Thursday, January 14, 2021

Stanford women, men ranked high; Volynets in semis

   The Stanford women, who have won the last two NCAA titles and three of the last four, are fourth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association preseason team rankings released today.
   Ranked ahead of the Cardinal are, in order, North Carolina, UCLA and Texas. California is 19th. 
   The Stanford men are ranked fifth behind, in order, USC, North Carolina, Ohio State and Michigan. Cal did not crack the top 25.
   UTR Pro Tennis Series — In a battle of San Francisco Bay Area teenagers, top-seeded Katie Volynets outlasted Vivian Ovrootsky 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the first-place playoff in Newport Beach, Calif.
   Volynets, a 19-year-old pro from Walnut Creek, is scheduled to meet Jessica Luisa Alsola of Fresno, Calif., on Saturday in the $25,000 tournament. Alsola, who's headed to Cal in the fall, defeated Camille Kiss, a UC Santa Barbara freshman from Redlands, Calif., 6-1, retired.
   Ovrootsky, 16, of San Jose has verbally committed to the University of Texas for 2022.
   In the quarterfinals of the third-place playoff, Filippa Bruu-Syversen of Chatham, N.J. beat Priya Nelson, 15, of Sacramento, Calif., by walkover. Bruu-Syversen plans to enroll at UCSB in the fall. 
   Tomi Main, a high school junior from Seaside, Calif., planning to attend Texas Tech in 2022, is slated to play Isabella Chhiv, a high school sophomore from Irvine, Calif., on Friday at 9 a.m. in the quarters of the third-place playoff. Live streaming is available.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Stanford's Rotsaert ranked third in preseason singles

   Alexandre Rotsaert, a Stanford junior from Boca Raton, Fla., is third in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association men's preseason rankings released today.
   Rotsaert trails, in order, Daniel Cukierman of USC and William Blumberg of North Carolina.
   Sam Riffice, a Florida junior who grew up in the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Roseville, is rated eighth. 
   The Cardinal's Arthur Fery and Tristan Boyer are first and fourth, respectively, among the top 10 men's newcomers.
   On the women's side, Stanford senior Michaela Gordon of nearby Saratoga, Calif., is ranked 10th in singles. Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine heads the rankings.
   Other rankings:
Men's singles
   20. Axel Geller, Stanford
   23. Damon Kesaris, Saint Mary's
   42. Yuta Kikuchi, California
   44. Jack Molloy, California
   63. Paul Barretto (Tiburon, Calif.), California
   75. Sangeet Sridhar, Stanford
   79. Ryder Jackson (Nicasio, Calif.), USC
   94. Arthur Fery, Stanford
   97. Philip Hjorth, California
   119. Tristan Boyer, Stanford
Men's doubles
   11. Axel Geller/Neel Rajesh, Stanford
   31. Marcus McDaniel (Vacaville, Calif.)/Pablo Schelcher, Georgia Tech
   36. Paul Barretto (Tiburon, Calif.)/Can Kaya, California
   45. Sam Riffice (grew up in Roseville, Calif.)/Duarte Vale, Florida
Women's singles
   17. Mariia Kozyreva, Saint Mary's
   18. Haley Giavara, California
   21. Carolyn Campana (Hillsborough, Calif.), Wake Forest
   26. Valentina Ivanov, California
   43. Julia Rosenqvist, California
   58. Angelica Blake, Stanford
   63. Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford
   70. Klara Kosan (Carmichael, Calif.), Pacific
   114. Janice Shin, Stanford
Women's doubles
   9. Emily Arbuthnott/Angelica Blake, Stanford
   32. Sara Choy (Palo Alto, Calif.)/Emma Higuchi, Stanford
   33. Elvena Gevargiz/Maddie Pothoff, Santa Clara
   40. Haley Giavara/Valentina Ivanov, California
   53. Anna Bright/Julia Rosenqvist, California

