Smyczek Takes Early Lead In USTA Australian Open Wild Card Challenge

USTA Press Release, November 7, 2017

The men’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge presented by the USTA kicked off this week with Tim Smyczek taking the early lead by winning the $75,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger in Charlottesville, Va.

Smyczek claimed 80 points with the win, defeating fellow American Tennys Sandgren in the final. The victory was Smyczek’s first USTA Pro Circuit Challenger title since 2015 and seventh USTA Pro Circuit singles title overall. Sandgren currently stands in second place in the wild card challenge with 48 points.

The women’s challenge continued into its second week at the $80,000 event in Tyler, Texas. Kristie Ahn took the lead in the challenge with 116 points after winning the singles title in Tyler, defeating fellow American Danielle Collins in the final. The win was Ahn’s second USTA Pro Circuit singles title of the year. Collins is currently tied with Victoria Duval for second place in the wild card challenge with 80 points. Duval reached the final of the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Macon, Ga., two weeks ago.

The women’s challenge concludes this week at the $80,000 event in Waco, Texas. The men’s challenge continues into its second week with the $75,000 USTA Pro CircuitChallenger in Knoxville, Tenn., along with three hard-court ATP Challengers overseas.

The women’s and men’s standings and schedule, as of Nov. 6, can be found here (women’s standingsmen’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.