Monday, June 17, 2019

Casper sweeps NorCal Sectional boys 18 crowns

Luke Casper, shown last November, defeated Phillip Martin
4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in Sacramento to win the boys 18 singles title
in the NorCal Junior Sectional Championships. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   Luke Casper, a 16-year-old Santa Cruz resident, defeated Theodore Dean of Livermore twice Sunday to sweep the boys 18 singles and doubles titles in the NorCal Junior Sectional Championships.
   Casper, seeded fourth in singles, beat the fifth-seeded Dean 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 and teamed with Phillip Martin of Los Altos as the fourth seeds to outclass second-seeded Karl Collins of Richmond and Dean 6-2, 6-3 at the Natomas Sports Club in Sacramento.
   Casper is the fourth of seven children. The oldest, Caroline, reached the NCAA Division III semifinals as a sophomore at Pomona-Pitzer in 2017 and the NCAA quarterfinals in each of her other three years. The Caspers' father, Mark, played tennis at Santa Clara.
   In the girls 18 singles final at the Fremont Tennis Center, top-seeded Katherine Duong of Cupertino topped second-seeded Amber Marie Lee of Orinda 1-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Lee gained revenge by defeating Duong in the doubles final. Second-seeded Lee and Sofia Zaprianov of Concord beat top-seeded Duong and Nora Lee of Oakland 6-4, 6-1.
   Following are results of the other NorCal Junior Sectional finals:
Boys 16
At Natomas Sports Club in Sacramento
Singles 
   Ryan Torres (1), San Ramon, def. Dylan Tsoi (4), El Dorado Hills, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles
   Nicholas Chen, Oakland, and Ryan Torres (1), San Ramon, def. Aardash Tripathi, Pleasanton, and Emon van Loben Sels (2), Sacramento, 6-2, 6-2.
Girls 16
At Fremont Tennis Center
Singles 
   Makenna Thiel (4), Piedmont, def. Alisha Chulani (9), Los Altos, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1.
Doubles
   Maryia Hrynashka, Rancho Cordova, and Tomi Main (4), Seaside, def. Makenna Thiel, Seaside, and Madison Weekley (3), Alamo, 6-2, 6-3.
Boys 14
At Arden Hills Athletic & Social Club in Sacramento
Singles 
   Cyrus Ahmad (2), Fremont, def. Mitchell Lee (1), Oakland, 6-1, 6-1.
Doubles
   Alex Fuchs, Los Altos, and Lleyton Okada-Alonzo (2), Marina, def. Krish Arora, San Jose, and Rithvik Katpelly (3), Fremont, 6-3, 3-6 [10-8].
Girls 14
At Arden Hills Athletic & Social Club in Sacramento
Singles 
   Anya Murthy (2), Fremont, def. Ava Martin (5), Menlo Park, 6-4, 6-4.
Doubles
   Ava Martin, Menlo Park, and Natasha Rajaram (1), Cupertino, def. Caroline Beard, Santa Rosa, and Privanka Shanker (3), Napa, 6-1, 7-6 (2).
Boys 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles 
   Jack Satterfield (1), Lafayette, def. Arnav Bhandari (2), San Ramon, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles
   Arnav Bhandari, San Ramon, and Jack Satterfield (1), Lafayette, def. Julian Morris, Alameda, and Leo Terman (4), Palo Alto, 8-4.
Girls 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles 
   Bianca Brown (5), Folsom, def. Georgia McDougall (1), Redwood City, 6-3, 6-3.
Doubles
   Bianca Brown, Folsom, and Georgia McDougall (2), Redwood City, def. Annika Penikova and Kristina Penickova (4), Campbell, 8-3.

Bay Area's Olmos claims first WTA doubles title

Giuliana Olmos, left, and Desirae Krawczyk pose after winning the doubles title
in the 2017 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in the Sacramento area. Photo
by Rob Vomund
   Giuliana Olmos, from Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, won her first WTA doubles title on Sunday.
   In a battle of unseeded teams, Olmos and Desirae Krawczyk from Palm Desert, Calif., beat Ellen Perez and Arina Rodionova of Australia 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the final of the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham, England.
   Krawczyk and Olmos -- former Pacific-12 Conference rivals at Arizona State and USC, respectively -- did not lose a set in their four matches in the grass-court tournament.
   Olmos, a 26-year-old Austria native who plays for Mexico, rose eight spots to a career-high No. 67 in doubles.

