Thursday, December 12, 2019

American Kenin voted WTA Most Improved Player

Sofia Kenin, shown en route to the 2018 Berkeley (Calif.) title,
  ended this year at No. 14 in the world. Photo by Paul Bauman
  Sofia Kenin, who starred in Northern California Challengers, was voted the Most Improved Player of the Year, the WTA announced on Wednesday.
   The 21-year-old American jumped from No. 52 to No. 14 in the year-end rankings. She peaked at No. 12 on Oct. 21.
   The Moscow native won her first three WTA singles titles (Hobart, Mallorca and Guangzhao) and reached the round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time, stunning Serena Williams in the third round of the French Open.
   Kenin also beat reigning No. 1 players in back-to-back weeks, ousting Ashleigh Barty in Toronto and Naomi Osaka in Cincinnati.
   Kenin won NorCal Challenger singles titles in three consecutive years – Sacramento in 2016 at age 17, Stockton and Berkeley.
   Other award winners, as voted on by international journalists, were Barty (Player of the Year), Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic (Doubles Team of the Year), Bianca Andreescu (Newcomer of the Year) and Belinda Bencic (Comeback Player of the Year).
   Barty, a 23-year-old Australian, claimed her first Grand Slam singles title in the French Open, also won the WTA Finals and ended the year at No. 1 for the first time.
   Babos and Mladenovic – 26-year-olds from Hungary and France, respectively – took the French Open crown and won the WTA Finals for the second straight year.
   Andreescu, 19, soared from No. 178 to No. 5 in the year-end rankings. She became the first Canadian, male or female, to win a major singles title, shocking Williams in the U.S. Open final.
   Bencic, a right-hander who underwent left wrist surgery in the spring of 2017 and plunged as low as No. 318, ended the year in the top 10 for the first time at No. 8. The 22-year-old Swiss matched her career high of No. 7 after winning the Moscow title in October.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Wozniacki, 29, to retire after Australian Open

Caroline Wozniacki, right, and Varvara Lepchenko shake hands after their match
in the second round of the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Wozniacki,
the top seed who had received a first-round bye, lost in her only match in Northern
California. Photo by Mal Taam
   Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki announced Friday that she will retire after the Australian Open in January.
   Wozniacki won the 2018 Australian Open for her only Grand Slam title. The Denmark native also reached two U.S. Open finals (2009 and 2014), accumulated 30 WTA singles crowns (including the 2017 WTA Finals) and advanced to the singles quarterfinals in the 2012 Olympics in London.
   "In recent months, I've realized that there is a lot more in life that I'd like to accomplish off the court," tweeted the 29-year-old Wozniacki, who married former NBA standout David Lee in June. "Getting married to David was one of those goals, and starting a family with him while continuing to travel the world and helping raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis (project upcoming) are all passions of mine moving forward."
   Wozniacki announced in 2018 that she had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disorder. However, she tweeted that her decision to retire "has nothing to do with my health."
   Wozniacki played one match in Northern California. Seeded first in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, she received a first-round bye and lost to Varvara Lepchenko in the second round.
   Currently ranked No. 37, Wozniacki fell in the third round of the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the first round of the French Open this year.
   USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships – Francisco Clavet, who peaked at No. 18 in the world in 1992, dominated Samuel Schroerlucke of Memphis, Tenn., 6-2, 6-2 on Sunday to win the title in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla. Both players were seeded fifth.
   Clavet, a 51-year-old left-hander from Spain, beat second seed and three-time tournament champion Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals.
   Top-seeded Hiromi Sasano, 44, of San Diego title won the women's title for the fourth consecutive year. She routed second-seeded Amanda Parson Siegel of Santa Ana in the Los Angeles region 6-3, 6-0.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Ovrootsky wins girls 16 doubles title in Eddie Herr

   Two years after winning the girls 14 singles title in the prestigious Eddie Herr International, Vivian Ovrootsky claimed the doubles crown in the 16s.
   Top-seeded Sarah Hamner of Fort Collins, Colo., and Ovrootsky, a 15-year-old San Jose, Calif., resident, beat sixth-seeded Ava Krug of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and Qavia Lopez of Milwaukee 6-1, 6-4 today in Bradenton, Fla.
   Hamner and Ovrootsky surrendered no more than four games in a set in their four matches. They received a first-round bye.
   Ovrootsky, also seeded first in singles, lost to fifth-seeded Ian Mi of the United States 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals. Mi then fell to Lopez, seeded seventh. Ashlyn Krueger of Flower Mound, Texas, won the title.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr International include eventual world No. 1s Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.
   Herr, the father of international junior tennis, died in 2000 at 93.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Ovrootsky advances to Eddie Herr girls 16 doubles final

