Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cardinal star Gibbs to face Serena at Stanford

   After disposing of one Wimbledon champion Tuesday, Nicole Gibbs will face another today.
   This one promises to be a bit tougher.
   Gibbs, a wild card who finished her sophomore year at Stanford in May, defeated Thai qualifier Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, the 2009 Wimbledon girls singles champion, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Next for Gibbs is top seed and defending champion Serena Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon women's singles title Saturday. They will meet at 3 p.m. or later.
   "I'm in awe of Serena Williams," Gibbs, 19, told reporters. "She was one of my idols when I was growing up. I'll be honored to be on the court with her. I'm going to try to get her serves back. We'll see what I can do."
   It will be a blockbuster day at Stanford, as seven-time Wimbledon singles champion Pete Sampras is scheduled to play an exhibition match against Michael Chang at 7 p.m. Both are 40-year-old International Tennis Hall of Famers.
   When Gibbs was 12 and growing up in Cleveland, she was a ballgirl for an exhibition match in which Williams played.
   "I think I spoke to her briefly in the locker room," Gibbs said. "I got to hit with Venus Williams, who was there, for five minutes. It was the best memory of my life."
   Did the chance to play Serena, 30, give Gibbs extra incentive against Lertcheewakarn? You might say that.
   "I couldn't have been more nervous today if I tried," Gibbs said after her WTA main-draw debut. "It was an added level of excitement, definitely, which may have translated into nerves. But it was incentive to stay in the points and fight harder, so it actually served me well.
   "I'm going to be nervous (today) -- there's no question about that -- but I couldn't have any less pressure on me. It's just going to be an experience I'll have to enjoy. Hopefully, I present myself as competitive in that match."
   The muscular, 5-foot-9 Williams, whose serve is considered the best in women's tennis history, likely will overpower the petite, 5-6 Gibbs. But Gibbs does have some advantages. She will be playing on her home court and already has played one match in the tournament.
   Williams, meanwhile, will play her first match since beating Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in the Wimbledon final. Williams, who received a first-round bye, must quickly adjust from grass to hardcourt and cool, rainy weather to heat and sun. A high of 88 degrees is forecast for today.
   And will Williams be mentally ready to play another match only four days after hoisting the Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon?
   One year ago, Williams won the Bank of the West in her third tournament back from an 11-month layoff. Shortly after winning Wimbledon two years ago, she stepped on a piece of glass at a restaurant and subsequently had two operations on her foot. She also was treated for life-threatening blood clots in her lungs.
   "I wanted to come here more than anything," Williams said. "This is where it all began last year. Getting on that plane from London and coming here and playing is the best thing I could have done. I just want to enjoy the moment right now. You never know when you're going to feel this great and this healthy, so you've got to enjoy it."
   Gibbs has been enjoying herself, too. In May, she became the third player in history and first since 1995 to sweep the NCAA singles and doubles titles. Gibbs returned to the court last week and won the $50,000 Colorado International in Denver as a qualifier for her first Challenger title. She has won 26 straight singles matches since losing to UCLA's Robin Anderson in a dual match on April 14. 
   "I still haven't processed it," said Gibbs, who plans to play at Stanford for at least one more year. "I've been playing solid tennis and competing better than I have in my life. I'm taking the opportunities as they come. The biggest improvement for me is mental. I've gotten more mature on the court. My reactions to bad points and to an opponent who is outplaying me have been more tempered."
   Gibbs was not the only wild card from Stanford who won her WTA main-draw debut to earn a meeting with a high seed and Bank of the West champion. Mallory Burdette, who ended her junior year in May by winning her second straight NCAA doubles crown, outlasted 75th-ranked Anne Keothavong of Great Britain 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.
   Burdette will face second-seeded Marion Bartoli of France on Thursday. Bartoli won the Bank of the West in 2009 and reached the final in 2008 and last year. Five years ago, she was the runner-up at Wimbledon to Venus Williams.
   Qualifier Jana Juricova, a former Cal star who won last year's NCAA women's singles title at Stanford, lost to eighth-seeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand 6-2, 6-2 in the first round. Erakovic stunned top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the second round of last year's Bank of the West Classic before falling to Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals.
   Radwanska's younger sister, Urszula, pulled out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Eleni Daniilidou of Greece.
   In Tuesday night's late match, former Sacramento Capital Vania King lost to ninth-seeded Sorana Cirstea of Romania 7-5, 6-4.
   See below for Tuesday's full results and today's schedule.
   Capitals bounce back -- It didn't look good for the Capitals entering Tuesday night's World TeamTennis match. They were playing on the road for the second straight night, and they were without injured Ryan Sweeting.
   But Sacramento got a lift from last-minute replacement Alex Kuznetsov and regular Asia Muhammed to  beat the Philadelphia Freedoms 22-16 in overtime. Sweeting suffered back spasms in his WTT debut Monday night as the Capitals lost to the Boston Lobsters 20-14.
   Kuznestov, a 25-year-old American who reached the semifinals of the Sacramento Challenger last October, won 5-1 in men's doubles with Mark Knowles and lost to James Blake 5-4 in men's singles.
   Blake's victory sent the match to overtime, in which Kuznetsov won the first game to give Sacramento the victory and even its record at 1-1.     
   Ironically, Kuznetsov lost to Blake in the Sacramento Challenger and to Sweeting in the second round of the Winnetka (Ill.) Challenger last week.
