USTA Press Release, October 28, 2019
Twenty-two-year-old Katerina Stewart has the Week 1 lead in the women’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge after winning the USTA Pro Circuit W80 event in Macon, Ga., on Sunday — an encouraging result for the former world No. 158, who will now have to wait to see if it holds.
The Miami native banked 115 points in the Challenge standings with her title victory in Macon over former French Open quarterfinalist Shelby Rogers, who sits in second place with 70 points. Stewart, though, has no plans to play any further events in the Challenge, which counts ranking points from a player’s best three results during its four-week run.
Still, Stewart, a former USTA Girls’ 16s national champion, has found her form quickly in what’s amounted to a second return to pro tennis. Stewart ended her endeavor into the United States Army at West Point when an NCAA rules miscommunication prevented her from playing college tennis for Army. She then suffered a herniated disk following a car accident that kept her out from last September until this May.
The men’s side of the Challenge begins this week, with the men’s wild card going to the American with the highest cumulative total of ATP singles ranking points earned from their best two results during the three-week men’s window, including results from any professional hard-court event at the ATP Challenger level and above around the world.
Americans who otherwise earn direct entry into the Australian Open are not eligible, nor are players ranked in the ATP or WTA Top 50 at the start of the Challenge. Should the player with the highest number of Challenge points earn direct entry into the Australian Open, the wild card will go to the next eligible American in the Challenge points standings. In the event of a tie, the player with the best ATP or best WTA singles ranking on November 18 will earn the wild card.
All USTA Pro Circuit tournaments will be streamed live on www.procircuit.usta.com. The Challenge will consist of the following events:
- Week of October 28: USTA Pro Circuit W80: Tyler, Texas; ITF World Tennis Tour W60s: Toronto, Canada; Liuzhou, China; Nantes, France.
- Week of November 4: USTA Pro Circuit W60 Event: Las Vegas; ITF World Tennis Tour W100: Shenzhen, China.
- Week of November 11: WTA $125,000 Series Events: Houston, Texas; Taipei; ITF World Tennis Tour W100: Tokyo.
- Week of October 28: ATP Masters 1000 Paris; ATP Challenger 110: Shenzhen, China; USTA Pro Circuit / ATP Challenger 80s: Charlottesville, Va.; Playford, Australia.
- Week of November 4: ATP Challenger 110: Bratislava, Slovakia; USTA Pro Circuit / ATP Challenger 80s: Knoxville, Tenn.; Kobe, Japan.
- Week of November 11: ATP Challenger 125: Houston; USTA Pro Circuit / ATP Challenger 80s: Champaign, Ill.; Helsinki, Finland; Ortisei, Italy; Pune, India.
The 2020 Australian Open will be held January 20-February 2.