Nadal, Barty head French Open honor roll

   Results of all French Open finals:
   Men's singles -- Rafael Nadal (2), Spain, def. Dominic Thiem (4), Austria, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
   Women's singles -- Ashleigh Barty (8), Australia, def. Marketa Vondrousova, Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-3.
   Men's doubles -- Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, Germany, def. Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin, France, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
   Women's doubles -- Timea Babos, Hungary, and Kristina Mladenovic (2), France, def. Duan Yingying and Zheng Saisai, China, 6-2, 6-3.
   Mixed doubles -- Latisha Chan, Chinese Taipei, and Ivan Dodig, Croatia, def. Gabriela Dabrowski, Canada, and Mate Pavic (2), Croatia, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
   Boys singles -- Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune (7), Denmark, def. Toby Kodat, Bradenton, Fla., 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-0.
   Girls singles -- Leylah Annie Fernandez (1), Canada, def. Emma Navarro (8), Charleston, S.C., 6-3, 6-2.
   Boys doubles -- Matheus Pucinelli De Almeida, Brazil, and Thiago Augustin Tirante (5), Argentina, def. Flavio Cobilli, Italy, and Dominic Stephan Stricker, Switzerland, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
   Girls doubles -- Chloe Beck, Watkinsville, Ga., and Emma Navarro, Charleston, S.C., def. Alina Charaeva and Anastasia Tikhonova (4), Russia, 6-1, 6-2.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Nadal tops Thiem for 12th French Open title

Rafael Nadal practices at Indian Wells in March. Photo by Harjanto Sumali
   At least Dominic Thiem won a set.
   That in itself is an accomplishment against the King of Clay.
   Unfortunately for Thiem, he had almost nothing left after tying today's French Open final at one set apiece.
   In a rematch of last year's title match at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal defeated Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in Paris for his 12th French Open singles crown.
   "It's truly incredible," Nadal, who dominated Dominic 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in last year's French Open final, said of his success at Roland Garros in an on-court interview. "I cannot explain it."
   Thiem, seeded fourth, was playing for the fourth consecutive day because of rain that shuffled the schedule. Meanwhile, the second-seeded Nadal had played only once in the previous four days.
   "He stepped on me," said Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian who was seeking his first major title. "The numbers are crazy. He's won it 12 times."
   Nadal broke Margaret Court's record of 11 Australian Open singles titles, seven of which came when only amateurs were allowed to play, and pulled within two of Roger Federer's mark of 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles.
   Nadal, who turned 33 on Monday, also became the third-oldest French Open champion after 34-year-old Andres Gimeno (1972) and 33-year-old Ken Rosewall (1968).
   Against Thiem, Nadal improved to 9-4 overall, 8-4 on clay and 4-0 in the French Open.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Barty beats Vondrousova for first major singles title

Ashleigh Barty, playing at Indian Wells in March, became the first Australian
to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973. Photo by Harjanto Sumali 
   Greatness has long been predicted for Ashleigh Barty.
   And that was the problem.
   Unable to cope with the pressure of expectations after winning the Wimbledon girls singles title at 15 in 2011, Barty walked away from tennis in 2014 for almost two years to play professional cricket.
   Barty capped her comeback today with her first Grand Slam singles title. Seeded eighth, the 23-year-old Australian dominated unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech left-hander who will turn 20 in 20 days, 6-1, 6-3 in 70 minutes in the French Open in Paris.
   "It's unbelievable," Barty, who will rise to a career-high No. 2 on Monday, said in an on-court interview. "I'm a little bit speechless. It's incredible. I played the perfect match today. I'm so proud of myself and my team. It's just been a crazy two weeks."
   Barty became the first Australian to win the French Open since Margaret Court in 1973 and the first Aussie to capture a Grand Slam singles title since Samantha Stosur in the 2011 U.S. Open.
   Both Barty and Vondrousova were playing in their first major singles final. However, Barty has reached the doubles final in all four majors, winning last year's U.S. Open with CoCo Vandeweghe.
   Neither Barty nor Vondrousova has played in a WTA tournament in Northern California. Vondrousova, though, does have a NorCal connection. She advanced to the girls doubles final in the 2014 French Open with CiCi Bellis, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Atherton.
   Bellis, the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017, is hitting after undergoing four operations on her right wrist, arm and elbow in the past year.
   Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is heavily favored to win his 12th French Open singles crown. Seeded second, the 33-year-old Spaniard will face fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem in the final for the second consecutive year on Sunday at 6 a.m. PDT (NBC).
   Thiem, a 25-year-old Austrian, outlasted top-seeded Novak Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in a match that had been suspended in the third set by rain Friday. Djokovic's Grand Slam title streak ended at three.
   Nadal, who had today off, leads the head-to-head series against Thiem 8-4 overall and 7-4 on clay. Nadal won 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in last year's French Open final, but Thiem won their latest meeting 6-4, 6-4 in the Barcelona semifinals on clay en route to the title in April.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Barty, Vondrousova to meet for French Open crown

