Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mackie pulls out of Open; Sabalenka avenges S.J. loss

Mackenzie McDonald, who grew up in Piedmont in
the San Francisco Bay Area, had right hamstring
 surgery in June. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 24-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, has withdrawn from the U.S. Open after undergoing right hamstring surgery in June.
   McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., has been sidelined since losing to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in five sets in the first round of the French Open in late May.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter), 160-pound (73-kilogram) McDonald has dropped from a career-high No. 57 on April 29 to No. 97. He is 0-2 in the singles main draw of the U.S. Open.
   Among those receiving wild cards in the women's main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 26-Sept. 8 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., are Kristie Ahn, a 27-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Katie Volynets, 17, of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area.
   Ahn won the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge, and Volynets received an automatic berth for winning the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego on Sunday.
   Ahn will make her second appearance in the main draw of the U.S. Open. At 16, she qualified for the 2008 U.S. Open before losing to sixth-seeded Dinara Safina in the first round. Safina was ranked seventh at the time and ascended to No. 1 the following year.
   Wild-card recipients in men's qualifying include Sacramento-area products Jenson Brooksby, 18, and Sam Riffice, 20.
   WTA Tour – Ninth-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus beat Zheng Saisai of China 6-4, 6-3 today in the second round of the Western & Southern Open in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio.
   The powerful Sabalenka, who's coached by former longtime Northern Californian Dmitry Tursunov, avenged a 6-3, 7-6 (3) loss to the crafty Zheng in the final of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on Aug. 4.
   ATP Challenger Tour – Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands topped second-seeded Steve Johnson, who won last week's $81,240 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif., 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the $108,320 Odlum Brown VanOpen in Vancouver, British Columbia.
   Johnson, a 29-year-old resident of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area, received a first-round bye.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Johnson wins Aptos again, this time without late father

Top-seeded Steve Johnson beat fourth-seeded Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 7-6 (4)
today to win the $81,240 Nordic Naturals Challenger in Aptos, Calif. Johnson
also won the title in 2012, six weeks after he turned pro. Photo by Paul Bauman
   APTOS, Calif. – It was practically another lifetime ago that Stevie Johnson won the Challenger singles title at the Seascape Sports Club for the first time.
   In 2012, he had been a professional for only six weeks after completing one of the most decorated careers in NCAA history at USC.
   Since then, Johnson has risen as high as No. 21 in the world, won four singles titles on the ATP World Tour, compiled a 5-3 record in Davis Cup singles and doubles, won an Olympic bronze medal in doubles and earned almost $6 million in prize money.
Steve Johnson, whose father/mentor died of a heart attack at 58 in 2017, says
a prayer before the final. " ... I don't know if I was meant to be a pro by myself,"
Johnson said. "I love the game of tennis, but sometimes I wish my partner
in crime was with me." Photo by Paul Bauman
   The biggest change, however, is that Johnson's beloved father is no longer with him. Steve Johnson, a tennis coach, died of a heart attack at 58 in May 2017. Three weeks later, Stevie captured the hearts of fans worldwide when he broke down on television after his second-round win in the French Open.
   Stevie has said his father "taught me pretty much everything I know."
   Before and after beating Dominik Koepfer 6-4, 7-6 (4) today to win the $81,240 Nordic Naturals Challenger, Johnson went through his usual rituals. Beforehand, he walked to the back of the court, squatted briefly while facing the wall and said a prayer. Afterward, he crossed himself, gazed at the sky and pumped his fist.
   "I've done that for a long time," Johnson said. "It's just a bit more meaning the last couple of years. He was here when I won in 2012, so I like to look up and see him up there, but that's the way life goes sometimes."
Steve Johnson's lethal forehand helped him beat Dominik
Koepfer in their first career meeting. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Johnson, who wears a cross necklace, has tumbled from No. 33 at the beginning of the year to No. 93. He will rise to No. 79 on Monday.
   "Mentally, it's just been hard to do it week in, week out," said Johnson, 29, of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area. "I don't know if I was meant to be a pro by myself. I love the game of tennis, but sometimes I wish my partner in crime was with me."
   The top-seeded Johnson, who didn't lose a set in his five matches during the week, collected $10,800 – pocket change for him – in his first Challenger since March 2018 and second since 2014.
