Monday, September 27, 2021

Volynets, 19, could play top seed in Berkeley quarters

Katie Volynets is seeded fifth in Berkeley, Calif., 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from her
home in Walnut Creek. 2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 5 seed Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, could face No. 1 seed Zheng Saisai of China for the first time on Friday in the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Berkeley Challenger at the venerable Berkeley Tennis Club.
   The tournament draw was held today.
   Zheng, 27, won her only WTA singles title two years ago in nearby San Jose and reached the semifinals of last week's $115,000 tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Ranked No. 75 (No. 2 in China behind Zhang Shuai), she is scheduled to play a qualifier in the first round on Wednesday.
   The 182nd-ranked Volynets, playing 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) west of home, is set to meet No. 306 Marcela Zacarias, 27, of Mexico for the third time in the first round on Wednesday at a time to be determined. Volynets won a 10-6 match tiebreaker against Zacarias in the second (last) round of qualifying in Boca Raton, Fla., in February, and Zacarias dominated 17-year-old Volynets 6-3, 6-1 in the second round in Sumter, S.C., in 2019. Both were $25,000 hardcourt tournaments.
   Also Wednesday, No. 2 seed Wang Xinyu of China is set to play Sachia Vickery of Miramar, Fla., and No. 7 seed Mayo Hibi, a longtime resident of Irvine, Calif., who represents her native Japan, is slated to meet a qualifier.
   Wang advanced to the Columbus final on Sunday, and Hibi routed Vickery in the semifinals of the last (2019) Berkeley Challenger before losing to Madison Brengle. Vickery and Brengle won the doubles title.
   Main-draw play is set to begin on Tuesday not before 1 p.m. after final-round qualifying matches. Highlighting the schedule, No. 3 seed Panna Udvardy of Hungary is slated to meet Louisa Chirico of Westchester, N.Y., not before 1 p.m.
   In today's first round of qualifying, Haley Giavara, a University of California, Berkeley junior from San Diego, edged No. 15 seed Alexandra Osborne of Australia 6-3, 2-6 [10-8]. Also advancing were Maegan Manasse, a Cal assistant coach and former Bears All-American, and Maria Kozyreva, a Saint Mary's fifth-year senior from Russia.
   Here are the Berkeley singles, doubles and qualifying draws and Tuesday's schedule.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Wang, entered in Berkeley, falls in $115K Columbus final

   No. 2 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz of Spain defeated No. 2 seed Wang Xinyu of China 7-6 (2), 6-3 today to win the $115,000 Tennis Ohio Championships in Columbus.
   Wang, who turned 20 today, is entered in next week's $60,000 Berkeley Challenger
   Parrizas Diaz, 30, claimed her seventh singles title of the year, including three straight in $25,000 tournaments in February and March. Wang fell to 0-2 in singles finals in 2021.
   Parrizas Diaz jumped 14 places to a career-high No. 72 with the title. Wang improved 13 spots to a career-high No. 116.
   Berkeley Women's Challenger — Qualifying in the $60,000 tournament at the Berkeley Tennis Club will begin Monday at 10 a.m.
   The draw features current University of California, Berkeley players Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov, former Bears All-American Maegan Manasse, Saint Mary's standout Mariia Kozyreva and ex-Gael Hind Abdelouahid.
   Here are the qualifying draw and Monday's schedule.   
   College — The Cal women won three titles in the Cal Fall Invitational at the Hellman Tennis Complex.  Jessica Alsola of Fresno, Calif., claimed the top-flight singles championship. In doubles, Giavara and Ivanov took the top-flight crown, and Erin Richardson and Makenna Thiel, from Piedmont in the East Bay, captured the Gold title.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Wang, entered in Berkeley, reaches $115K Columbus final