Bay Area native, partner win fourth WTA doubles title

   Doubles pair Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, who barely survived the first round, earned their fourth WTA title today.
   The fifth seeds from Japan topped eighth-seeded Hayley Carter of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Luisa Stefani of Brazil 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open in the United Arab Emirates.
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, escaped four match points in their 4-6, 7-5 [12-10] victory over Andrea Klepac of Slovenia and 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the opening round. 
   Aoyama and Shibahara also ousted top-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Hsieh and Krejcikova are ranked first and seventh, respectively, in doubles.
   "It was definitely a roller coaster," Shibahara, the 2016 U.S. Open girls doubles champion with ex-UCLA teammate Jada Hart, said of the march through the draw on wtatennis.com. "There were some match points to save in our first match, and I think that really helped us through our next rounds. Even if we're down, we can come back. Even playing Su-Wei and Barbora, they're such high-level players, so we just had to take it one point at a time, and I think that really helped us.
   "For me, today was definitely tough because (Carter and Stefani) are probably my closest friends on tour, and Hayley is like my family."
   Aoyama and Shibahara, who also teamed to win St. Petersburg last year and Tianjin and Moscow in 2019, split $20,890. Carter and Stefani — former All-Americans at North Carolina and Pepperdine, respectively — shared $13,370.
   Aoyama and Shibahara will attain career highs of No. 18 (up four places) and No. 20 (up three spots), respectively.
   Fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus dominated unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-2, 6-2 in 65 minutes for her third consecutive singles title. Sabalenka, formerly coached by longtime Northern California resident Dmitry Tursunov, ended 2020 by winning Ostrava (Czech Republic) and Linz (Austria).
   Sabalenka, 22, will improve three notches to a career-high No. 7.
   Australian Open qualifying — No. 16 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt routed Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-1, 6-2 in 68 minutes to advance to the main draw.
   Sherif, 24, earned her second main-draw berth in a Grand Slam tournament. She also qualified for the French Open last fall and lost in the opening round to second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4 in the third set.
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Feb. 8-21, three weeks later than usual, at its traditional home in Melbourne.
   UTR Pro Tennis SeriesVivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, Calif., defeated Emma Sun of Newbury Park in the Los Angeles area 6-1, 6-3 in a matchup of high school juniors in a $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. Ovrootsky, who has verbally committed to the University of Texas for 2022, finished 3-0 in Group E.
   Priya Nelson, 15, of Sacramento, Calif., beat Erica Ekstrand of Santa Monica, Calif., 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 to end up 1-2 in Group F.  Madison Weekley, a high school junior from Alamo in the the Bay Area headed to Saint Mary's in 2022 — lost to Jenna Defalco of Tustin, Calif., in the L.A. region 6-1, 6-1 to finish 0-3 in Group H.
   Katie Volynets, a 19-year-old pro from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, is scheduled to meet Ovrootsky in the quarterfinals of the first-place playoff on Thursday. Nelson and Tomi Main (1-2) of Seaside, Calif., advanced to the quarterfinals of the third-place playoff. Weekley was eliminated.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Bay Area native, partner reach Abu Dhabi doubles final

   Fifth-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan beat unseeded Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 6-4, 6-3 today in the semifinals of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open in the United Arab Emirates.
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, will seek their fourth WTA doubles title together when meet eighth-seeded Hayley Carter of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Luisa Stefani of Brazil on Wednesday. 
   Carter and Stefani — former All-Americans at North Carolina and Pepperdine, respectively — edged unseeded Laura Siegemund and Vera Zvonareva — the reigning U.S. Open champions from Germany and Russia, respectively — 7-5, 1-6 [10-8].
   In Wednesday's singles final, fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus is slated to play unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia. Sabalenka outclassed ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-3, 6-2, and Kudermetova downed 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine 7-6 (8), 6-4.
   ATP Tour —Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador beat Mackenzie McDonald, a 25-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, and Tommy Paul of Delray Beach, Fla., 6-1, 5-7 [10-1] in the semifinals of the Delray Beach Open.
   Australian Open qualifying — No. 16 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt topped Grace Min of Lake Nona, Fla., 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 in the second round of Australian Open qualifying in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
   Sherif is set to face Serbia's Aleksandra Krunic, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 winner over Daniela Seguel of Chile, on Wednesday in the final round of qualifying.
   Sherif, 24, seeks her second main-draw berth in a Grand Slam tournament. She qualified for the French Open last fall and lost in the first round to second-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-4 in the third set.
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Feb. 8-21, three weeks later than usual, at its traditional home in Melbourne.  
   UTR Pro Tennis SeriesKatie Volynets, a 19-year-old pro from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, defeated Tomi Main, a high school junior from Seaside, Calif., 6-3, 6-4 to finish round-robin play at 3-0 in Group A of a $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. Main, who has verbally committed to Texas Tech, went 1-2.
   Vivian Ovrootsky, a high school junior from San Jose, Calif., headed to the University of Texas in 2022, blitzed Chui Kei Leung of Newport Coast, Calif., 6-0, 6-0 to improve to 2-0 in Group E.
   Tsehay Driscoll (2-0) of Pacific Palisades in the Los Angeles area beat Priya Nelson (0-2) of Sacramento, Calif., 6-3, 6-1 in Group F.
   Kimberly Hance (1-1), a high school senior from the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, dominated Madison Weekley (0-2), a Saint Mary's commit for 2022 from Alamo in the Bay Area, 6-3, 6-0 in Group H. Hance has verbally committed to UCLA.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bay Area native helps oust top seeds in Abu Dhabi

