Friday, February 15, 2019

Stanford men fall to Virginia in ITA National Indoors

   The No. 10 Stanford men lost to No. 13 Virginia 4-2 today in the first round of the ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championship in Chicago.
   Carl Soderlund, a junior from Sweden, beat Axel Geller, a sophomore from Argentina, 6-4, 7-5 on Court 1 to clinch the victory for the Cavaliers (8-1).
   Stanford (6-2) will play No. 19 Tulane (4-4) on Saturday in the consolation bracket. The Green Wave lost to No. 2 Ohio State 4-0.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Georgia snaps Stanford women's win streak at 25

Michaela Gordon, shown in 2017, lost the deciding match as No. 1 Stanford fell
to No. 5 Georgia 4-3 on Monday in the semifinals of the ITA National Women's
Team Indoor Championships in Seattle. Photo by Rob Vomund
   No. 5 Georgia ended No. 1 Stanford's winning streak at 25 matches on Monday, edging the Cardinal 4-3 in the semifinals of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
   The Cardinal's run included its 19th NCAA title, an ongoing record, last May in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   In Monday's deciding match, No. 2 Katarina Jokic defeated No. 23 Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 on Court 1.
   No. 13 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon won on Court 2 to give Stanford (5-1) the doubles point. No. 31 Melissa Lord and Niluka Madurawe, a freshman from Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, lost on Court 3.
   Georgia (6-0) will play No. 3 and defending champion North Carolina (9-0), which routed rival Duke 4-0.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fed Cup woes, Novikov doubles title, Stanford thriller

Danielle Collins, shown in the 2017 Sacramento Challenger, and Nicole Melichar
of the United States lost to Ashleigh Barty and Priscilla Hon of Australia 6-4, 7-5
today in the deciding match in the first round of the Fed Cup in Asheville, N.C.
Australia won 3-2. Photo by Rob Vomund
   Wondering why the International Tennis Federation changed the Davis Cup format, beginning this year, from four weekends throughout the year to one week in November?
   Look no further than the first round of the Fed Cup. Only three of the top-10 singles players in the world competed this weekend.
   Romania had No. 3 Simona Halep, while the Czech Republic, the defending champion, was missing No. 2 Petra Kvitova. Guess which team won 3-2 on the road. Correct, Romania.
   Belarus had No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka, while Germany was missing No. 6 Angelique Kerber. Guess which team won 4-0 on the road. Right, Belarus.
   Australia does not have a top-10 singles player. But Ashleigh Barty -- the nation's top singles and doubles player at No. 13 and No. 6, respectively -- played against the United States, last year's runner-up. The U.S., meanwhile, was missing its top two singles players, No. 4 Sloane Stephens and No. 11 Serena Williams. Guess which team won 3-2 on the road. Yes, Australia.
   By the way, Halep, Sabalenka and Barty went a combined 7-0 in their matches.
   Halep dominated Katerina Siniakova 6-4, 6-0 and pulled out a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over No. 5 Karolina Pliskova in 2 hours, 37 minutes.
   Sabalenka, coached by former Northern California resident Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, lost five games total in her two singles matches.
   Barty did not lose a set in her three matches (two singles and one doubles).
   In the April 20-21 semifinals, France will host Romania, and Australia will host Belarus. The United States will face an opponent to be determined on the same weekend for the right to play in the World Group next year.
   The ITF has no plans to change the Fed Cup format -- yet.
   ATP Challenger Tour -- One former UCLA star from NorCal won a title in the $135,400 RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas, at least.
   Wild cards and ex-Bruins teammates Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov, a 25-year-old San Jose product, defeated unseeded Ante Pavic of Croatia and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa 6-4, 7-6 (3).
   It was Novikov's fifth Challenger doubles title and first since 2016.
   In the singles final, 14th-seeded Mitchell Krueger, playing in his hometown, beat top-seeded Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
    McDonald, who swept the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior in 2016, had been 4-1 against Krueger, 25. But Krueger, in addition to having the home-court advantage, was more rested physically and mentally than McDonald.
   Krueger advanced by walkover in Saturday's semifinals, while the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) McDonald beat 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka, seeded third, 6-4, 7-6 (13) in a night match. McDonald converted his fourth match point and saved four set points in the tiebreaker.
   ITA National Women's Team Indoors -- No. 14 Emily Arbuthnott defeated Fernanda Labrana 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 on Court 4 to give top-ranked Stanford, the defending NCAA champion, a 4-3 victory over No. 6 Texas in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
   No. 23 Michaela Gordon, a Stanford sophomore from Saratoga in the Bay Area, defeated Bianca Turati 6-4, 6-3 on Court 1. No. 13 Arbuthnott and Gordon were tied 5-5 with twins Anna and Bianca Turati when their match was abandoned.
   No. 13 Melissa Lord and Niluka Madurawe, a Cardinal freshman from Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, topped Katie Poluta and Tijana Spasojevic 7-5 on Court 3 to clinch the doubles point for Stanford.
   The Cardinal (5-0) will face No. 5 Georgia (5-0), which edged No. 2 Vanderbilt 4-3.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Fed Cup, Dallas Challenger, college women's tourney

