Thursday, November 22, 2012

How NorCal pros fared this year

   It was a balanced year for professional players with Northern California ties.
   Eight had a great year, eight a good year and eight a fair year. Nobody had a terrible 2012, even though some players' rankings plummeted because of limited activity. 
   Highlighting the year were Bob and Mike Bryan tying the record for most Grand Slam men's doubles titles and winning their first Olympic gold medal, and doubles specialist Mark Knowles retiring after an illustrious, 21-year career.
   Following are year-end world rankings (change from 2011 in parentheses), plus comments:
Great year
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 2 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles. Bob and twin Mike won U.S. Open for their 12th Grand Slam men's doubles title, tying all-time record of John Newcombe and Tony Roche, and earned their first Olympic gold medal in London. 
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles. See above for comment.
   Mallory Burdette, NCAA singles runner-up in 2012 and NCAA doubles champion in 2011 and 2012 from Stanford -- No. 145 in singles (unranked in 2011), No. 432 in doubles (unranked in 2011). Turned pro in September, forgoing senior year at Stanford, after winning Vancouver Challenger and reaching third round of U.S. Open as wild card. Lost to third seed and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova at Flushing Meadows.  
   Bradley Klahn, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- Career-high No. 250 in singles (+419), No. 565 in doubles (+3). Two months after turning pro, diminutive left-hander qualified for U.S. Open and beat former top-10 player Jurgen Melzer in first round before losing to 13th-seeded Richard Gasquet in second round. Reached quarterfinals of four Challengers.
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal; San Jose resident -- Career-high No. 13 in doubles (+24), No. 1,120 in singles (-404). Doubles specialist won four WTA titles (Carlsbad, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka) and reached Wimbledon quarterfinals, all with Abigail Spears.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native, Sacramento Capitals (2012) of World TeamTennis -- No. 22 in singles (+71), No. 45 in doubles (-7). Bounced back admirably from 2011 elbow surgery. Won singles title at Los Angeles, where he grew up, for third time. Unfortunately for him, tournament will move to Colombia beginning next year. Gained three ATP World Tour semifinals (Queen's, Washington and Winston-Salem) and the quarterfinals of Paris Masters (defeating Novak Djokovic). In doubles, won at Houston with James Blake and advanced to final at Indian Wells with John Isner and at Washington with Kevin Anderson. Finished second in men's singles playing part-time for WTT runner-up Capitals.
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 115 in doubles (+153), career-high No. 127 in singles (+560). In first full year as a pro, won two Challengers in singles (Sacramento and Albuquerque) and three in doubles (Rancho Santa Fe, Surprise and Charlottesville). Reached four other Challenger finals, two in singles and two in doubles. Made Grand Slam main-draw debut, reaching second round of U.S. Open doubles with Irina Falconi.
   Pedro Zerbini, All-Pacific-10 Conference first team at Cal (2009-11) -- Career-high No. 522 in singles (unranked in 2011), No. 647 in doubles (unranked in 2011). Brazilian reached three singles and two doubles finals on Futures circuit, winning one each, after graduating from University of California at Berkeley last December in economic development and launching pro career in March.
Good year
   Kevin Anderson, Capitals (2012) -- No. 37 in singles (-5), No. 91 in doubles (+19). Won Delray Beach for second career ATP singles title and reached five other quarterfinals. Doubles runner-up at San Jose (with Frank Moser) and Washington (with Querrey). Won both of his sets, men's singles and men's doubles, in Capitals' 20-19 loss to Washington in WTT Finals. 
   Nick Andrews, Cal All-American in 2012, resident of Folsom in the Sacramento area -- No. 1,065 in doubles (unranked in 2011), No. 1,500 in singles (unranked in 2011). Reached four doubles semifinals on Futures circuit after completing eligibility at Cal in May.
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-12) -- No. 22 in doubles (-16), No. 70 in singles (+6). In doubles, reached quarterfinals at Australian Open and French Open with Yaroslava Shvedova and three WTA finals (Stanford with Jarmila Gajdosova, Carlsbad with Nadia Petrova and Seoul with Akgul Amanmuradova). Singles semifinalist at Washington. Won 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open women's doubles crowns with Shvedova.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 25 in doubles (+4), unranked in singles. Doubles specialist reached quarterfinals of Australian Open and Wimbledon with Rajeev Ram and won Newport and Winston-Salem with Santiago Gonzalez.
   Yasmin Schnack, resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, Capitals (2011-12) -- No. 170 in doubles (+11), No. 552 in singles (-152). Struggled in singles but collected five Challenger doubles titles (Rancho Santa Fe, Surprise and Charlottesville with Sanchez, and Sacramento and Albuquerque with Capitals teammate Asia Muhammad). Made Grand Slam main-draw debut, losing in first round of Wimbledon doubles with close friend King.
