Klizan And Errani Crowned Champions At Oracle Challenger At Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – On a brilliant sunny day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, unseeded Martin Klizan of Slovakia and qualifier Sara Errani of Italy finished the Oracle Challenger Series on a winning note as they captured their respective singles titles with impressive straight-set victories.
The 28-year-old Klizan, who came to the desert ranked No. 181 in the world, won the men’s title with a dominating 6-3, 6-3 win in 69 minutes over unseeded Darian King of Barbados in the final.
Playing on Stadium 4, Klizan used his strong forehand to keep King off-balance throughout the match. After winning the first set in 36 minutes, Klizan and King were even at 3-3 in the second set when the hard-hitting Slovakian took control, winning 12 of the final 13 points and breaking King’s serve twice in the last three games to close out the match.
“It means a lot to me, after five or six months of not playing. I’ve been injured. It’s a great feeling, especially this tournament, there were so many great players,” said Klizan, who was ranked as high as No. 24 in the world in 2015. “I was feeling great, I had the confidence and I put all the forehands in. My focus this week was great. I’m happy I could be the last one on court.
In the women’s singles final Errani, a former Roland Garros finalist, overcame a 4-1 deficit in the first set and came back to defeat fourth-seeded Kateryna Bondarenko of the Ukraine 6-4, 6-2 in one-hour and 20 minutes.
The turning point of the women’s singles final came in the sixth game of the first set with Errani serving at 1-4. The Italian fought off three break points in a marathon 24-point game that went to deuce eight times. After holding serve, to close the margin to 2-4, Errani swept the final four games to win the first set.
Errani opened the second set with a service break and eventually built a 5-2 lead over Bondarenko. In the eighth game, despite a double fault, Errani served out the match.
“I was nervous. It was a final and everyone wants to win the final. I’m really happy with the win today. I had two matches in the qualy and five in the main draw. Every match was quite tough,” Errani said. “(I was) 4-1 down, she was playing really good, but I was focused and had my opportunities.”
The tournament in Indian Wells was the second event of the Oracle Challenger Series. The first event was played on January 20-28, 2018 at the Newport Beach Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif. Taylor Fritz of Palos Verdes, Calif., captured the men’s singles title with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory over fellow American Bradley Klahn in the final. Former two-time NCAA singles champion Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., defeated Sofya Zhuk of Russia 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the women’s singles final.
The top two male and top two female Americans with the highest accumulated points in the Oracle Challenger Series were awarded wildcards in their respective singles main draws at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, held March 5-18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Bradley Klahn and Reilly Opelka – the second and third place finishers, respectively, in the inaugural Oracle Challenger Series received main draw wildcards into the BNP Paribas Open. Fellow American Taylor Fritz won the Series, but moved into the main draw on the basis of his current ranking.
The top two female finishers in the Oracle Challenger Series, Danielle Collins, winner of the women's singles final at the Oracle Challenger Series - Newport Beach, and 2017 US Open girls’ singles champion Amanda Anisimova received wildcards to the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open.