Madison Keys, shown in 2017, beat Kimberly Birrell
6-2, 6-2 today in Asheville, N.C., to even the United
States' series against Australia at 1-1 in the first round
of the Fed Cup. Photo by Mal Taam
   The first day of the Fed Cup tie between the United States and Australia went according to form.
   Ashleigh Barty, ranked 13th, held off 37th-ranked Sofia Kenin, 6-1, 7-6 (2) in 79 minutes today to give Australia a 1-0 lead in the first round of the best-of-five-match competition on an indoor hard court in Asheville, N.C.
   Madison Keys, ranked 17th, pulled the United States even with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Kimberly Birrell, ranked 157th, in 63 minutes.
   Absent from the tie are the United States' top two singles players, No. 4 Sloane Stephens and No. 11 Serena Williams, and Australia's second-highest-ranked singles competitor, No. 41 Ajla Tomljanovic.
   The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup titles. The Czech Republic is second with 11, followed by Australia with seven.
   The U.S. has reached the last two Fed Cup finals, beating host Belarus in 2017 and losing at the Czech Republic last November. Australia seeks its first title since 1974 and first berth in the finals since 1993.
   The 5-foot-5 (1.66-meter) Barty, a quarterfinalist in last month's Australian Open, pounded 10 aces to Kenin's one and won 91 percent of the points on her first serve (29 of 32).
   With Barty serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set, Kenin saved two match points and broke on a double fault.
   Kenin, a Moscow native who moved to Florida as a young child, has excelled in Northern California Challengers, winning titles in 2016 (Sacramento), 2017 (Stockton) and last year (Berkeley).
   Kenin won her first WTA title in Hobart in early January and lost to then-No. 1 Simona Halep in the second round of the Australian Open after leading 4-2 in the third set.
   Keys, who won the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017, never faced a break point against Burrell, who underwent elbow surgery in 2016 and lost in the first round of the Berkeley Challenger last July to Modesto product Maria Sanchez.
   Kenin and Birrell, both 20, were chosen over higher-ranked, older players.
   Danielle Collins, an Australian Open singles semifinalist ranked 23rd at age 25, is scheduled to play doubles only for the United States on Sunday in her Fed Cup debut. Kenin fell to 0-3 in the Fed Cup, including two close singles losses in last year's final.
   Birrell stunned then-No. 10 Daria Kasatkina in the first round in Brisbane in the first week of January and reached the third round of the Australian Open. Meanwhile, 47th-ranked Daria Gavrilova is 0-4 this year.
   Gavrilova, a 24-year-old Moscow native, won the doubles title in the 2014 Sacramento Challenger with compatriot Storm Sanders. It was Gavrilova's first tournament since undergoing surgery for a torn ACL only eight months beforehand.
   In Sunday's reverse singles, Keys is scheduled to face Barty at 10 a.m. PST (Tennis Channel), followed by Kenin against Birrell.
   Keys defeated Barty 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the 2017 French Open in their only career meeting. Kenin and Birrell have not played each other.
   In the fifth rubber, Collins and Nicole Melichar are set to take on Barty and Gavrilova.
   ATP Challenger Tour -- No. 14 seed Mitchell Krueger, playing in his hometown, reached the final of the $135,400 RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas when No. 6 seed Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando, Fla., withdrew because of a quadriceps injury.
   Fratangelo won the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last October.
   Krueger, 25, will face top-seeded Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   McDonald, who's featured in Tennis Channel's "My Tennis Life" this year, beat third-seeded Reilly Opelka, 21, of Palm Coast, Fla., 6-4, 7-6 (13) in a late match. McDonald converted his fourth match point and saved four set points in the tiebreaker.
   At 6-foot-11 (2.11 meters), Opelka towers over the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) McDonald, a former UCLA star who won the 2017 Fairfield Challenger.
   McDonald, ranked No. 91, is 4-1 against Krueger, ranked No. 209. They met two weeks ago in the second round of the $162,480 Newport Beach Challenger, with McDonald winning 6-3, 6-4.
   In the doubles semifinals, U.S. wild cards and former UCLA teammates Marcos Giron and Dennis Novikov nipped second-seeded Romain Arneodo of Monaco and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus 6-7 (4), 6-4 [11-9].
   Giron and Novikov, a 25-year-old San Jose product, will meet unseeded Ante Pavic of Croatia and Ruan Roelofse of South Africa. They edged unseeded Ruben Gonzales of the Philippines and Alex Lawson of Tempe, Ariz., 6-4, 5-7 [10-8].
   McDonald and Giron won three NCAA individual championships combined. McDonald swept the singles and doubles titles in 2016, and Giron took the singles crown in 2014.
   ITA National Women's Team Indoors -- Today's quarterfinals in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle were postponed because of dangerous road conditions. The Seattle area received more than six inches of snow on Friday.
   Top-ranked Stanford (4-0), the defending NCAA champion, is scheduled to play No. 6 Texas (4-1) on Sunday at 10 a.m. The Cardinal routed No. 18 LSU 4-0 on Friday in the opening round.