   Fifth-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan ousted top-seeded Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1 today in the quarterfinals of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open in the United Arab Emirates.
   Hsieh and Krejcikova are ranked No. 1 and No. 7, respectively, in women's doubles.
   The 5-foot-1 (1.54-meter) Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, are scheduled to play unseeded Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia on Tuesday. 
   Kenin and Tomljanovic — who were born in Russia and Croatia, respectively — beat unseeded Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands and Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 6-4, 6-4.
   In singles, ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece knocked out the top-seeded Kenin 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Sakkari is slated to face fourth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. In the other semifinal, 18-year-old Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine is set to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in a clash of unseeded players.  
   Australian Open qualifying — No. 16 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt overwhelmed Akiko Omae of Japan 6-0, 6-1 in 50 minutes in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
   Sherif is scheduled to play Grace Min of Lake Nona, Fla., on Tuesday. Min topped Harriet Dart of Great Britain 7-5, 6-2.
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Feb. 8-21, three weeks later than usual, at its traditional home in Melbourne. 
   UTR Pro Tennis SeriesKatie Volynets, a 19-year-old pro from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, defeated Brandy Walker of Brea, Calif., in the Los Angeles area 6-0, 7-5 to improve to 2-0 in Group A in a $25,000 tournament in Newport Beach, Calif. 
   Volynets is slated to meet Tomi Main, a high school junior from Seaside, Calif., headed to Texas Tech in 2022, on Tuesday. Main lost to Leyden Games, a USC signee for the fall from Irvine, Calif., 6-4, 6-3 to fall to 1-1.
   In round-robin openers:
   —Vivian Ovrootsky, a high school junior from San Jose, Calif., headed to the University of Texas in 2022, dominated Katie Codd, a high school junior from Carlsbad, Calif., in the San Diego region, 6-3, 6-1 in Group E.
   —Skyler Grishuk, 18, of Newport Beach outlasted Priya Nelson, 15, of Sacramento 7-6 (6), 0-6, 7-5 in Group F.
   —Filippa Bruu-Syversen, a UC Santa Barbara commit for the fall from Chatham, N.J., routed Madison Weekley, a Saint Mary's commit for 2022 from Alamo in the Bay Area, 6-1, 6-1 in Group H.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Brooksby romps to title in first tournament as pro