   No. 8 seed Wang Xinyu, who's entered in next week's $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Women's Challenger, beat unseeded CoCo Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area 7-6 (3), 6-2 today in the semifinals of the $115,000 Tennis Ohio Championships in Columbus.
   Vandeweghe, a former top-15 player, is rebounding from an ankle injury. She reached the final of the 2012 and 2017 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford on the WTA Tour.
   China's Wang, who will turn 20 on Sunday, is scheduled to meet No. 2 seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz, 30, of Spain on Sunday. Parrizas Diaz outlasted No. 4 seed Zheng Saisai of China 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. 
   Zheng, who won her only WTA singles title in San Jose, Calif., in 2019, also is set to play in Berkeley.
   In the Columbus doubles final, Wang and Zheng routed Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia and Parrizas Diaz 6-1, 6-1 in a matchup of unseeded teams.
   ATP Tour — Unseeded Hubert Hurkacz and Jan Zielinski of Poland ousted top-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
   Hurkacz, 24, reached his first Grand Slam singles semifinal at Wimbledon in July. Kontinen, 31, became the first Finnish player to be ranked No. 1 in doubles in 2017. He is now No. 46.
   College — Cal senior Yuta Kikuchi, ranked No.124, edged No. 4 Duarte Vale of Florida 4-6, 6-4 [11-9] on Friday, the first day of the Chowderfest, Harvard's annual invitational, in Cambridge, Mass.
   Three young Cal women reached the top-flight singles quarterfinals on the first day of the Cal Fall Invitational at the Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday. Advancing were freshmen Jessica Alsola of Fresno, Calif., and Makenna Thiel of Piedmont, which neighbors Berkeley, and sophomore Hannah Viller Moeller of Denmark.
   The Bears also placed two pairs, Haley Giavara/Valentina Ivanov and Alsola/Viller Moeller, in the doubles quarters.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Top Berkeley entrants reach $115K Columbus semis

Zheng Saisai, shown en route to the San Jose title on the WTA Tour in 2019,
has lost the first set in all three of her victories this week. Photo by Paul Bauman  
   Zheng Saisai and Wang Xinyu, who head the field in next week's $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger, won today in the quarterfinals of the $115,000 Tennis Ohio Championships in Columbus.
   The fourth-seeded Zheng (pronounced Jung), 27, beat fifth-seeded Lauren Davis of Boca Raton, Fla., 1-6, 6-2, 6-2. Zheng, who won her only WTA singles title in the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., has lost the first set in all three of her victories this week.
   The eighth-seeded Wang, who will turn 20 on Sunday, eliminated third-seeded Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., 6-3, 6-3. Brengle won the last (2019) Berkeley Challenger and the 2018 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.
   Zheng is scheduled to face second-seeded Nuria Parrizas Diaz, a 30-year-old Spaniard who beat seventh-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2. Haddad Maia, a 25-year-old left-hander, also is entered in Berkeley.
   Wang is set to play unseeded American Coco Vandeweghe, a former top-15 player rebounding from an ankle injury. Vandeweghe, the runner-up in the WTA Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012 and 2017, ousted top-seeded Ann Li of Orlando, Fla., 6-4, 6-4.
   ATP Tour — No. 1 seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) topped French wild cards Gregoire Barrere and Lucas Pouille 1-6, 7-5 [10-7] in the quarterfinals of the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
   In 2017, Kontinen became the first Finnish player to be ranked No. 1 in doubles. He is now No. 46.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Former Cal star loses in Kazakhstan doubles quarters

Andre Goransson, above, and Andrea Vavassori lost a match tiebreaker
today in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania and Artem Sitak, a Russia native who represents New Zealand, topped No. 4 seeds Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Andrea Vavassori of Italy 7-5, 3-6 [10-7] today in the quarterfinals of the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on the ATP Tour.
   Berankis reached the singles quarterfinals of the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose, Calif., in 2010 and 2011. Sitak won the doubles title in the 2015 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger with since-retired Chris Guccione of Australia.
   In Metz, France, on the ATP Tour, No. 2 seeds Tomislav Brkic of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Nikola Cacic of Serbia dismissed alternates Hunter Reese of Knoxville, Tenn., and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Moselle Open. 
   No. 1 seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14), a New Zealand product who plays for his mother's native Japan, are scheduled to play French wild cards Gregoire Barrere and Lucas Pouille on Friday in the quarterfinals.
   In 2017, Kontinen became the first Finnish player to be ranked No. 1 in doubles. He is now No. 46.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Zheng, 2019 San Jose champ, heads $60K Berkeley field