   Muhammed, who lost both of her sets Monday in her Capitals debut, won both against Philadelphia. The 21-year-old Las Vegan teamed with Yasmin Schnack, a Sacramento-area resident, to beat 20-year-old identical twins Karolina and Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 5-4 in the first set. Muhammed later routed Karolina Pliskova 5-1 to give Sacramento a 17-11 lead.
   Kuznetsov took over from there.
   After a day off today, the Capitals will play home matches Thursday and Friday night as marquee player Mardy Fish makes his only two appearances for the team.
   Sweeting is scheduled to play his last match for Sacramento on Saturday night at Orange County. Sam Querrey then will join the Capitals for five matches.
   See below for Tuesday's full results.
   West Coast Junior Championships in Sacramento -- Unseeded Logan Staggs of Tracy defeated second-seeded Garrett Auproux of Studio City 7-6 (6), 6-1 to win the boys 18 singles title in the West Coast Junior Championships at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club.
   Staggs beat the No. 1, 2, 8 and 9 seeds en route to the title.
   Fourth-seeded Manon Peri of Los Angeles won the girls 18 singles title, downing unseeded Iris Lin of South San Francisco 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC
At Stanford
First-round singles
(8) Marina Erakovic (NZL) d. (Q) Jana Juricova (SVK) 62 62.
(9) Sorana Cirstea (ROU) d. Vania King (USA) 75 64.
Urszula Radwanska (POL) d. Eleni Daniilidou (GRE) 36 63 64.
(Q) Erika Sema (JPN) d. (LL) Alexa Glatch (USA) 62 63.
(LL) Zheng Saisai (CHN) d. Ayumi Morita (JPN) 42 ret. (low back injury).
(WC) Nicole Gibbs (USA) d. (Q) Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (THA) 64 64.
(WC) Mallory Burdette (USA) d. Anne Keothavong (GBR) 26 75 64.
First-round doubles
(2) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) d. Chang/Scheepers (TPE/RSA) 63 75.
Cibulkova/Husarova (SVK/SVK) d. Dekmeijere/Lertcheewakarn (LAT/THA) 63 63.
Erakovic/Watson (NZL/GBR) d. Karatantcheva/Sema (KAZ/JPN) 63 36 10-5.
Wednesday's schedule
Stadium (from 11 a.m.)
1. Michelle Larcher de Brito vs. Chanelle Scheepers (6).
2. Yanina Wickmayer (5) vs. Heather Watson.
3. Serena Williams (1) vs. Nicole Gibbs (not before 3 p.m.).
4. Erakovic/Watson vs. Kops-Jones/Spears (2).
5. Exhibition: Pete Sampras vs. Michael Chang (7 p.m.).
6. CoCo Vandeweghe vs. Jelena Jankovic (4) (not before 8 p.m.).
Court 6 (from 1:30 p.m.)
1. Chan/Chan (4) vs. Cibulkova/Husarova.
2. Gajdosova/King (1) vs. Cirstea/Keothavong (not before 2:30 p.m.).
3. Burdette/Gibbs vs. Grandin/Uhlirova (3) (not before 5 p.m.; after suitable rest).
WORLD TEAMTENNIS
Capitals 22, Philadelphia 16 (OT)
In Philadelphia
   Women's doubles -- Asia Muhammad-Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) def. Karolina Pliskova-Kristyna Pliskova (Freedoms) 5-4.
   Men's doubles -- Mark Knowles-Alex Kuznetsov (Capitals) def. James Blake-Jordan Kerr (Freedoms) 5-1.
   Mixed doubles -- James Blake-Kristyna Pliskova (Freedoms) def. Mark Knowles-Yasmin Schnack (Capitals) 5-2.
   Women's singles -- Asia Muhammad (Capitals) def. Karolina Pliskova (Freedoms) 5-1.
   Men's singles -- James Blake (Freedoms) def. Alex Kuznetsov (Capitals) 5-4.
   Overtime -- Alex Kuznetsov (Capitals) def. James Blake (Freedoms) 1-0. 
CALENDAR 
   Wednesday -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, second round, 11 a.m. and not before 8 p.m. Exhibition match, Pete Sampras vs. Michael Chang, 7 p.m. www.bankofthewestclassic.com. 
   Thursday -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, second round, 11 a.m. and not before 8 p.m. Exhibition match, Sampras vs. Jim Courier, 7 p.m. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
    2012 Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame Brunch and Induction Ceremony (Nick Saviano, Andrea Norman, Steve Cornell and Martha Downing), Stanford, Pac 12 Plaza/Cardinal Plaza, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., tickets $75 each at http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=230538. 
   World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., www.saccaps.com.
   Friday -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, quarterfinals, noon and 7 p.m. Exhibition match, Chang vs. Courier, not before 8 p.m. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   Capitals (with Fish) vs. Orange County, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   Saturday -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, semifinals, 1 and 7 p.m. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   Sunday -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford, singles final at 1 p.m., doubles final to follow. www.bankofthewestclassic.com.
   Monday -- Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 18 -- Capitals at Washington, 4:10 p.m.
   July 19 -- Capitals at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   July 20 -- Capitals at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   July 22 -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 25 -- Capitals (with Vandeweghe) at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon, www.london2012.com.

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