Monday, March 18, 2019

NorCal amateur Brooksby, 18, earns first pro title

Jenson Brooksby, practicing in Sacramento last May, routed No. 2 seed
Aleksandar Vukic of Australia 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the $25,000
Bakersfield Tennis Open in Southern California. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old amateur from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, won his first professional title on Sunday.
   The wild card routed second-seeded Aleksandar Vukic of Australia 6-3, 6-1 in the final of the $25,000 Bakersfield Tennis Open in Southern California.
   Brooksby, who's listed at 6-foot-1 (1.85 meters) and only 140 pounds (64 kilograms), lost no more than six games in four of his five matches.
   However, Brooksby barely survived in the second round against unseeded Alexander Ritschard, a 24-year-old Swiss native who starred at Virginia and plays for the United States. Brooksby prevailed 6-7 (2), 7-5, 7-6 (5) in 3 hours, 7 minutes but did not face a match point.
   Brooksby won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich. last August to earn an automatic wild card in the main draw of the U.S. Open, losing to Australian veteran John Millman 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in oppressive humidity in the first round. Millman went on to stun Roger Federer in the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
   Brooksby plans to enroll at Baylor in Waco, Texas, in the fall or January 2020.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Serena retires with viral illness vs. Muguruza in BNP

Serena Williams, playing in San Jose last July, has not advanced past the
third round in Indian Wells since losing to Victoria Azarenka in the 2016 final.
Photo by Mal Taam
   For the third time in five years, an injury or illness has kept Serena Williams from playing in Indian Wells.
   In a matchup of former world No. 1s on Sunday, 20th-seeded Garbine Muguruza led 6-3, 1-0 in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open when the 10th-seeded Williams retired because of a viral illness.
   Williams, a part-time Silicon Valley resident, played brilliantly in a 7-5, 6-3 victory over another former world No. 1, Victoria Azarenka, on Friday night and bolted to a 3-0 lead against Muguruza. From then on, however, Williams looked lethargic.
   "Before the match, I did not feel great, and then it just got worse with every second -- extreme dizziness and extreme fatigue," Williams, a two-time Indian Wells champion (1999 and 2001), told reporters. "By the score, it might have looked like I started well, but I was not feeling at all well physically. I will focus on getting better and start preparing for Miami."
   After boycotting the Indian Wells tournament for 14 years, Williams withdrew from her 2015 semifinal against Simona Halep with a right knee injury. Halep went on to win the title.
   Williams, 37, has not advanced past the third round at Indian Wells since losing in the 2016 final to Azarenka. Williams pulled out of the 2017 tournament with a left knee injury and announced the following month that she was 20 weeks pregnant.
   Muguruza defeated a top-10 player for the first time in more than a year and evened her record against Williams at 3-3 in their first non-Grand Slam match. Their last two meetings had come in finals, with Muguruza winning her first major title in the 2016 French Open and Williams claiming the sixth of her seven Wimbledon crowns in 2015.
   In men's action on Sunday, 14th-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia eliminated Mackenzie McDonald, who was born and raised in Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 7-5, 6-0 in the second round.
   However, wild cards McDonald and Reilly Opelka defeated French alternates Adrian Mannarino and Gael Monfils 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the first round. Opelka, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) American, is 13 inches (33 centimeters) taller than McDonald.
   In the second round of doubles:
   --Seventh-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand topped Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (4).
   --Elise Mertens of Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus edged Raquel Atawo (Cal, 2001-04) of Sacramento and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 5-7, 6-3 [11-9].

Saturday, March 9, 2019

After BNP loss, Querrey will plunge further in rankings

Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, lost
to 13th-seeded Milos Raonic 7-6 (1), 6-4 today in the
second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
File photo by Paul Bauman
   Sam Querrey's free-fall in the rankings will continue.
   The 31-year-old San Francisco native lost to 13th-seeded Milos Raonic 7-6 (1), 6-4 today in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Raonic, who reached the Wimbledon and Indian Wells finals in 2016, hammered 18 aces and saved all four break points against him. Querrey, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), pounded 10 aces and escaped four of the five break points he faced.
   Raonic improved to 4-2 against Querrey in a rematch of their Indian Wells quarterfinal last year. Raonic won that encounter 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
   Querrey, who ascended to a career-high No. 11 in February last year, will plunge from No. 51 to about No. 69 in the next rankings on March 18. That would be his lowest spot since he was No. 77 in June 2014.
   Both Raonic, a 28-year-old Canadian, and Querrey, now based in Las Vegas, have excelled in Northern California.
   Raonic never lost a set in three appearances in the SAP Open in San Jose, winning the last three titles (2011, 2012 and 2013) before the tournament ended a 125-year run in NorCal.
   Querrey swept the Napa, Sacramento and Tiburon Challengers in three weeks in 2014.
   In the first round of men's doubles today, fourth-seeded Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, playing in their native Southern California, dispatched Russians Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, both ranked in the top 15 in singles, 6-3, 6-2.
   The 40-year-old Bryan twins (Stanford, 1997-98) won the Indian Wells title in 2013 and 2014 and were the runners-up in 2003, 2006 and last year.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Serena beats Azarenka in BNP baseline battle

