Monday, January 9, 2012

Raonic tunes up for San Jose defense with title

   Milos Raonic could be very tough to beat in next month's SAP Open.
   The 21-year-old Canadian tuned up for the Australian Open, which begins next Monday, and his title defense in San Jose with a thrilling 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) victory Sunday over top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia in the $398,250 Aircel Chennai (India) Open.
   Raonic, 6-foot-5, pounded 35 aces in the match and 76 in the hard-court tournament for his second career ATP World Tour title. He won all 48 of his service games in four matches, saving 14 break points.
    "My serve is a big factor in my game ... in 99 percent of my matches," Raonic, seeded fourth, said on atpworldtour.com after the three-hour, 14-minute final. "My job is to take care of my serve."
  Raonic became the first player to win an ATP title without dropping his serve since Roger Federer (49 games) at the 2008 Gerry Weber Open on grass in Halle, Germany.     
  "Guys like Milos are special players," Tipsarevic observed on atpworldtour.com. "It was a great game of tennis. Nobody knew till the end who would win. Unluckily for me, it was I who lost. It was just a matter of a few points here and there. Hopefully, next time I will get the better of him."
   Raonic, last year's ATP Newcomer of the Year, climbed six places in the world rankings to a career-high-tying No. 25. Tipsarevic, only 5-foot-11, remained No. 9.
   In Auckland, New Zealand, two former Sacramento Challenger champions played separate matches in the first round of the $398,250 Heineken Open.
   Colombia's Santiago Giraldo (2009) beat wild card Michael Venus, an Auckland native who won the 2010 Loomis Futures near Sacramento, 6-4, 6-3. Seventh-seeded Donald Young (2008), an Atlanta resident who finally began to fulfill his vast potential last year, lost to Alejandro Falla of Colombia 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
   Germany's Tobias Kamke, the No. 7 qualifying seed and 2010 Tiburon champion, advanced to the main draw with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Flavio Cipolla of Italy.
   WTA -- Thirteenth-seeded Vania King, a member of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis, withdrew from her final-round qualifying match against Urszula Radwanska of Poland at the $637,000 Apia International Sydney in Australia with a thigh strain.
   King, ranked sixth in the world in doubles, is not entered in that event.
   New rankings -- Folsom resident Dmitry Tursunov soared 54 places in doubles to No. 183 after reaching the semifinals with Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in the $1.024 million Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. Tursunov had ascended to a career-high No. 36 in doubles in 2008 before injuries derailed his career.
   David Martin, a former Stanford All-American, plunged 28 spots in doubles to No. 133 after advancing to last year's final in Chennai with Robin Haase of the Netherlands and not playing last week.
   King improved 10 notches in singles to No. 65 after gaining the second round of the $655,000 Brisbane (Australia) International as a qualifier.
   Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 115 in doubles (+2), unranked in singles.
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 766 in singles (-1), No. 1,243 in doubles (+3).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 57 in doubles (+1), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 28 in doubles (+1), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 133 in doubles (-28), No. 758 in singles (-1).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 286 in singles (no change), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 94 in singles (-1), No. 37 in doubles (+1).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 41 in singles (-1), No. 183 in doubles (+54).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 502 in doubles (-2), No. 1,512 in singles (-1).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 275 in singles (-1), No. 524 in doubles (-2).
 Women
  Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 65 in singles (+10).
  Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 36 in doubles (+1), No. 723 in singles (+1).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 268 in doubles (no change), No. 696 in singles (+1).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 180 in doubles (+2), No. 413 in singles (+2).

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