   Vivian Ovrootsky will play for another Eddie Herr title.
   The 15-year-old San Jose, Calif., resident, who won the singles crown in the 14s two years ago, reached Saturday's doubles final in the 16s with Sarah Hamner of Fort Collins, Colo.
   The top-seeded pair defeated eighth-seeded Kassandra Di Staulo of Weston, Fla., and Gavriella Smith of New Orleans 6-4, 6-2 today in the Eddie Herr International 2019 in Bradenton, Fla.
   Hamner and Ovrootsky are scheduled to play sixth-seeded Ava Krug of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and Qavia Lopez of Milwaukee.
   Krug and Lopez outclassed fourth-seeded Midori Castillo of Chula Vista, Calif., in the San Diego area and Tomi Main of Seaside, Calif., near Monterey, 6-3, 6-3.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Two NorCal girls reach Eddie Herr doubles semis in 16s

   Two Northern Californians separately reached the girls 16 doubles semifinals in the prestigious Eddie Herr International 2019 in Bradenton, Fla.
   In the top half of the draw, top-seeded Sarah Hamner of Fort Collins, Colo., and Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, Calif., outplayed fifth-seeded Ashlyn Krueger of Flower Mound, Texas, and Marcela Lopez of Frisco, Texas, 6-1, 6-4 today.
   In the bottom half, fourth-seeded Midori Castillo of Chula Vista, Calif., in the San Diego area and Tomi Main of Seaside, Calif., (near Monterey) topped Ann Guerry and Kate Sharabura, both of Atlanta, 6-4, 7-5.
   Hamner and Ovrootsky are scheduled to meet eighth-seeded Kassandra Di Staulo of Weston, Fla., and Gavriella Smith of New Orleans on Friday. Castillo and Main are set to face sixth-seeded Ava Krug of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and Qavia Lopez of Milwaukee.
   Ovrootsky, seeded first in singles, fell to fifth-seeded Lan Mi of the United States 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 in the quarters. Ovrootsky won singles title in the 14s two years ago.
   Other NorCal players have been eliminated from the tournament. Esther Vyrlan of Sacramento lost in the girls 14 doubles quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento in the third round of the girls 14s and Aidan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area in the second round of the boys 18s.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr tournament include eventual world No. 1s Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Herr, the father of international junior tennis, died in 2000 at 93.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

McDaniel loses by walkover in National Indoors final

   Unseeded Williams Cooksey of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., beat third-seeded Marcus McDaniel of Vacaville by walkover (illness) on Monday in the final of the USTA Boys 18 National Indoor Championships in Overland Park, Kan.
   Vacaville is located between San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.
   McDaniel, a high school senior headed to Georgia Tech, won the doubles title with Keshav Chopra of Marietta, Ga. Unseeded, they outplayed third-seeded Michael Andre and Blake Kasday of Las Vegas 8-5 in the final.
   In the boys 16s in Wayland, Mass., fifth-seeded Kurt Miller of Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area reached the semifinals. He lost to seventh seed and eventual champion Michael Zheng of Montville, N.J., 6-3, 6-1.
   Dylan Tsoi of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento area won the boys 14 doubles title in Chicago with Dylan Charlap of Palos Verdes Estates in the Los Angeles region. Seeded second, they topped sixth-seeded Cole Stelse of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Adam Sun of Glendale, Ariz., 9-7 in the final.
  Mirabelle Brettkelly of San Francisco reached the girls 18 singles quarterfinals in Indianapolis. She edged fourth-seeded Rachel Arbitman of Hewlett, N.Y., 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the second round.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

U.S. eliminated from Davis Cup despite victory

Sam Querrey, a 32-year-old San Francisco native, and Jack
Sock gave the United States a dramatic win over Italy on Wed-
nesday in the Davis Cup Finals. File photo by Paul Bauman
   Despite a dramatic win over Italy, the United States was eliminated from the Davis Cup Finals on Wednesday.
   Twice coming within a tiebreaker of losing, the U.S. rallied for a 2-1 victory in Madrid.
   Sam Querrey, a 32-year-old San Francisco native, and Jack Sock won the decisive doubles match 7-6 (4), 6-7 (2), 6-4 over Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.
   The contest ended at 4:04 a.m. Madrid time, the latest finish in Davis Cup history and second-latest in tennis history. Lleyton Hewitt's victory over Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the 2008 Australian Open ended at 4:30 a.m.
   "I don't even know where we are, what time it is, what day it is," U.S. captain Mardy Fish told reporters. "That was pretty special from these guys, for sure."
   Taylor Fritz, ranked 32nd, had pulled the United States even at 1-1 by beating eighth-ranked Matteo Berrettini, a U.S. Open semifinalist in September, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2.
   "I'm excited for Taylor," Fish said. "That's one of the biggest wins of his life. I'm just happy to be part of it."
   In the opener, 12th-ranked Fabio Fognini defeated 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka, ranked 36th, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3.
  Fritz and Opelka, both 22, made their Davis Cup debuts on Tuesday in the United States' 2-1 loss to Canada. Querrey and Sock were credited with a victory even though the doubles match wasn't played.
  The winners of the six three-team groups advance to Friday's quarterfinals, along with the two best second-place finishers.
  Canada won Group F with a 2-0 record. The United States finished 1-1, and Italy went 0-2. The Americans needed to beat Italy decisively, surrendering few sets or games, to advance in the new format.
   The United States leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles, but its last one came in 2007. The Americans' 12-year title drought is their longest in the 119-year competition, breaking their previous mark of 11 (1996-2006).
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