   The fourth-seeded Koepfer, a 25-year-old left-hander from Germany now based in Tampa, Fla., received $6,360 after playing in the singles final of a Northern California Challenger for the second consecutive year. The Tulane graduate lost to Jason Jung, a Los Angeles-area native who plays for Taiwan, 7-6 in the third set indoors in San Francisco in February 2018.
   Johnson and Koepfer met for the first time on a gorgeous, 70-degree (21.1 Celsius) day in the 32-year-old tournament, the longest-running men's Challenger in the United States.
   Johnson, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), triumphed with his booming serve, lethal forehand and consistent slice backhand. He pounded 10 aces, committed only one double fault and won 85 percent of the points (29 of 34) on his first serve.
   "I served well when it mattered," Johnson said. "My serve has been an issue all year. This week, it was great on Day 1, not so good on Days 2 and 3, great on Day 4 and good when it needed to be today."
Dominik Koepfer, 25, will rise to a career-high No. 113.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Koepfer, who has surprising power at 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters), had three aces and four double faults and won 68 percent of the points (28 of 41) on his first serve.
   Like everyone, Koepfer targeted Johnson's backhand during rallies.
   "That was the game plan, to approach to his backhand," said Koepfer, who will rise nine spots to a career-high No. 113. "He doesn't have a great two-handed backhand, but it's not a nice ball to hit off his slice. It stays low every time. You've got to be patient. I thought I did a pretty good job with it. It just wasn't enough.
   "He doesn't give you a lot of free points. Obviously, if you hit it to his forehand, he has you on the run. That's the danger playing him."
   Johnson raced to a 3-0 lead (one service break) in the first set against an admittedly nervous Koepfer, who won his first Challenger singles title in June on grass in Ilkey, England, before Koepfer rallied to even the set at 4-4. After Johnson held serve, he broke for the set on a spectacular forehand cross-court passing shot with Koepfer at the net.
   Both players held serve throughout the second set, although Koepfer saved a championship point while serving at 5-6 with an overhead smash.
   Johnson led 4-2 in the tiebreaker, but Koepfer leveled at 4-4 with a cross-court backhand winner after Johnson missed his first serve.
   After Johnson made a tremendous lunging backhand volley winner to lead 5-4, Koepfer sprayed a swinging forehand volley to give Johnson his second championship point. He capitalized with a runaround forehand passing shot set up by – what else? – an inside-out forehand to the opposite corner.
   "At 6-5 (in the third set), I thought I played a pretty bad match point," Johnson said. "I played really passively, didn't try to win. That's kind of the way my year has been.
   "I was thinking about that, so when I got to the 6-4 point (in the tiebreaker), I was playing to win. I was going to try to hit as many forehands as possible and go for it. That's the way I've got to play, and it paid off."
Left to right, top-seeded Marcelo Arevalo and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela
beat unseeded Max Schnur and Nathan Pasha for the doubles title. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   In the doubles final, top-seeded Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico beat unseeded Nathan Pasha of Atlanta and Max Schnur of New York 5-7, 6-3 [10-8] to share $4,650.
   Pasha and Schnur, who split $2,700, played in the tournament only because third-seeded Leander Paes of India and Max Purcell of Australia withdrew after Paes strained a calf muscle.
   Paes, 46, has won 18 major titles, eight in men's doubles and 10 in mixed doubles with a career Grand Slam in each event.
   Here are the complete Aptos singles and doubles draws.

Volynets wins USTA girls 18s, earns U.S. Open berth

Katie Volynets became the third Northern Californian
to win a USTA 18 national singles title in six years.
Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Katie Volynets is headed to the U.S. Open.
   The 17-year-old resident of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, seeded second, beat third-seeded Emma Navarro of Charleston, S.C., 6-2, 6-4 today to win the USTA Billie Jean King Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego.
   Volynets, a Walnut Creek native whose parents are Ukrainian, received an automatic wild card in the women's main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 26-Sept. 8 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   She became the third Northern Californian to win a USTA 18 national singles title in six years, joining Collin Altamirano (2013) and Jenson Brooksby (2018). All train under Joseph Gilbert at the Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento.
