© Maria Noble/Oracle Challenger Series

Taylor Fritz is awarded a main draw wild card into the BNP Paribas Open.

Challenger Success Sees Fritz Earn Indian Wells Wild Card

American #NextGenATP claims main draw berth at the BNP Paribas Open

Taylor Fritz will never forget his 2017 run at the BNP Paribas Open. Just one year ago, the California native turned in the performance of his young career to stun sixth seed Marin Cilic in three gripping sets and reach the third round. It was his first victory over a Top 10 opponent.

Now, Fritz will have the opportunity to go one step further in 2018. On the heels of a dominant stretch on the ATP Challenger Tour, the #NextGenATP star earned a main draw wild card into the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year in Indian Wells.

"It feels really good knowing that I'll be playing in the main draw," said Fritz. "We're close to home here, so it's very special. I'm just happy to know I'm in."

The top two Americans at the inaugural Oracle Challenger Series - tournaments in Newport Beach and Indian Wells - are awarded berths into the BNP Paribas Open. In January, Fritz claimed the title in the Los Angeles suburb of Newport Beach, his first Challenger victory in two years. He has followed that up with a quarter-final run at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden this week, defeating both Noah Rubin and Norbert Gombos in straight sets.

"Coming into this week, I wasn't too worried about it," Fritz added. "I'm just approaching each tournament in the same way. Winning in Newport Beach and doing well here, I managed to pick up the wild card and I'm happy to have that opportunity."

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Fritz, who is up to No. 77 in the ATP Rankings, is rediscovering the top form that saw him climb to the doorstep of the Top 50 in 2016. He has posted a combined 16-4 record thus far this year, also finishing runner-up at the Challenger stop in Noumea and reaching the quarter-finals at last week's ATP World Tour event in Delray Beach.

Fritz continues his quest for a fifth ATP Challenger Tour title against Dudi Sela in Friday's quarters.

ATP Challenger Tour