   Romana Tedjakusuma, Tracy resident -- No. 465 in singles (+188), No. 1,116 in doubles (not available).  Five-foot-two veteran reached quarterfinals of Sacramento Challenger at 35 years old.
    Ryan Thacher, 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- Career-high No. 669 in doubles (+81), Career-high 1,051 in singles (unranked in 2011). Won three doubles titles, including two straight this month, on Futures circuit after completing eligibility at Stanford in June. Three-time Pacific-12 Conference All-Academic first-team selection  plans to become a surgeon after tennis career.
   CoCo Vandeweghe, Capitals (2009, 2012) -- No. 98 in singles (+29), No. 501 in doubles (not available). Became first lucky loser to reach a WTA final in seven years, falling to Serena Williams at Stanford. Also advanced to final of Nottingham Challenger as qualifier and quarterfinals at Washington, D.C.
Fair year
   Mardy Fish, Capitals (2012) -- No. 27 in singles (-19), No. 725 in doubles (-605). Missed 2 1/2 months early in year because of heart palpitations but recovered to reach round of 16 at Wimbledon and U.S. Open. Hasn't played since Flushing Meadows. Will turn 31 on Dec. 9.
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- No. 130 in doubles (-13), unranked in singles.  Doubles specialist won two Challengers in Asia and advanced to a Challenger final in Australia early in year, all with Raven Klaasen, but hasn't played since early August.
   Artem Ilyushin, resident of Granite Bay in the Sacramento area -- No. 1,098 in singles (-390), No. 1,500 in doubles (-477). Gained two singles quarterfinals and one doubles semifinal on Futures circuit in limited action after completing eligibility at Mississippi State in May.
   Mark Knowles, Capitals (2001-07, 2009-12), three-time World TeamTennis Male MVP (2001, 2005 and 2007)  -- Retired just before 41st birthday (Sept. 4) with 55 men's doubles titles, fourth among active players and tied for 15th in Open Era. Won three Grand Slam crowns in men's doubles (2002 Australian Open, 2004 U.S. Open and 2007 French Open, all with Daniel Nestor) and one in mixed doubles (2009 Wimbledon with Anna-Lena Groenefeld). Climbed to No. 1 in world in men's doubles in 2002 and 2004.  Won San Jose doubles trophy in February with Xavier Malisse, becoming first player 40 years or older to capture ATP title since John McEnroe took San Jose doubles crown in 2006 with Jonas Bjorkman.
   Alex Kuznetsov, Capitals (2012) -- No. 222 in singles (-53), No. 222 in doubles (+151). Qualified for Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in first round. In November Challengers, reached singles final at Charlottesville and won doubles title at Knoxville with Mischa Zverev. 
   Asia Muhammad, Capitals (2012) -- No. 162 in doubles (not available), No. 469 in singles (-84). Struggled in singles but won Sacramento and Albuquerque Challengers doubles titles with Schnack.
   Ryan Sweeting, Capitals (2012) -- No. 142 in singles (-70), No. 1,090 in doubles (-243). Advanced to second round of Wimbledon and Queen's as qualifier and to Houston quarterfinals as defending champion. 
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 125 in singles (-85), No. 208 in doubles (+29). Right-hander with two-handed backhand struggled for most of year with lingering left wrist injury and motivation following death of father, Dmitry's first coach, in July 2011. Won back-to-back Challengers in Turkey in September and gained final of Nottingham Challenger. Doubles runner-up at s-Hertogenbosch on ATP World Tour with Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia.
CALENDAR
   Jan. 14-27, 2013 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN, www.australianopen.org. 2012 champions: Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Leander Paes-Radek Stepanek, Svetlana Kuznetsova-Vera Zvonareva.
   Jan. 15 -- Sacramento State men at Stanford in spring season opener for both teams, 1:30 p.m, www.hornetsports.com, www.gostanford.com.
   Jan. 18 -- Stanford women open spring season at Freeman Invitational in Las Vegas and at NCTC Classic in Indian Wells, Calif., times TBA, www.gostanford.com. UC Davis women open spring season vs. Northern Arizona in Tempe, Ariz., 1 p.m., www.ucdavisaggies.com.
   Jan. 19 -- UC Davis men at Santa Clara in spring season opener for both teams, 10 a.m., www.ucdavisaggies.com, www.santaclarabroncos.com.
   Feb. 1 -- Sacramento State women open spring season at Arizona, 12:30 p.m., www.hornetsports.com.
   Feb. 1-3, 2013 -- Davis Cup, first round, Brazil at United States, www.daviscup.com.
   Feb. 9-10, 2013 -- Fed Cup, first round, United States at Italy, www.fedcup.com.
   Feb. 11-17, 2013 -- SAP Open, HP Pavilion in San Jose, www.sapopentennis.com. 2012 champions: Milos Raonic, Mark Knowles-Xavier Malisse.
   March 4-17, 2013 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif., www.bnpparibasopen.com. 2012 champions: Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Marc Lopez-Rafael Nadal, Liezel Huber-Lisa Raymond.
   April 26-28 -- Big Sky Conference men's and women's tournament, Gold River Racquet Club, Gold River, Calif., www.bigskyconf.com.

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