Before this week, Jenson Brooksby had not played a 
match in 14 months. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Jenson Brooksby dominated in his first week as a professional, even after a long layoff.
   The 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area bulldozed Brandon Holt of Rolling Hills in the Los Angeles region 6-1, 6-3 today to win the $25,000 UTR Pro Tennis Series in Newport Beach, Calif.
   Brooksby did not lose a set in six matches, surrendered more than three games in a set only once and evened his record against Holt, the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, at 1-1.
   Before this week, Brooksby had not played a match since November 2019 — shortly after stunning 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych to reach the second round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier — because of injuries and COVID-19 ending the collegiate season in mid-March. He turned pro last month, never having played a match in his two months as a Baylor University freshman.
   Brooksby pocketed $4,000 in the singles-only UTR tournament, and Holt earned $2,200. The bad news is that the non-sanctioned tournament does not affect their world rankings of No. 310 and No. 577, respectively.
   Meanwhile, Joshua Ortlip of Irvine, near Los Angeles, defeated Eric Hadigian, a Gonzaga University sophomore from Sacramento, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3 in the final of the second-place playoff.
   Timothy Sah, a Stanford senior from San Diego, routed Miles Jones of Marina Del Rey in the L.A. region 6-3, 6-0 in the final of the third-place playoff.
   UTR Pro WomenKatie Volynets, a 19-year-old pro from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, outclassed Leyden Games, a USC signee from Irvine, 6-2, 6-2 in a round-robin opener in the $25,000 UTR Pro Tennis Series in Newport Beach.
    Scheduled to begin play on Monday are Bay Area residents Vivan Ovrootsky and Madison Weekley — who are headed to the University of Texas and Saint Mary's, respectively, in 2022 — and Priya Nelson, a high school sophomore from Sacramento.
   Australian Open qualifying — Lu Jia-Jing of China overwhelmed Jovana Jovic, a Sacramento resident from Serbia, 6-1, 6-2 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
   No. 16 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt is slated to play Akiko Omae of Japan in a qualifying opener on Monday. 
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Feb. 8-21, three weeks later than usual, at its traditional home in Melbourne. 
   ATP TourMackenzie McDonald, a 25-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, and Tommy Paul beat Nicholas Monroe and Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-1 in an all-American quarterfinal in the Delray Beach (Fla.) Open.
   McDonald and Paul are set to face Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador on Tuesday. Both teams are unseeded.
   Andres Molteni of Argentina and Hugo Nys of Monaco eliminated Austin Krajicek of Plano, Texas, and Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, 6-3, 6-4.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

NorCal's Brooksby breezes into final of UTR $25K

Jenson Brooksby is scheduled to play Brandon Holt,
Tracy Austin's son, for the title in Newport Beach,
Calif. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Jenson Brooksby will play for the title in the $25,000 UTR Pro Tennis Series in Newport Beach, Calif.
   The 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area crushed Tristan Boyer, a Stanford freshman from Altadena in the Los Angeles region, 6-1, 6-1 today in the semifinals of the first-place playoff.
   Brooksby has won all 10 of his sets in the tournament, his first as a professional. He is scheduled to play Brandon Holt of Rolling Hills in the L.A. region on Sunday.
   Holt, the 22-year-old son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, defeated Govind Nanda, a UCLA junior from Redlands in Southern California, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
   Brooksby and Holt will meet for the second time. Holt prevailed 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-4 in the semifinals of a $25,000 tournament in Los Angeles last January.
   Meanwhile, Eric Hadigian of Sacramento is slated to play Joshua Ortlip of Irvine in the L.A. region in the final of the second-place playoff. Hadigian, a Gonzaga sophomore, beat Daniel De Jonge, a Pepperdine junior from the Netherlands, 6-4, 6-1. 
   In the final of the third-place playoff, Stanford senior Timothy Sah of San Diego is set to face Miles Jones of Marina Del Rey, an L.A. suburb. Sah defeated Robert Shelton, a Pepperdine sophomore from Lancaster, Pa., by walkover.  
   ATP Tour — Gianluca Mager of Italy eliminated sixth-seeded Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, 7-6 (8), 6-1 in the second round of the Delray Beach (Fla.) Open. Querrey, the 2016 champion, fell to 1-5 in singles since last January.
   In the first round of doubles, Austin Krajicek of Plano, Texas, and Querrey defeated wild cards Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 7-6 (4), 6-3. 
   Querrey is playing in his first tournament since the ATP handed him a suspended fine of $20,000 for breaching the COVID-19 protocol in Russia last October. 
   WTA Tour — Fifth-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan beat Karolina Muchova and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic by walkover to reach the quarterfinals of the Abu Dhabi WTA Women's Tennis Open in the United Arab Emirates.
   Aoyama and Shibahara, a 22-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, are scheduled to face top-seeded Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei and Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic on Monday.
   Hsieh, ranked No. 1 in women's doubles, and Krejcikova, ranked seventh, edged Sharon Fichman of Canada and Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the Bay Area, 6-2, 5-7 [12-10].
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