Monday, February 4, 2019

McNally, 17, caps remarkable run in $100K Midland

   Seventeen-year-old wild cards aren't supposed to mow down veteran pros, some ranked in the top 100, and win $100,000 tournaments without losing a set.
   But that's exactly what Caty McNally did in the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.
   The Cincinnati native and resident outclassed fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday for her second consecutive title. McNally also won a $25,000 hard-court tournament in Lawrence, Kan., last November.
   "She didn't really start making any errors until about the end of the second set when I started coming back," the 24-year-old Pegula, who suffered her eighth consecutive loss in a WTA or an ITF singles final, told reporters. "She's playing with a lot of confidence and kind of no fear, (and it's) tough to play against someone like that who's young and doesn't really feel the pressure."
   McNally, who has won two doubles titles and reached one singles final in junior Grand Slam tournaments, never lost more than four games in a set in Midland. She knocked off four seeds: No. 7 Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) in the first round, No. 3 and defending champion Madison Brengle in the quarterfinals, No. 1 Rebecca Peterson in the semifinals and Pegula.
   Peterson was ranked No. 57, and Brengle was No. 80, marking McNally's first two victories over top-100 players.
   Brengle won the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October, and Gibbs reached the final of the inaugural $60,000 Berkeley Challenger last July.
   McNally and Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terrence and Kim Pegula, reached the doubles quarterfinals before losing to eventual champions Olga Govortsova of Belarus and Valeria Savinykh of Russia.
   McNally soared 158 places to No. 253 in the world singles rankings and collected $15,239 for the title. The only younger players ranked ahead of her are 16-year-olds Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine at No. 195 and Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., at No. 220.
   Pegula improved 11 notches to No. 93, cracking the top 100 for the first time, and earned $8,147 as the runner-up. She reached the semifinals in Stockton last year and the final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2012.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