   Volynets bolted to a 4-0 lead against Navarro.
   "The key was starting really well and maintaining the level of play like I wanted to," Volynets said in a news release. "I was really energetic and focused on court and pumped myself up constantly.
   "After I won match point, I had a surge of energy and joy. It means so much to me, and I'm excited to go play (the U.S. Open). I've been working on this for a long time."
   Meanwhile, Sacramento-area product Aidan Mayo lost a heartbreaker in the final of the USTA Boys 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
   Top-seeded Alexander Bernard of Bonita Springs, Fla., outlasted the fourth-seeded Mayo, who now lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5. Mayo had a match point at 5-3 in the third set.
   Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose won the boys 16 doubles title with Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md. Seeded seventh, they beat 11th-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and Aiden Kim of Chantilly, Va., 6-4, 6-3.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Johnson back in Aptos final; Koepfer ends foe's streak

Steve Johnson has dropped from a career-high No. 21
in 2016 to No. 93, but he said that's deceiving. Photo
by Paul Bauman
   APTOS, Calif. – What today's Nordic Naturals Challenger semifinals lacked in drama, they made up for with significance.
   Steve Johnson returned to the final at the Seascape Sports Club after seven years, and Dominik Koepfer ended Ernesto Escobedo's winning streak at 10 matches.
   As fog rolled in from the nearby Pacific Ocean, the fourth-seeded Koepfer beat the unseeded Escobedo 6-4, 6-3 to improve to 2-1 in their head-to-head series, and the second-seeded Johnson dispatched sixth-seeded Egor Gerasimov 6-2, 6-1 in 55 minutes in their first career meeting.
   Johnson, the 2012 Aptos champion and a longtime regular on the ATP World Tour, is playing in his first Challenger since March 2018 and second since 2014.
   Koepfer will play in the final of a Northern California Challenger for the second straight year. He lost to Jason Jung, a Los Angeles-area native who plays for Taiwan, 7-6 in the third set indoors in San Francisco in early 2018.
   Neither Johnson nor Koepfer has lost a set in four matches this week. They will meet for the first time on Sunday after the noon doubles final, in which top-seeded Marcelo Arevelo of El Salvador and Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico will play unseeded Nathan Pasha of Atlanta and Max Schnur of New York.
Dominik Koepfer ended Ernesto Escobedo's winning streak
at 10 matches. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Johnson and Koepfer wouldn't seem to have much in common. Johnson is four years older at 29 and three inches (7.6 centimeters) taller at 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters). Johnson, a right-hander, is a lifelong Southern Californian. Koepfer is a German left-hander based in Tampa, Fla.
   Both, however, are ex-college stars. Johnson had one of the most decorated careers in NCAA history, ending his stay at USC in 2012 with four NCAA team titles, NCAA singles crowns in his last two years and a 72-match winning streak in singles. He plans to finish his degree in human performance after retiring from tennis.
   Koepfer, a two-time All-American at Tulane in New Orleans, was ranked No. 1 nationally for most of his senior year in 2016. He graduated with a degree in finance.
  Johnson did not face a break point against Gerasimov, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Belarusian who ousted defending champion Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round, and converted four of six break-point opportunities.
   "I thought I capitalized on break points well," said Johnson, who reached the third round at Wimbledon last month. "I served much better today than in the last two rounds. Whenever you can take care of business on your serve, it's always a plus."
Egor Gerasimov, who ousted defending champion Than-
asi Kokkinakis in the second round, fell to Steve Johnson
in 55 minutes. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Johnson, who would have had to qualify in the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Montreal this week, was candid when asked if it was tough to play a Challenger after competing at the top level of men's tennis for so many years.
   "I'd be lying if I said no," he said. "I'd rather be in Montreal and Cincinnati (next week), but I won here, and everyone here has treated me incredibly well over the years (2011-13). It's California, so it's kind of close to home. I've had a lot of luck here, so I'd like to get one more here tomorrow. Anytime you enter a tournament and come out the winner, that's the goal."
