Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ex-champions highlight SAP Open entry list

   Four former SAP Open singles champions are on the entry list announced Friday for next month's tournament in San Jose.
   Set to play in the Feb. 13-19 tournament at HP Pavilion are Andy Roddick (2004, 2005 and 2008) of Austin, Texas, Radek Stepanek (2009) of the Czech Republic, Milos Raonic (2011) of Canada and Lleyton Hewitt (2002) of Australia.
   Roddick, who turns 30 in August, and Hewitt, who turns 31 on Feb. 24, formerly were ranked No. 1 in the world. Raonic, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Dec. 27, was named the 2011 Newcomer of the Year on the ATP World Tour.
   Roddick skipped the tournament last year for the first time since 2003 so he could accompany his wife, model-actress Brooklyn Decker, to appearances for Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue and her feature film debut in "Just Go With It."
   Entrants in this year's SAP Open also include:
   --Six-foot-eight Kevin Anderson, the 2007 Sacramento Futures champion.
   --James Blake, the 2011 Sacramento Challenger runner-up and 2004 SAP Open doubles winner (with Mardy Fish).
   --Donald Young, the 2008 Sacramento Challenger champion who made his ATP World Tour debut in San Jose at 15 years old in 2005.
   --Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native and the 2010 SAP Open doubles titlist with Fish.
   --Tommy Haas, the 2009 SAP Open doubles winner with Stepanek.
   Conspicuously absent from the entry list is Spain's Fernando Verdasco, the 2010 champion and 2011 runner-up in singles in San Jose.
   On Raonic's third match point in last year's final, the 6-5 right-hander pounded a 138-mph serve to Verdasco's forehand. Suddenly, a fan shouted "Yes," and the distracted Verdasco netted the return. The chair umpire refused to replay the point, and Raonic walked off with a 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) victory for his first ATP World Tour title.
   John McEnroe and Raonic will face Gael Monfils of France and Blake on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. in a doubles exhibition. McEnroe, who will turn 53 on Feb. 16, won five SAP Open and seven Grand Slam singles titles during his International Tennis Hall of Fame career.
   The 32-year-old Blake, formerly ranked No. 4 in the world, is scheduled to play his first singles match on Feb. 14 at 7 p.m., followed by Querrey's opener. Roddick and Raonic highlight the Feb. 15 schedule with consecutive night matches.
   Tickets are available at HP Pavilion, ticketmaster.com, (800) 745-3000 or http://www.sapopentennis.com/.
   Following are the 24 entrants for the SAP Open with world rankings in parentheses:
   Andy Roddick (14), Austin, Texas
   Gael Monfils (16), France
   Radek Stepanek (28), Czech Republic
   Milos Raonic (31), Canada
   Kevin Anderson (32), South Africa
   Donald Young (39), Atlanta
   Bernard Tomic (42), Australia
   Xavier Malisse (49), Belgium
   Julien Benneteau (52), France
   Gilles Muller (54), Luxembourg
   James Blake (59), Tampa, Fla.
   Olivier Rochus (67), Belgium
   Ryan Sweeting (72), Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
   Denis Istomin (73), Uzbekistan
   Alejandro Falla (74), Colombia
   Grigor Dimitrov (76), Bulgaria
   Ryan Harrison (79), Bradenton, Fla.
   Dudi Sela (83), Israel
   Matthew Ebden (86), Australia
   Steve Darcis (88), Belgium
   Sam Querrey (wild card), United States
   Lleyton Hewitt (wild card), Australia
   Jack Sock (wild card), Overland Park, Kan.
   Tommy Haas (injury protected ranking), Germany
   ATP World Tour -- Raonic, seeded fourth, and Japanese qualifier Go Soeda, who won the 2009 Tiburon Challenger, reached the semifinals of the $398,250 Aircel Chennai (India) Open. Raonic will face second-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain, and Soeda will meet top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia.
   Top-seeded Andy Murray, the SAP Open champion in 2006 and 2007, will play third-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine in the final of the $434,250 Brisbane (Australia) International.
   WTA -- Fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters, a four-time Bank of the West Classic titlist at Stanford, retired from her semifinal match against unseeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia with a left hip injury while leading 7-6 (4), 1-3 in the $655,000 Brisbane International. Clijsters hopes to play in the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 16. Hantuchova will face unseeded Kaia Kanepi of Estonia for the Brisbane title.
   Thirteenth-seeded Vania King of the Sacramento Capitals moved into the final round of qualifying for the $637,000 Apia International Sydney.

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