American qualifiers Caty McNally and Alycia Parks made inspired runs to the Ostrava quarterfinals last week—and joined forces to take the Ostrava doubles titles.
Now, the partners stand nearly shoulder to shoulder leading the race for a spot in Oz.
The 20-year-old McNally and 21-year-old Parks are separated by a single point on top of the USTA’s Australian Open Wild Card Challenge.
Claire Liu, 22, reached the semifinals at the WTA 250 in Monastir, Tunisia, though Liu is ranked No. 64, which would earn her direct entry into Melbourne. Parks is ranked No. 121 and McNally is ranked No. 123.
The current Top 3 with points with three weeks remaining in the Women’s Challenge window:
1. Caty McNally — 126
2. Alycia Parks — 125
3. Claire Liu — 111
Players ranked in the Top 50 when the five-week Challenge window began last Monday are not eligible to earn the wild card.
Madison Brengle was ranked No. 51 at the start of last week and is eligible for the Challenge. Should the player who wins the Challenge earn direct entry into the Australian Open (entry lists will be made on December 5), the wild card will go to the next eligible American in the Challenge points standings.
The Women’s Challenge will run through the week of October 24, and the wild card will be awarded to the American with the most ranking points earned at a maximum of three indoor and/or outdoor hard court tournaments during the five-week window.
All indoor and outdoor hard-court events at the 25 level and above, including WTA Tour events, will be included in the Challenge. In the event of a tie for the women, the player with the best WTA singles ranking on October 31 will earn the wild card.
The USTA and Tennis Australia have a reciprocal agreement in which main draw wild cards for the 2023 Australian Open and US Open will be exchanged. Wild card recipients will have to follow all Australian Open protocols as it relates to quarantine or vaccination.
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