Monday, November 29, 2021

Croatia defeats Italy in Davis Cup quarterfinals

Italian star Jannik Sinner, serving in Indian Wells last month, won in singles
but lost in doubles today against Croatia. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the top doubles team in the world, lifted Croatia to a 2-1 victory over Italy today in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
   Mektic and Pavic, this year's Wimbledon champions, defeated Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding match in Turin, Italy. 
   Borna Gojo, the 2018 NCAA singles runner-up while at Wake Forest, had beaten Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-2 to give Croatia, the Davis Cup champion that year, a 1-0 lead. 
   Jannik Sinner, ranked No. 10 at age 20, made it 1-1 with a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open titlist.
   Sinner reached the second round of the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17 after winning the Lexington (Ky.) Challenger the previous week.
   Italy played without seventh-ranked Matteo Berrettini (abdominal muscle), and Croatia is missing former world No. 12 Borna Coric (shoulder surgery).
   Croatia will face either Serbia, featuring Novak Djokovic, or Kazakhstan. In the other quarterfinals:
   —The Russian Tennis Federation, with U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, will meet Sweden, including Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14).
   —Germany, minus Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev, will play 2015 champion Great Britain, led by Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie, who won Tiburon and Stockton back-to-back in 2018 Northern California Challengers.
   Juniors — No. 9 seed Daria Smetannikov of Morganville, N.J., beat unseeded Gayathri Krishnan of Cupertino, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win the girls 18-and-under title in the USTA National Indoor Championships in Indianapolis.
   In Bradenton, Fla., No. 14 seed Alexis Blokhina, a Stanford commit from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., outlasted Kayla Cross of Canada 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the 18s in the Eddie Herr International Championships.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Colombia eliminates U.S. from Davis Cup Finals

Jack Sock of the United States retired from the decisive doubles match
against Colombia in the Davis Cup Finals. 2017 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jack Sock retired in the decisive doubles match as Colombia eliminated the United States 2-1 today in Turin, Italy, in the Davis Cup Finals.
   The U.S. finished 0-2 in the Finals, and Colombia went 1-1, also failing to advance. 
   In the doubles rubber, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah led Reilly Opelka and Sock 2-0 in the first set when Sock retired with an undisclosed injury.
   Frances Tiafoe had given the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Nicolas Mejia. Tiafoe, a late addition to the team, saved two match points in the tiebreaker. Daniel Elahi Galan, ranked No. 111, then edged No. 24 John Isner 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
   In the quarterfinals, the Russian Tennis Federation will play Sweden, with Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17); 2015 champion Great Britain will face Germany; Italy will meet 2018 titlist Croatia; and Serbia, featuring Novak Djokovic, will play Kazakhstan.
   World TeamTennis — The second-seeded Orange County Breakers beat the top-seeded Springfield (Mo.) Lasers 21-13 in the WTT Finals in Indian Wells, Calif. 
   Orange County (9-4) led 15-5 after three sets. Springfield's Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Marcelo Arevalo, this year's U.S. Open mixed doubles finalists, routed Desirae Krawczyk and Austin Krajicek 5-1 in mixed doubles to cut the Breakers' lead to 16-10. Krawczyk and Tatiana Maria then topped Asia Muhammad and Olmos 5-3 in women's doubles.
   The Lasers were seeking their third WTT crown in four seasons. Orange County's Steve Johnson was named the WTT season MVP. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Ex-Cal star, Sweden lose in Davis Cup round-robin play

Sweden's Andre Goransson, above, and Robert Lindstedt starred at Northern
California universities. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes today to give Kazakhstan a 2-1 victory over Sweden in Madrid in the round-robin stage of the Davis Cup Finals.
   Kazakhstan is 1-0 and Sweden 1-1.
   Both Goransson and Lindstedt starred at Northern California universities. Goransson, 27, played at the University of California, Berkeley from 2014 to 2017 and Lindstedt, 44, at Fresno State from 1995 to 1997 before transferring to Pepperdine.
   In Innsbruck, Austria, Germany edged Serbia 2-1 as Novak Djokovic won in singles and narrowly lost in doubles. Djokovic outplayed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4 and teamed with Nikola Cacic in a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz.
   Germany is 1-0 and Serbia 1-1.
   Italy (2-0) reached the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over Colombia (0-1) in Turin, Italy.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Home cookin': Italy defeats U.S. in Davis Cup opener