McNally, 17, stuns top seed to reach $100K Midland final

   The future of U.S. women's tennis is looking better all the time.
   One day after recording her first victory over a top-100 player, 17-year-old Caty McNally beat an even higher-ranked opponent to reach the final in Midland, Mich.
   McNally, a wild card ranked No. 411, shocked top-seeded Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3, 6-3 today in the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic.
   Peterson, ranked No. 57, reached the third round of last year's U.S. Open and the second round of last month's Australian Open.
   McNally, who has not lost a set in this week's tournament, was coming off a 6-3, 6-4 victory over third seed and defending champion Madison Brengle, ranked No. 80. Brengle won the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October.
   In addition to McNally, top U.S. prospects include 14-year-old Cori (Coco) Gauff, 16-year-old Whitney Osuigwe, 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, 18-year-old Claire Liu and 20-year-old Sofia Kenin.
   Gauff reached the second round of singles, losing to Peterson, and the final in doubles in Midland.
   McNally, who lost to Gauff in a third-set tiebreaker in last year's French Open girls final, will play fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula of Boca Raton, Fla. in Sunday's final.
  Pegula, the 24-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terrence and Kim Pegula, beat qualifier Robin Anderson, a 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) American, 6-4, 6-2.
   Pegula, ranked No. 104, will crack the top 100 for the first time on Monday. She reached the final in Quebec City on the WTA tour, the major leagues of women's tennis, as a qualifier last September and the semifinals in Stockton the following month.
   Pegula also advanced to the final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2012, losing to Modesto (Calif.) product Maria Sanchez.
   Anderson won the $25,000 Redding (Calif.) Challenger in 2017.
  This will be the second meeting between Pegula and McNally but first on a hard court. Pegula won 6-1, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of a $15,000 clay-court tournament in Tampa, Fla., last March.
   In today's doubles final, veterans Olga Govortsova of Belarus and Valeria Savinykh of Russia outclassed Gauff and 18-year-old compatriot Ann Li 6-4, 6-0.
   Govortsova advanced to the singles quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2007 and 2013. The tournament ended in 2017 after 21 years at Stanford and was replaced by the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in nearby San Jose.
   Li advanced to the singles quarters in Stockton last year.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Ahn loses battle against top seed in $100K Midland

Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, saved three match points be-
fore falling to top-seeded Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today
in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.
2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Kristie Ahn fought hard but came up short against the top seed in a $100,000 tournament in Midland, Mich.
   The 26-year-old Stanford graduate and New Jersey resident saved three match points before falling to Rebecca Peterson, a 23-year-old Swede, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in 2 hours, 31 minutes today in the quarterfinals of the Dow Tennis Classic.
   Peterson, ranked No. 57, broke serve to lead 3-2 in the third set and held for 4-2. Ahn, ranked No. 220, escaped a break point to hold for 3-4. After Peterson held for 5-3, Ahn survived two match points and pulled within 4-5.
   Peterson, who reached the third round of last year's U.S. Open and the second round of last month's Australian Open, trailed 0-30 in the next game but won three consecutive points to earn her third match point. Ahn again stayed alive and then earned a break point, but Peterson won the following three points to improve to 3-0 lifetime against Ahn.
   It was Peterson's second victory over Ahn in two weeks. Peterson triumphed 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the $162,480 Newport Beach Challenger.
   Peterson will face Caty McNally, a 17-year-old wild card from Cincinnati, on Saturday. McNally ousted third seed and defending champion Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., 6-3, 6-4. Brengle won the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October.
   In Saturday's other semifinal, fourth-seeded Jessica Pegula will meet qualifier and fellow American Robin Anderson.
   Pegula, the 24-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terrence and Kim Pegula, topped American Christina McHale, a former top-25 player, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
   Pegula advanced to the final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2012, losing to Modesto (Calif.) product Maria Sanchez, and the semifinals of last year's Stockton Challenger.
   The 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) Anderson, who won the $25,000 Redding (Calif.) Challenger in 2017, beat sixth-seeded Yanina Wickmayer, a 29-year-old Belgian who reached the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open, 6-3, 6-4.
   In Saturday's doubles final, U.S. wild cards Cori (Coco) Gauff, 14, and Ann Li, 18, will meet unseeded Olga Govortsova, 30, of Belarus and Valeria Savinykh, 27, of Russia.
   Li reached the singles quarterfinals of last year's Stockton Challenger, and Govortsova advanced to the singles quarters of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2007 and 2013.
   The Bank of the West Classic ended in 2017 after 21 years at Stanford and was replaced by the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in nearby San Jose.
Please help defray travel expenses
$
Thanks for your donation!