   Johnson, a Davis Cup veteran and an Olympic bronze medalist in doubles with Jack Sock in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, has dropped from a career-high No. 21 in 2016 to No. 93. He was devastated when his father, mentor and confidant, also Steve, died of a heart attack at 58 in May 2017. Steve Jr. was hospitalized with exhaustion that summer, and anxiety attacks have led him to consult a psychologist when he's at home in Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area. Still, he began the year at No. 33.
   "Tennis hasn't been easy the last couple of years with everything that's gone on, but I'm doing my best to put my best foot forward every day," Johnson said. "If you look at this year, if I could change (fewer) than 10 points, I think I'm top 30 in the world. I lost six matches 7-6 in the third, I think (actually four, including last week to former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov in Los Cabos), and four other matches where I had match points. It's been a bummer of a year from that standpoint, but you can't hang your head and feel sorry for yourself. You've got to get better and go out and try to win."
Ernesto Escobedo won a Challenger in Granby, Quebec,
two weeks ago and was coming off two tough matches
in Aptos. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Koepfer won his first Challenger singles title in June, on grass in Ilkey, England, and advanced to the second round at Wimbledon last month as a wild card in his Grand Slam main-draw debut. He will achieve a career-high ranking of at least No. 113 on Monday.
   Despite – or perhaps because of – Escobedo's winning streak, Koepfer said he had an edge in the matchup of hard hitters. Whereas Koepfer was fresh, Escobedo won a Challenger in Granby, Quebec, two weeks ago and was coming off two tough matches in Aptos. He saved two match points in a 7-6 (2), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (12) victory over fifth-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo that lasted 2 hours, 47 minutes on Thursday and outlasted top-seeded Damir Dzumhur 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 on Friday.
   "Yeah, for sure," said Koepfer, who won the last four games of the match. "(Escobedo) was struggling a little bit, especially toward the end of the second set. You could see he wasn't as physical anymore. He couldn't go after his serve as much. It always helps playing quicker matches in early rounds to be fresh when it counts in the semis and finals."
   Escobedo, a 23-year-old resident of West Covina in the Los Angeles area, hedged when asked if his previous two matches took a toll on him against Koepfer.
   "Maybe in a way, but at the same time, I still had to prepare myself for this match," said Escobedo, ranked No. 214 after reaching a career-high No. 67 in 2017. "It's been a long two weeks. I went through the whole summer and won a Challenger. It kind of did (take a toll), but it's not an excuse."
Bernardo Saraiva, a former University of
San Francisco standout, lost in the doubles
semifinals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Escobedo had his left thigh taped after the first set and re-taped after he broke serve to lead 2-1 in the second set.
   "I pulled a quad a little bit," said Escobedo, who clinched the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge with his victory over Fratangelo to earn a main-draw berth in the year's last Grand Slam tournament. "It's nothing major. I just need some rest, and I'll be fine for the Open. I felt it a little bit this morning."
   Pasha and Schnur are playing in the tournament only because third-seeded Leander Paes of India and Max Purcell of Australia withdrew after Paes strained a calf muscle.
   Paes, 46, has won 18 major titles, eight in men's doubles and 10 in mixed doubles with a career Grand Slam in each event.
   Pasha and Schnur – who starred at the University of Georgia and Columbia, respectively – beat unseeded Evan Hoyt of Great Britain and Bernardo Saraiva, a former University of San Francisco standout from Portugal, 6-3, 6-4.
   Saraiva, 26, attended Albany High School in the East Bay as a senior when his father, Antonio, was a visiting scholar for a year at Cal as a professor of anthropology and geography.
   Bernardo is based in San Francisco and Lisbon. He said the cities have "a lot of similarities – the hills, the cable cars, the bridge. The weather is better in Lisbon, and San Francisco is quite more expensive," Saraiva added with a laugh.
   Here are the updated Aptos singles and doubles draws and Sunday's scheduleLive streaming is available.

Bay Area's Volynets reaches Girls 18 National final

Katie Volynets, shown earlier in the week, could become the third Northern Calif-
ornian to win a USTA Boys or Girls 18 National singles title in six years. Photo
courtesy of JFS Communications 
   Second-seeded Katie Volynets, 17, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area beat 13th-seeded Katrina Scott, 15, of Woodland Hills in the Los Angeles region 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 today in the semifinals of the USTA Billie Jean King Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego.
