USTA Press Release, April 24, 2018
Taylor Townsend is well on her way to earning a third main draw wild card into the French Open, as the former world junior No. 1 took a big lead in this year’s Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge by winning the singles title at the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Dothan, Ala., last week.
Townsend, who won the Challenge in 2014 and 2016, earned 115 points by defeating Mariana Duque-Marino in Sunday’s title match to buoy her Challenge point total up to 144 after Week 2, well ahead of second-place Caroline Dolehide‘s 80 and third-place Francesca Di Lorenzo‘s 43.
The wild card will go to the player whose best two results during this four-week window produce the most points, and with two $80,000 events left to play, in Charlottesville, Va., this week and Charleston, S.C., next week, the wild card is still up for grabs for any American not on the French Open main draw direct entry list, which was released last week. But Townsend is already halfway toward a maximum point total of 230, and with no other American having logged a 115-point performance in either Week 1 or 2, Townsend can clinch the wild card with a title victory this week in Charlottesville.
The men’s side of the Wild Card Challenge, meanwhile, is far from having a front-runner. Though 20-year old Reilly Opelka took the lead after Week 2 after a semifinal run at the $100,000 Challenger in Sarasota, Fla., his 33 total points only give him a narrow lead over second-place Denis Kudla (32) and third-place Stefan Kozlov (29).
USTA Player Development will award a French Open main-draw wild card to one American man and one American woman who earn the most ATP World Tour and WTA Tour ranking points in a series of clay-court events this spring. The challenge began the week of April 9 and concludes the week of April 30.
For the men’s wild card challenge, USTA Player Development will consider all American results worldwide for the wild card. Both USTA Pro Circuit tournaments and international ATP Tour and Challenger tournaments on any professional outdoor clay surface (Har-Tru or red) at prize money of $50,000 and above will be included (qualifying and main draw points). The women’s wild card challenge will still consist of results earned at four USTA Pro Circuit clay-court events over the next four weeks in the United States (main draw points only).
The USTA and the French Tennis Federation have a reciprocal agreement in which wild cards into the 2018 French Open and US Open are exchanged. Only Americans who did not otherwise earn direct entry into the French Open are eligible. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on Monday, May 7, will be awarded the wild card.
The standings, as of April 23, can be found here. All players in red are currently ranked in the Top 100 and likely to receive direct entry into the 2018 French Open