Zheng Saisai plays in the semifinals of the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic
in San Jose, Calif. She went on to win the title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Zheng Saisai, who won her only WTA singles title in San Jose in 2019, heads the field in next week's Women's $60,000 Challenge at the Berkeley (Calif.) Tennis Club.
   Zheng (pronounced Jung), 27, of China is ranked No. 83 after reaching a career-high No. 34 in March 2020. She has won four WTA doubles titles, including Stanford in 2015 with countrywoman Xu Yifan. A French Open finalist in 2019 with compatriot Duan Yingying, Zheng has been ranked as high as No. 15 in doubles.
   The top-ranked Berkeley entries behind Zheng are No. 135 Wang Xinyu, 19, of China and No. 157 Arina Rodionova, 31, of Australia. Rodionova, a Russia native, advanced to the quarterfinals of the last (2019) Berkeley Challenger.
   Entries also include:
   —2019 Berkeley runner-up Mayo Hibi, a longtime resident of Irvine, Calif., who represents Japan.
   —Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area. The USTA Girls 18 national champion in 2019, Volynets qualified for Wimbledon this year before losing to Romanian veteran Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round.
   —Alycia Parks, 20, of Port St. Lucie, Fla., whose 129-mph (208-kph) serve in the recent U.S. Open tied Venus Williams' women's record in a Grand Slam tournament.
   All Berkeley players must have proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. They will be screened daily. Spectators are not required to be vaccinated or wear masks but must maintain social distancing. 
   Admission is free until Tuesday at noon, $15 from then through Friday and $20 on Saturday and Sunday. Play will start at 10 a.m. through Saturday and 11 a.m. for the finals on Sunday, Oct. 3.
   The Berkeley Tennis Club has a rich history. Nestled in the hills, it was founded in 1906. Past members include International Tennis Hall of Famers Don Budge, Helen Wills Moody, Helen Jacobs and Hazel Wightman. Plaques in their honor line the interior and exterior of the clubhouse. 
   Hall of Famers Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Stan Smith and Billie Jean King have played at the BTC, and King is an honorary lifetime member. The USTA Girls 18 National Championships were held at the BTC until the tournament moved to its current site in San Diego in 2010. 
   Sofia Kenin won the 2018 Berkeley Challenger and hoisted the Australian Open trophy 18 months later. Ranked as high as No. 4, the 22-year-old American is now No. 7.
   WTA Tour — No. 5 seed Lauren Davis of Boca Raton, Fla., defeated Volynets 6-2, 7-6 (6) to reach the quarterfinals of the $115,000 Tennis Ohio Championships in Columbus. The 27-year-old Davis, only 5-foot-2 (1.57 meters), has been ranked as high as No. 26. 
   ATP Tour — No. 1 seeds Henri Kontinen of Finland and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan beat Matt Reid of Australia and Ken Skupski of Great Britain 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the first round of the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
   Reid, 31, has won four Northern California doubles titles, three with countryman John-Patrick Smith and one with compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis.
   Alternates Hunter Reese of Knoxville, Tenn., and "Yosemite" Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands edged Jonny O'Mara of Great Britain and Divij Sharan of India 6-3, 3-6 [10-8]. 
   O'Mara and fellow Briton Joe Salisbury advanced to the final of the 2018 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger, losing to Reid and Kokkinakis.
   In Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, No. 4 seeds Andre Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) of Sweden and Andrea Vavassori of Italy nipped Andre Begemann of Germany and Nathaniel Lammons of Dallas 6-4, 4-6 [11-9] in the opening round.
   Goransson and Lammons reached the final of last week's €132,280 ($155.700) Szczecin (Poland) Challenger, falling to Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Andres Molteni of Argentina 2-6, 6-2 [15-13].
   ATP Challenger Tour — Chung Yunseong and Hong Seong-chan of South Korea topped No. 3 seeds Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 5-7, 7-5 [15-13] in the first round of the $52,080 Tennis Ohio Championships in Columbus.
   Chung and Hong survived three match points at 6-9 in the match tiebreaker and one more at 10-11. They converted their fourth match point.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Bay Area native to make WTA Finals debut in doubles

Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Fran-
cisco Bay Area, snapped a six-match skid today
in Columbus, Ohio. 2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan have qualified for the WTA Finals for the first time, the WTA announced today.
   Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, have won a tour-leading five titles this year, including the biggest one of their careers in the Miami Open. They also reached the Wimbledon semifinals and Australian Open quarterfinals.
   Aoyama, only 5-foot-1 (1.54 meters), and Shibahara became the first Japanese players to qualify for the WTA Finals in doubles since Ai Sugiyama advanced to the 2008 semifinals with Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.
   The WTA Finals, the week of Nov. 8 in Guadalajara, features the top eight singles players and doubles teams of the year.
    WTA Tour — In a battle of California teenagers, Katie "Serve And" Volynets edged wild card Katrina Scott 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) in 2 hours, 55 minutes in the first round of a $125,000 tournament in Columbus, Ohio. Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, snapped a six-match losing streak and improved to 2-0 against Scott, 17, of Woodland Hills in the Los Angeles region.
   Volynets qualified for Wimbledon this year and lost to Romanian veteran Irina-Camelia "Ain't Too Proud To" Begu in the first round. Scott reached the second round of last year's U.S. Open as a wild card in her senior Grand Slam debut.
   Volynets, ranked No. 185, is set to play Lauren Davis, seeded fifth and ranked No. 98, of Boca Raton, Fla., for the first time. The 27-year-old Davis, only 5-foot-2 (1.57 meters), beat Usue Arconada of Naples, Fla., 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday. 
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