   Volynets is scheduled to face third-seeded Emma Navarro of Charleston, S.C., on Sunday at 2 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). The winner will receive a wild card in the women's main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 26-Sept. 8 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Navarro, who won the French Open girls doubles title with Alexa Noel of Summit, N.J., in June, crushed top-seeded Hailey Baptiste of Washington, D.C., 6-0, 6-2.
   Volynets is 2-0 against Navarro in International Tennis Federation junior tournaments. Volynets won their last meeting 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in the Easter Bowl 18 semifinals on a hardcourt in April 2018 in Indian Wells, Calif. Volynets went on to win the title.
   Volynets could join Collin Altamirano (2013) and Jenson Brooskby (2018) as the third Northern Californian to win the USTA Boys or Girls 18 National singles title in six years. All train under Joseph Gilbert at the Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento.
   In Kalamazoo, Mich., fourth seed and Sacramento-area product Aidan Mayo topped 19th-seeded Alex Finkelstein of Raynham, Mass., 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the USTA Boys 16 National Championships. Finkelstein was coming off a three-set victory over second-seeded Luke Casper of Santa Cruz, Calif.
   Mayo, who now lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance, will face top-seeded Alexander Bernard of Bonita Springs, Fla. Bernard beat seventh-seeded Ben Shelton of Gainesville, Fla., 6-2, 6-4.
   In the boys 16 doubles semifinals, seventh-seeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose and Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md., outlasted 13th-seeded Casper and Jameson Corsillo of Boca Raton, Fla., 7-6 (6), 0-6, 6-4.
   The match ended with a game penalty against Casper and Corsillo for unsportsmanlike conduct, Colette Lewis reported on ZooTennis. A line umpire reported a threatening remark to the chair after a point had been assessed earlier in the set for comments about a line call.
   Hashimoto and Kittay will meet 11th-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and Aiden Kim of Chantilly, Va. Brown and Kim surprised second-seeded Thomas Paulsell of Seattle and Frank Thompson of Blacksburg, Va., 7-6 (2), 7-6 (7).
   Aspen Schuman of Menlo Park in the Bay Area won the doubles title in the USTA Girls 12 National Championships in Alpharetta, Ga., with Haylee Conway of Bellevue, Wash. Seeded first, they beat fifth-seeded Kate Fakih of Arcadia in the Los Angeles region and Victoria Osuigwe (pronounced Oh-sig-way) of Bradenton, Fla., 7-5, 4-6, 6-2.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Escobedo ousts top seed Dzumhur in Aptos quarters

Ernesto Escobedo, serving in Aptos last year, extended his winning
streak to 10 matches. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Resurgent Ernesto Escobedo of West Covina in the Los Angeles area outlasted top-seeded Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 today in the quarterfinals of the $81,240 Nordic Naturals Challenger at the Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
   The unseeded Escobedo, ranked No. 214 after climbing to a career-high No. 67 in 2017, broke serve in the last game when Dzumhur sprayed a forehand.
   Escobedo, a hard hitter who began working with former top-20 player Jan-Michael Gambill in March, extended his winning streak to 10 matches. He won an $81,240 tournament in Granby, Quebec, two weeks ago for his first Challenger title in three years.
   Both Escobedo, 23, and Dzumhur, 27, saved match points and won third-set tiebreakers on Thursday. Escobedo, with his dramatic victory over fifth-seeded Bjorn Fratangelo, earned a main-draw berth in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year by winning the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge.
   Dzumhur also has plunged in the rankings, from a career-high No. 23 in July 2018 to No. 109. But he has reached two quarterfinals on the ATP World Tour this year, stunning then-No. 12 Stefanos Tsitsipas indoors in Rotterdam in February and three-time Grand Slam singles champion Stan Wawrinka on clay in Geneva.
   Escobedo will face his fourth seed in the tournament when he meets No. 4 Dominik Koepfer, a 25-year-old left-hander from Germany, on Saturday after an 11 a.m. doubles semifinal.
   Koepfer, ranked No. 122, beat seventh-seeded Marcos Giron of Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles area 6-1, 6-4.
   Koepfer, who graduated from Tulane in New Orleans, had an outstanding grass-court season in England. He reached the quarterfinals and won $165,571 Challengers in Nottingham and Ilkey, respectively, and advanced to the second round at Wimbledon.
