Connecticut, Los Angeles and in the season finale in Houston Thursday played indoors at the Tudor Fieldhouse at Rice University. Haas is the first player in the 15-year history of the Invesco Series to be an undefeated year-end points champion.

“I didn’t really think about it,” said the 41-year-old Haas of his season-long effort finishing atop the Invesco Series QQQ rankings. “Every time I come out, I try to play as good as I can and I enjoy myself as well. If it ends up with a win, great. I try to just compete. If the other person is better than me then so be it. This year, it’s been working pretty good.”

Despite being retired from playing tennis full-time on the ATP Tour since 2017, Haas said that fitness is still important in his life, as he said it should be for all people to get out and exercise.

“Fitness, in general, is so important,” he said. “Even as you don’t play competitive sports anymore or whatever it is that you do, you have to keep doing something every day if you can. It’s easier said than done but even for me, I don’t go out and play tennis every day, but I try to do some kind of activity. The body just needs that otherwise you get stiff. You sit around all day; you don’t do anything. Especially when you want to come out here and try to move quite well. Line yourself up to the shot the right way and still try to have some core strength, and the leg strength, so you got to stay with it.”

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES-HOUSTON DAY 6: After Thursday's Overwhelming Rain Delay, The Tournament Was Back In More Than Full Effect on Friday

American Taylor Townsend, Day 6 of 2019 Oracle Challenger Series-Houston.

On Friday, November 15th, the 2019 Oracle Challenger Series returned to action on the courts of the George R. Brown Tennis Center at Rice University in Houston, Texas.  The rain and cold weather that began to take shape on Wednesday afternoon, came in full force on Thursday causing the shutdown of all court activity, leading into a very match laden Friday.  The schedule had all third-round winners playing two singles matches – and some even had to play a third match of doubles.

One of the first matches of the day was contested by two Americans, No. 2 seeded Taylor Townsend and 14th seed Caroline Dolehide.  While the weather was still a bit cold, Dolehide hit the court very competitively and took the first set.  In the second and third sets Townsend met, then superseded Dolehide's game, taking the match 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.

One court over, American Sekou Bangoura was up against the towering Croatian Ivo Karlovic. Bangoura has displayed very impressive athleticism and strategy throughout the tournament, and while he continued his gameplay, even taking the second set, Karlovic's powerful tree line serve alone wreaks havoc on most of his opponents, as it did Bangoura. Karlovic took the match 7-6, 2-6, 6-4

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES-HOUSTON DAY 4: Taylor Townsend Hits The Courts To Chalk Up More Victory, As Donald Young, Whitney Osuigwe and Mari Osaka Are Dismissed

Thursday, November 14, 2019

American Taylor Townsend in Round 2 of 2019 Oracle Challenger Series-Houston.

The 2019 Oracle Challenger Series-Houston has met its own challenges with an unusually cold weather factor that has caused significant match suspensions and delays, but it hasn't prevented players from bringing their best efforts when they've been able to hit the courts.

On Wednesday, clad in warm attire, No. 2 seed American Taylor Townsend defeated Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-4.  Townsend continued her very strategic gameplay that entails a net game not commonly seen, at least not the way it's brought by Townsend.  This is the first event she's played since her ultra fab run at the 2019 U.S. Open where she reached the round of 16. 

On Thursday morning Townsend is scheduled to play fellow American Caroline Dolehide.

Unable to overcome their opponents, tenth seed Donald Young was defeated by qualifier Alexis Galarneau 6-3, 3-6, 0-6, ninth seed Whitney Osuigwe was taken out by Hungarian Dalma Galfi 5-7, 6-2, 2-6, and Mari Osaka of Japan was greatly dominated by sixth seed American Catherine McNally 2-6, 0-6.

American Donald Young

American Whitney Osuigwe

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES HOUSTON: A Severely Cold Day Sees American Sekou Bangoura Through To Round Of 16, And The Elimination Of Vickery, Baptiste, King And Ayeni

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

American Sekou Bangoura into Oracle Challenger Series Round of 16

Severe cold and windy weather in  Houston, Texas added to the challenges that players faced in the 2019 Oracle Challenger Series on Tuesday.  Nonetheless, the players braved the weather and completed matches that were suspended on Monday, as well as those scheduled for today on the courts of the George R. Brown Tennis Center at Rice University.