Jannik Sinner, playing in Indian Wells last month,
crushed John Isner 6-2, 6-0 in 68 minutes today in
Turin, Italy. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The United States had the experience and height, but Italy had the homecourt advantage.
   Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner, making their Davis Cup debuts, won in straight sets today as Italy defeated the United States 2-1 in a round-robin opener in the Finals in Turin.
  Sonego, playing in his hometown, gave Italy a 1-0 lead with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka.
   Jannik Sinner, ranked No. 10 at age 20, then crushed 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner 6-2, 6-0 in 68 minutes to clinch the overall win.
   All but Sonego played in Northern California Challengers early in their careers.
   Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock defeated Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (5), 6-2. Ram and Musetti made their Davis Cup debuts at 37 and 19, respectively.
   Meanwhile, Serbia and defending (2019) champion Spain won 3-0. Serbia's Novak Djokovic dominated Austria's Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes in Innsbruck. Spain, playing without Rafael Nadal, overwhelmed Ecuador in Madrid.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, beat the San Diego Aviators 23-16 in Indian Wells, Calif., to clinch the regular-season crown.
   As the top seed in the WTT Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. (Tennis Channel) in Indian Wells, Springfield (8-3) will choose the order of play against the second-place Orange County Breakers (7-4). The Lasers seek their third WTT title in four years.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Ex-Cal star helps Sweden romp in Davis Cup opener

Andre Goransson, left, and former University of California, Berkeley teammate Florian
Lakat play doubles in the 2015 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sweden, with former University of California, Berkeley star Andre Goransson, got off to a sizzling start in the Davis Cup Finals today.
   But there was a catch.
   The Swedes won all three matches against Canada, the runner-up to Spain in the last (2019) Davis Cup, without dropping a set in a round-robin opener in Madrid.
   The Canadians played without their top three singles competitors: No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov and No. 70 Milos Raonic (formerly No. 3).
   Brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer won their singles matches, losing no more than four games in a set, to clinch the overall victory. Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) and 44-year-old Robert Lindstedt (Fresno State, 1995-97) then beat Vasek Pospisil, the singles runner-up in the 2017 San Francisco Challenger, and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Also today, 2018 champion Croatia blanked Australia 3-0 in Turin, Italy, and 2017 titlist France defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in Innsbruck, Austria.
   The United States — with John Isner, Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram — is set to open Friday against Italy, featuring No. 10 Jannik Sinner, in Turin, Italy. Both teams will be without their top singles player: No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy and No. 23 Taylor Fritz.
   The top two players in the world — Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Russia's Daniil Medvedev, respectively — are scheduled to compete. But No. 3 Alexander Zverev, who won the ATP Finals last week, is not on the German team.
   The tournament consists of 18 teams in six round-robin groups competing in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Because of Austria's COVID lockdown, the Innsbruck matches are being played without fans.
   The group winners plus the two second-place teams with the most sets and games won will advance to the quarterfinals. Madrid will host two quarterfinals, and Turin and Innsbruck one each. The semifinals and Dec. 5 final will take place in the Spanish capital.
   ATP Challenger Tour — No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier of Germany dispatched Govind Nanda, a 20-year-old qualifier from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger.
   Altmeier advanced to the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.
   In the Puerto Vallarta doubles quarterfinals, Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands and Reese Stalder of Costa Mesa, Calif., in the Los Angeles region eliminated third-seeded Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-3, 6-4.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers (7-3), with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, and Orange County Breakers (7-4) will meet in the WTT Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. PST (Tennis Channel) in Indian Wells, Calif.
   Springfield needs one victory in its two remaining matches to win the regular-season crown and earn the top seed in the WTT Finals. The top seed will choose the order of play, a significant advantage.
   Indian Wells is hosting all matches in the two-week season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

NorCal's Nanda falls in Puerto Vallarta doubles

    Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands and Reese Stalder of Costa Mesa, Calif., in the Los Angeles area topped Govind Nanda of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento region and Michael Redlicki of Miami 6-7 (2), 6-4 [10-6] in the first round in the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger.
   Nanda, 20, remains alive in singles. A qualifier ranked No. 480, he is scheduled to play No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier, a 23-year-old German ranked No. 100, for the first time on Thursday. 
   Altmeier reached the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NorCal's Nanda annihilates Aragone in Puerto Vallarta

   Qualifier Govind Nanda, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area crushed JC Aragone of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles region 6-2, 6-0 in 71 minutes today in the first round of the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger. 
   Nanda, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 155 pounds (70 kilograms), won 22 of 27 points on his first serve (81 percent) and saved all three break points against him. Aragone, 26, converted only 20 of 49 first serve (41 percent).
   Nanda, ranked No. 480, is scheduled to play No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier, a 23-year-old German ranked No. 100, for the first time on Thursday. Altmeier eliminated Michael Redlicki, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) left-hander originally from Chicago, 7-6 (5), 6-1. 
  Altmeier reached the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.
   In the opening round of doubles, No. 3 seeds Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., beat Pedro Vives Marcos of Spain and Wu Tung-Lin of Chinese Taipei 7-6 (4), 6-4.
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