Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Knowles opens year (very) close to home this time

   Traveling on the ATP World Tour for the past 20 years, Mark Knowles probably has earned enough frequent flier miles to earn a free ticket to Neptune.
   So rather than begin his season in Australia, as he had every year since 1993, the longtime Sacramento Capital decided to stay a little closer to home this year.
   Like practically around the corner.
   Knowles, a 40-year-old doubles specialist and father of three, teamed with Fresno native Robert Kendrick to beat Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, and Chris Wettengel of Las Vegas 7-5, 6-3 Monday in the first round of the $100,000 yp Challenger of Dallas. Knowles has homes in Dallas and his native Bahamas.
   The unseeded Kendrick, who returned two weeks ago from an eight-month doping suspension, and Knowles, a former world No. 1 in doubles who has plunged to No. 65, could face top-seeded Carsten Ball of Australia and Adil Shamasdin of Canada in the quarterfinals.
   Knowles plans to make his ATP season debut next week in the SAP Open at HP Pavilion in San Jose. He won the doubles title there in 2001 with former Capitals teammate Brian MacPhie.
   New rankings -- 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 -- No. 115 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
    Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 768 in singles (no change), No. 1,247 in doubles (no change).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 65 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
    Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 26 in doubles (-2), unranked in singles.
    David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 162 in doubles (-15), No. 761 in singles (no change).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 311 in singles (+10), unranked in doubles.
    Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 85 in singles (+4), No. 38 in doubles (+1).
    Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 49 in singles (no change), No. 212 in doubles (no change).
    Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 646 in doubles (+7), No. 1,502 in singles (no change).
    Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 229 in singles (+35), No. 576 in doubles (+5).
Women
    Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 59 in singles (no change).
    Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 39 in doubles (no change), No. 727 in singles (no change).
    Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 270 in doubles (no change), No. 699 in singles (-3).
    Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 192 in doubles (no change), No. 393 in singles (no change).

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