Serena Williams slugs a backhand during her 7-5, 6-3 victory over Victoria
Azarenka tonight in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Photo by Harjanto Sumali
   It was like old times.
   Serena Williams, a part-time Silicon Valley resident, defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 in a scintillating featured match tonight in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
   Tennis Channel commentator Lindsay Davenport called the 2-hour, 6-minute battle of mothers and former world No. 1s the highest-quality match on the WTA tour this year.
   Williams, ranked and seeded 10th, had not played a match since losing to Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January. Still, it had the intensity of a Grand Slam final as she and Azarenka, ranked 48th, traded punishing groundstrokes.
   Williams improved to 18-4 against Azarenka in their first meeting since the 2016 Indian Wells final, which the Belarusian won 6-4, 6-4. Williams defeated Azarenka in three sets in the 2012 and 2013 U.S. Open finals.
   Both players have won Indian Wells twice. They also combined for four titles in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, with Williams winning three (2011, 2012 and 2014). The tournament ended a 21-year run at Stanford in 2017 and was replaced by the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
   Williams is scheduled to face another former world No. 1, Garbine Muguruza, on Sunday. Muguruza, seeded 20th, beat American wild card Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-3.
   Williams is 3-2 against Muguruza, who won twice on clay. Their last two meetings have come in Grand Slam finals, with Muguruza winning her first Grand Slam title in the 2016 French Open and Williams claiming her sixth of seven Wimbledon crowns in 2015.
   Also today, Stephanie Voegele, a Swiss qualifier ranked No. 109, improved to 5-1 against Fresno product Sloane Stephens, ranked and seeded fourth, with 6-3, 6-0 victory in 68 minutes in the wind.
    In the opening round of men's singles, San Francisco Bay Area native Mackenzie McDonald topped Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 for his first main-draw victory at Indian Wells.
   The 23-year-old McDonald starred at UCLA, a two-hour drive west of Indian Wells. He will play 14th-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Sunday.
   Medvedev beat McDonald 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the second round of qualifying in Toronto last August in their only previous meeting.
   In first-round doubles matches:
   --Top seeds and 2016 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France edged John Isner of Dallas and Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, 6-7 (3), 6-4 [12-10]. Isner won the title last year with compatriot Jack Sock.
   --Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany defeated Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 7-5, 6-3.
   --Raquel Atawo (Cal, 2001-04) of Sacramento and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia dismissed Miyu Kato and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-1.

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Querrey to face Raonic in Indian Wells showdown

Sam Querrey, a 31-year-old San Francisco native, will play
No. 13 seed Milos Raonic in a rematch of last year's quarter-
final in Indian Wells. Raonic prevailed in three sets. File photo
by Paul Bauman
   In just over one year, Sam Querrey has tumbled from a career-high No. 11 to No. 51.
   If the 31-year-old San Francisco native doesn't at least match his quarterfinal finish in last year's BNP Paribas Open, which will be very difficult, he will fall even further.
   Querrey outlasted Matteo Berrettini of Italy 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4 in the first round in Indian Wells on Thursday to set up a rematch of last year's quarterfinal against Milos Raonic, who won that encounter 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.
   Raonic, the 13th seed and 2016 runner-up to Novak Djokovic, received a first-round bye. The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Canadian is 3-2 against the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey.
   Raonic never lost a set in three appearances in the SAP Open in San Jose, winning the last three titles before the tournament moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2014 after 125 years in Northern California.
   Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate playing in his native Southern California, lost to Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round in Indian Wells.
   It was Klahn's first match since a first-round loss to Hyeon Chung of South Korea in the Australian Open in January. The 90th-ranked Klahn, who underwent his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in 2015, is 0-3 in the main draw in Indian Wells.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Roundup: Silicon Valley Classic, Indian Wells, Gould

Garbine Muguruza is scheduled to play in the Mubadala
Silicon Valley Classic, July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State.
2017 photo by Mal Taam
   Former world No. 1s Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka and American phenom Amanda Anisimova have entered the second annual Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, tournament officials announced Wednesday.
   The tournament, which replaced the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, is scheduled for July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State. 
   Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, has slumped to No. 20. The 25-year-old Spaniard won the Stanford doubles title with compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro in 2014.
   Muguruza withdrew from last year's tournament with a right arm injury hours before she was scheduled to play Azarenka in the second round. Muguruza had received a first-round bye. 
   Azarenka, the Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, has climbed to No. 48 after ending 2017 at No. 208 because of the birth of her first child and subsequent custody battle. The 29-year-old Belarusian captured the Stanford singles championship in 2010 and doubles title (with Maria Kirilenko) in 2011.
   Anisimova, ranked No. 67, is the youngest player in the top 100 at 17 years old. She won her first professional title in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger.
   In last year's Silicon Valley Classic finals, Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania routed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-0, and Latisha Chan of Chinese Taipei and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic defeated twins Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine 6-4, 6-1.
   BNP Paribas Open -- Azarenka dispatched countrywoman Vera Lapko 6-2, 6-3 in the first round to set up a rematch of the 2016 final against 10th-seeded Serena Williams.
   Azarenka beat Williams 6-4, 6-4 for the 2016 title in their last meeting, but Williams leads the head-to-head series 17-4.
   Azarenka also won the Indian Wells crown in 2012, defeating Maria Sharapova. Williams captured the title in 1999 and 2001, then boycotted the tournament for 13 years because of a racially charged incident.
   In the first round of women's doubles, Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium and Johanna Larsson of Sweden dominated wild cards Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, 6-1, 6-2.
   College men -- Stanford coaching legend Dick Gould and 11 others will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor on March 15 in Las Vegas.
   Gould led Stanford to a 776-148 (.840) record and 17 NCAA team titles in 38 years as the coach (1967-2004). He was enshrined in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 2006.
   Joining Gould in the Pac-12 Hall of Honor will be Meg Ritchie-Stone (Arizona track and field), Frank Kush (Arizona State football), Ann Meyers Drysdale (UCLA basketball), Natalie Coughlin (California swimming), Ronnie Lott (USC football), Lisa Van Goor (Colorado basketball), Steve Smith Sr. (Utah football), Bev Smith (Oregon basketball), Patricia "Trish" Bostrom (Washington tennis), Dick Fosbury (Oregon State track and field) and John Olerud (Washington State baseball).
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