Saturday, July 7, 2012

Serena to play Wednesday afternoon at Stanford

   Serena Williams won't have much time to celebrate her Wimbledon singles and women's doubles titles.
   Williams will defend her title in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford next week as the top seed. She has a first-round bye and will play during Wednesday's day session at 3 p.m. or later against the winner of the match between Stanford's Nicole Gibbs, the reigning NCAA singles and doubles champion, and qualifier Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand.
   Seeded behind Williams are, in order, Marion Bartoli of France, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa, Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Sorana Cirstea of Romania. Bartoli won the Bank of the West title in 2009 and was the runner-up in 2008 and last year.
   The tournament has been hit hard by withdrawals. They include 2012 Wimbledon semifinalist Angelique Kerber (lower back), 2012 Wimbledon quarterfinalists Sabine Lisicki (abdomen) and Tamira Paszek (left thigh), American No. 2 Christina McHale (illness), two-time Grand Slam singles champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (knee) and former world No. 3 Nadia Petrova (right wrist).
   Here's a link to the singles draw for the Bank of the West, Monday through July 15:
   Williams, 30, completed her comeback from two foot operations and life-threatening blood clots in her lungs with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 victory Saturday over Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for her fifth Wimbledon singles title. It was also Williams' 14th Grand Slam singles crown, sixth all-time, but first since Wimbledon two years ago.
   Williams pounded 17 aces in the final, including four in one game early in the third set, to give her a Wimbledon-record 102 overall. That broke her own mark of 89 in 2010 and surpassed any man this year.
   All this came after Williams lost in the first round of the French Open in late May, the earliest exit of her career in a Grand Slam tournament. 
   Williams said the low point during her 11-month layoff, which ended in June 2011, came in earlier that year. Depressed, she stayed on the couch at home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for two days.
   "I was praying, like, I can't take this anymore. I've endured enough. Let me be able to get through this," Williams told reporters. "Coming here and winning today is amazing. It's been an unbelievable journey for me."
   Williams and her older sister, Venus, later teamed for their fifth Wimbledon women's doubles crown as they defeated Czechs Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka 7-5, 6-4. It was the Williamses' first doubles tournament together in two years. Venus is struggling with an autoimmune disease that saps her energy.
   More Wimbledon -- Bob and Mike Bryan had a golden opportunity to win their 12th Grand Slam men's doubles title, breaking the Open Era (since 1968) record they share with Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde, and third at Wimbledon.
   Alas, it was not to be.
   The second seeds and defending champions from Stanford lost to wild cards Jonathan Marray of Great Britain and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 6-4, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (4), 7-6 (5) in Friday's semifinals.
   Marray and Nielsen on Saturday became the first wild cards in Wimbledon history to win the doubles title, beating fifth-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-3. Lindstedt and Tecau suffered their third consecutive loss in the Wimbledon final.
   Top-seeded Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor, who had beaten the Bryans 6-4, 6-4 in the French Open final and 6-3, 6-4 in the Queen's Club title match in the past month, lost in the second round at Wimbledon. 
   Marray became the first British man to win the Wimbledon doubles crown since 1936. Nielsen, a singles quarterfinalist in the 2010 Sacramento Challenger, became the first Danish man to win a Grand Slam singles or doubles title. His grandfather, Kurt, was the Wimbledon singles runner-up in 1953 and 1955.
   Meanwhile, there will be no showdown between the 34-year-old Bryan twins in the mixed doubles final. Second-seeded Mike Bryan and fellow American Lisa Raymond will meet fourth-seeded Leander Paes of India and Elena Vesnina of Russia on Sunday for the title. Paes and Vesnina outlasted top-seeded Americans Bob Bryan and Liezel Huber 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals.
   Wayne Bryan, the twins' father and coach of the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis, did not allow his sons to play each other in the juniors. One would default to the other if they were scheduled to meet in singles. Wayne reasoned that there were plenty of other players for Bob and Mike to beat without facing each other.
   Azarenka to regain top ranking -- Victoria Azarenka will return to No. 1 in the world rankings on Monday, the WTA announced.
   The 22-year-old Belarusian, who lost to Serena Williams in the Wimbledon semifinals, held the top spot for 19 consecutive weeks after winning the Australian Open in January for her first Grand Slam singles title. Maria Sharapova replaced her after capturing the French Open.
   Azarenka is well-known to Bank of the West fans, having won the 2010 singles title and 2011 doubles crown (with Maria Kirilenko). She chose not return this year, perhaps anticipating a long run at Wimbledon and not wanting to play the following week.
   The Bank of the West was moved up from its customary slot in the last week of July because the Olympic tennis tournament is scheduled for July 28 to Aug. 5 in London.
   Women's Challenger in Denver -- Gibbs, a qualifier from the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, edged Rika Fujiwara of Japan 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) to reach the final of the $50,000 Colorado International.
    Gibbs will meet unseeded veteran Julie Coin of France today for the title. Coin outclassed unseeded Gabriela Paz of Venezuela 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-0.
   Wild cards Gibbs and Lauren Embree, who has helped Florida win the last two NCAA team titles, fell to unseeded Marie-Eve Pelletier of Canada and Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 tiebreak in the doubles final. 
(All times PDT)
   Sunday -- Men's final, ESPN, 6 a.m.-noon (live), ABC, noon-3 p.m. (repeat). Wimbledon Primetime, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m. (premiere), 8 p.m.-midnight (repeat), midnight-4 a.m. (repeat).
   Sunday -- Wimbledon men's and mixed doubles finals,
   Through Tuesday -- West Coast Junior Championships, Rio del Oro Racquet Club, 119 Scripps Dr., Sacramento,
   Through July 15 -- WTA, Bank of the West Classic, Stanford University. Qualifying continues Sunday, and the main draw begins Monday.
   Monday -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals' season opener at Boston, 4 p.m.,
   Tuesday -- Capitals at Philadelphia, 4 p.m.
   Thursday -- World TeamTennis, Capitals' home opener (with Mardy Fish) vs. Kansas City, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   Thursday -- 2012 Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame Brunch and Induction Ceremony (Nick Saviano, Andrea Norman, Steve Cornell and Martha Downing), Stanford University, Pac 12 Plaza/Cardinal Plaza, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., tickets $75 each at
   Friday -- Capitals (with Fish) vs. Orange County, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 14 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 16 -- Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   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), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 25 -- Capitals at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m.,
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon,

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