   Escobedo and Koepfer have split two career matches. Escobedo prevailed 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 on an indoor hardcourt in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, and Koepfer won 6-1, 7-5 on an outdoor hardcourt in Houston last year.
   After the Koepfer-Escobedo match, second-seeded Steve Johnson, 29, of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles region will face sixth-seeded Egor Gerasimov, 26, of Belarus for the first time.
   Johnson, the 2012 Aptos champion, is playing in his first Challenger since March 2018 and second since 2014. He downed 10th-seeded Go Soeda, 34, of Japan 6-3, 7-6 (4).
   Johnson has tumbled from a career-high No. 21 in 2016 to No. 93, but he reached the third round at Wimbledon last month. Soeda won the Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger 10 years ago and advanced to the Aptos semifinals in 2014.
   The 146th-ranked Gerasimov, who ousted defending champion Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round, dispatched third-seeded Taro Daniel, the local favorite from Japan, 6-3, 6-4.
   Daniel was born in New York to an American father, Paul, and Japanese mother, Yasue. The family moved to Japan when Taro was an infant and to Spain when he was 14. Paul Daniel grew up in Santa Cruz, near Aptos.
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Gerasimov won his sixth career Challenger singles title in Recanati, Italy, on hardcourts in early July and last year reached two quarterfinals on the ATP Tour, in Los Cabos and Moscow. He defeated three top-60 players, including then-No. 28 Sam Querrey in Los Cabos, en route to the quarters in those tournaments.

Volynets tops Ma in all-Bay Area USTA National 18 QF

Katie Volynets, shown Thursday, beat Connie Ma in an all-San Francisco
Bay Area quarterfinal in the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in
San Diego, Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   In an all-San Francisco Bay Area quarterfinal, second-seeded Katie Volynets, 17, of Walnut Creek beat fifth-seeded Connie Ma, 16, of Dublin 7-6 (1), 6-1 today in the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego.
   Walnut Creek and Dublin are 18 miles (29 kilometers) apart on Interstate 680 in the East Bay.
   Volynets is scheduled to play 13th-seeded Katrina Scott, 15, of Woodland Hills in the Los Angeles area on Saturday. Scott eliminated 10th-seeded Elli Mandlik, the daughter of International Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova and a resident of Bradenton, Fla., 7-6 (5), 6-3.
   In the other semifinal, top-seeded Hailey Baptiste of Washington, D.C., will face third-seeded Emma Navarro of Charleston, S.C.
   In the girls 16 semifinals in San Diego, 14th-seeded Reese Brantmeier, 14, of Whitewater, Wis., topped second-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
   The girls 12 doubles final in Alpharetta, Ga., will feature top-seeded Haylee Conway of Bellevue, Wash., and Aspen Schuman of Menlo Park in the Bay Area against fifth-seeded Kate Fakih of Arcadia in the Los Angeles region and Victoria Osuigwe of Bradenton 6-4, 6-3.
   Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Aidan Mayo, a resident of Torrance in the Los Angeles area who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, beat ninth-seeded Victor Lilov of Raleigh, N.C., 6-4, 6-4 in the boys 16 quarterfinals in Kalamazoo, Mich.
   Mayo will play 19th-seeded Alex Finkelstein of Raynham, Mass. Finkelstein upset second-seeded Luke Casper of Santa Cruz 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-2.
   In the other semifinal, top-seeded Alexander Bernard of Bonita Springs, Fla., will meet seventh-seeded Ben Shelton of Gainesville, Fla. Bernard beat 32nd-seeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose 6-1, 6-4.
   A Northern Californian is guaranteed to reach the boys 16 doubles final, as seventh-seeded Hashimoto and Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md., will face 13th-seeded Casper and Jameson Corsillo of Boca Raton, Fla.
   Sixth-seeded Dylan Tsoi of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento region and Alexander Razeghi of Humble, Texas, won the boys 14 doubles title in Mobile, Ala.  They routed fifth-seeded James Lian of Parsippany, N.J., and Nicholas Mangiapane of Davidson, N.C., 6-1, 6-1.
Please help defray travel expenses
$
Thanks for your donation!