Sachia Vickery, USA[15]   def. by   [WC]CoCo Vandeweghe, USA   5-7, 3-6

Hailey Baptiste, USA   def. by   Kirsten Flipkens, BEL   6-3, 3-6, 6(4)-7


Sekou Bangoura, USA[16]   def.   Peter Heller, GER   0-6, 6-4, 6-2

Darian King, BAR[7]   def. by   Gonzalo Escobar, ECU   6(3)-7, 5-7

[Q] Olukayode Alafia Damina Ayeni,USA   def. by   Flip Cristian Jianu, ROU   4-6, 2-6

American Sachia Vickery

American Olukayode Alafia Damina Ayeni

American Hailey Baptiste

Barbadien Darian King

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES DAY 2: Cloudy Overcast Day In Houston Doesn't Prevent Hailey Baptiste From Prevailing, And Evan King In a More Than Two-Hour Battle

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

American Hailey Baptiste, Day 2 of 2019 Oracle Challenger Series, Houston, Texas.

Though the weather on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas was mildly warm, cloudy and overcast, it did not prevent exciting player action on the courts of the George R. Brown Tennis Center on Day Two of the 2019 Oracle Challenger Series.  Though some of the matches were suspended due to the serious weather issues that presented colder temperatures, rain and wind in the late afternoon, those matches that were completed provided impressive play, and brought out generous fan support. Two of those matches were played by Americans Hailey Baptiste and Evan King.

Hailey was able to defeat Bulgarian Elitsa Kostova 6-2, 6-4 and advance to the second round where she will meet Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

               Sherry Dishman, Hailey's Mom

Evan King

Americans Evan King and Raymond Sarmiento filled the seats on Court No. 1 with a match that drew lots of energy and excitement from the stands during the two plus hours of play.  Both players clearly wanted to see second round action, although it was Sarmiento that managed to claim the victory and defeat King 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

Suffice it to say, the defeat lay strictly on the court, the two young men are good friends.  Sarmiento, who played collegiately at the University of Southern California, and King, who played at the University of Michigan, displayed their camaraderie at the net at the end of the match with an embrace.

“I’ve known Evan for years now,” said Sarmiento. “We’ve grown up together and we’re good buds. So, it’s tough playing a good friend on tour, but it was also one of the most fun matches I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, one of us had to lose.”

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young Secures Wild Card Into 2019 BNP Paribas Open

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Congratulations are in order for Donald Young, as the American has secured a wild card into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

The fourth event in the 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series is underway at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and Young clinched one of the two men’s wild cards by advancing to the third round of the tournament and taking the leaderboard lead with 80 points going into his third round match against Lloyd Harris. Yong’s admirable run, coupled with several American losses yesterday, have cemented his claim to a main draw wild card into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open.

Full article here.

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Donald Young, Jr. Keeps Wild Card Hopes Alive As He Defeats Fellow American Thai-Son Kwiatowski

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Donald Young, Jr. In 2019 Oracle Challenger Series

 (Oracle Challenger Series) In a three-set tiebreak victory over World No. 267 Thai-Son Kwiatowski, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), World No. 214 Donald Young kepts his wild card hopes very much alive. By securing a second round appearance at Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells, Young is guaranteed at least 5 ranking points which, when added to his current total of 70, places him even with fellow Americans Roy Smith and Reilly Opelka, neither of whom are playing the Indian Wells event.

A seasoned player who has spent 15 years on the ATP Tour, Young, who was once ranked as high as World No. 38, is no stranger to the BNP Paribas Open and hopes to capitalize on Oracle’s unique tournament format to earn himself a wild card.

Up next for Young is number 10 seed and World No. 122, Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland.

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2019 ORACLE CHALLENGER SERIES: Taylor Townsend Takes Out Sachia Vickery in Key Matchup on the Road to Indian Wells

American Taylor Townsend

(Oracle Challenger Series) In a highly-anticipated WTA matchup vital to determining who will earn the wild cards into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open, No. 9 seed Taylor Townsend took on fellow American Sachia Vickery on day two of play in Indian Wells. It was Townsend who came out on top, besting Vickery in straight sets 7-5, 6-2 in a match that took just over an hour to play.

Townsend is coming off of a strong performance at the Oracle Challenger Series Newport Beach just last month, where she reached the quarterfinals in singles and was a doubles finalist alongside partner Yanina Wickmayer.

Holding 29 points on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard coming into the week, she will give herself a chance to earn one of the wild cards into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open if she can have her best Oracle Challenger Series performance yet.

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