Amanda Anisimov, who won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 Sacra-
mento Challenger, lost to Ashleigh Barty 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 today in the French
Open semifinals. 2018 photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Amanda Anisimova led Ashleigh Barty by a set and 3-0 today in the French Open semifinals.
   But Anisimova's first Grand Slam final must wait.
   Barty, an Australian seeded eighth, rallied in the second and third sets to defeat the unseeded Anisimova, a 17-year-old American who ousted third seed and defending champion Simona Halep in the quarterfinals, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 on a windy, rainy day in Paris.
   "She just outplayed me, basically," Anisimova, who won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger, told reporters.
   In a matchup of first-time Grand Slam singles finalists, the 23-year-old Barty is scheduled to play unseeded Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech left-hander who will turn 20 on June 28, on Saturday at 6 a.m. PDT (NBC).
   Vondrousova, has not lost a set in the tournament, beat 26th-seeded Johanna Konta, the champion of the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, 7-5, 7-6 (2). Vondrousova can become the first teenager to win the French Open since Iva Majoli of Croatia in 1997.
   Vondrousova reached the girls doubles final in the 2014 French Open with CiCi Bellis, who grew up in Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bellis, the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017, is hitting after undergoing four operations on her right wrist, arm and elbow in the past year.
   Barty, ranked eighth, has not dropped a set in two career matches against Vondrousova, ranked 38th. This will be their first meeting of the year and first on clay.
   Second-seeded Rafael Nadal will play either top-seeded Novak Djokovic or fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem for the men's title on Sunday at 6 a.m. (NBC).
   Nadal, seeking his 12th French Open singles crown, dispatched third-seeded Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 24-15 overall and 6-0 in the French Open in their storied rivalry.
   Federer, 37, has won a record 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, and Nadal, 32, ranks second with 17.
   Thiem leads Djokovic 6-2, 3-6, 3-1 in a match suspended by rain. Play will resume on Saturday at 3 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). The forecast calls for partly cloudy weather on Saturday and rain on Sunday.
   Barty won the Wimbledon girls singles title at 15 in 2011 and reached three Grand Slam women's doubles finals in 2013. But it was too much success too soon, and Barty left tennis in 2014 for nearly two years to play professional cricket.
   Barty won 17 of the first 18 points against the 51st-ranked Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey to Russian parents and moved to Florida at 3, to lead 5-0. After losing the set, Barty dropped the first 12 points of the second set to trail 3-0 but managed to pull it out. She then overcame an early break in the third set and converted her sixth match point.
   "I played some really good tennis. I played some pretty awful tennis," Barty said. "I'm just proud of myself for the way I was able to fight ands scrap and hang in there and find a way when I kind of threw away that first set."

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Anisimova, 17, stuns Halep to reach French Open semis

Amanda Anisimova, shown en route to the title in the $60,000 Sacramento
Challenger at 15 in 2017, shocked defending champion Simona Halep 6-2,
6-4 today to reach her first Grand Slam semifinal. Photo by Rob Vomund
   It might be Saturday, later this year or beyond.
   But Amanda Anisimova appears destined to win a Grand Slam singles title, probably sooner rather than later.
   Only 17, the unseeded Anisimova toppled third seed and defending champion Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4 today in the French Open in Paris to reach her first major semifinal.
   Anisimova, who hasn't lost a set in the tournament, became the youngest French Open semifinalist since 17-year-old Nicole Vaidisova in 2006 and the youngest American in the semis at Roland Garros since 14-year-old Jennifer Capriati in 1990.
   "I just played the best tennis of my life," Anisimova, who was born in New Jersey to Russian parents and moved to Florida when she was 3, said after facing Halep for the first time. "I don't know how; it just happened."
   The 5-foot-11 (1.80-meter) Anisimova, with nothing to lose, was more relaxed than Halep.
   "She was pretty calm," said Halep, who admitted she felt pressure defending her title. "She showed that she's able to do good things and big things."
   Anisimova won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger and her maiden WTA crown on clay in Bogota in April. She plans to play in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State, for the second consecutive year.
   Anisimova qualified for last year's inaugural Silicon Valley Classic and extended eventual champion Mihaela Buzarnescu, a Romanian like Halep, to three sets in the second round before falling.
   Anisimova or Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech left-hander who will turn 20 on June 28, could become the first teenager to win the French Open since Iva Majoli of Croatia in 1997.
   None of the four women's semifinalists have reached a Grand Slam singles final, although Ashleigh Barty of Australia won last year's U.S. Open doubles title with CoCo Vandeweghe after losing in the doubles final once in all four majors.
   Both Vaidisova (2004-06) and Vandeweghe (2009, 2012) played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis.
   On Friday at 2 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel), Anisimova is scheduled to face the eighth-seeded Barty for the first time, and 26th-seeded Johanna Konta of Great Britain will meet Vondrousova. However, the Paris weather forecast calls for rain in the morning and perhaps afternoon, then wind.
   Barty, only 5-foot-5 (1.66 meters), eliminated 14th-seeded Madison Keys 6-3, 7-5.
   Konta won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2016, and Keys won the final edition of the tournament in 2017.
   Konta is 1-1 against Vondrousova. Their last meeting occurred only three weeks ago, with Konta winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in the Italian Open quarterfinals.
   The men's semifinals are scheduled to begin Friday at 3:50 a.m. (Tennis Channel). Second-seeded Rafael Nadal and third-seeded Roger Federer will renew their storied rivalry, followed by top-seeded Novak Djokovic against fourth-seeded Dominic Thiem.
   Nadal leads Federer 23-15 overall and 13-2 on clay. Djokovic is 6-2 (3-2 on clay) against Thiem. However, Thiem won 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0 in the French Open quarterfinals during Djokovic's 2017 slump.
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