Vandeweghe, Giron win
Australian Open wild cards
Arthur Kapetanakis | November 18, 2019
Former world No. 10 CoCo Vandeweghe and former NCAA singles champion Marcos Giron clinched the 2020 Australian Open Women’s and Men’s Wild Card Challenges with strong performances in the final week of the contest. With both competing in the Oracle Challenger Series event in Houston, Vandeweghe reached the final while Giron won the title. Had either player lost one round sooner, they would have fallen short of the top spot.
Vandeweghe, a 2017 Australian Open semifinalist, defeated three seeded players on her way to the final. Her 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 semifinal victory over No. 7 Stefanie Voegele sealed her place atop the women’s standings, lifting her past the idle Katerina Stewart, who led the Challenge from Week 1.
A New York City native who currently resides in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., Vandeweghe spent 10 months away from competition between 2018 and 2019 while rehabbing a right-ankle injury. ADVERTISEMENT She returned in late July at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, a US Open Series event, and later competed in the US Open via her protected ranking. Now ranked No. 235, Vandeweghe has reached two finals in her comeback, including a runner-up finish at the ITF World Tennis Tour W60 event in Templeton, Calif.
Giron, a former UCLA star, usurped Michael Mmoh to clinch the men’s Challenge by defeating Ivo Karlovic to win the singles title at the ATP Challenger in Houston on Sunday. Trailing 1-6 in a third-set tiebreak against the big-serving Croat, the California native saved six match points before winning the breaker, 11-9, and taking the title with a 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 victory.
As Giron’s title improved his ATP ranking to a career high of No. 102, likely good enough for direct entry into Melbourne, the 21-year-old Mmoh could still end up receiving the wild card. The second-place finisher, who ended the Challenge with 105 points to Giron’s 140, won the USTA Pro Circuit M80 event in Knoxville, Tenn., in Week 2.
For more on the USTA's Australian Open Wild Card Challenge, including complete standings, visit our Challenge homepage.
The 2020 Australian Open will be held from Jan. 20-Feb. 2.
Photos courtesy of Oracle Challenger Series.