Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Defending champ possible for Gold River Challenger

   Defending champion Maria Sanchez could receive a wild card for the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger.
   The way was cleared for the 23-year-old Modesto native to return when she was eliminated from Wimbledon singles and doubles qualifying today. With a singles world ranking of No. 114, she could be seeded first in the July 1-6 tournament at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   An announcement might come Thursday, according to tournament spokesman Clint Swett.
   Sanchez's return tentatively would give the Gold River Challenger both finalists from last year's inaugural tournament. Sanchez defeated Jessica Pegula, then 18, of Boca Raton, Fla., 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
   Meanwhile, Russia's Alisa Kleybanova, a former top-20 player who has won two WTA titles, probably will play in the June 28-29 qualifying event for the Gold River Challenger, Swett announced. The 23-year-old Kleybanova has been fighting Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, for the past two years.
   Sanchez, playing Wimbledon qualifying for the first time this year, lost to Israeli veteran Shahar Peer 6-3, 6-2 in the second round in London.
   Sanchez, a former All-American at USC who's mentored by International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, also fell in the first round of doubles qualifying. She and Olga Puchkova of Russia succumbed to fifth-seeded Raluca Olaru of Romania and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
   Puchkova played two matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2008 and reached the singles final of the $25,000 Oak River Rehab Challenger in Redding in 2011.
   Peer climbed to a career-high No. 11 in the world in 2011 but, hampered by injuries, has plunged to No. 168. She reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and U.S. Open in 2007 and the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2008.
   In doubles, Peer advanced to the final of the 2008 Australian Open with Victoria Azarenka and won the title at Stanford with Anna-Lena Groenefeld in 2006 and Sania Mirza in 2007.
July 1-6 at Gold River Racquet Club
Updated acceptance list (subject to change)
(Rankings as of June 10)
1 Jessica PEGULA (USA)123

2 Michelle LARCHER DE BRITO (POR)130

3 Casey DELLACQUA (AUS)139

4 Olivia ROGOWSKA (AUS)146

5 Chanel SIMMONDS (RSA)166

6 Julie COIN (FRA)176

7 Madison BRENGLE (USA)219

8 Petra RAMPRE (SLO)225

9 Ivana LISJAK (CRO)236

10 Heidi EL TABAKH (CAN)280

11 Jarmila GAJDOSOVA (AUS)281

12 Storm SANDERS (AUS)282

13 Victoria DUVAL (USA)303

14 Allie KIICK (USA)306

15 Sanaz MARAND (USA)324

16 Jelena PANDZIC (CRO)329

17 So-Ra LEE (KOR)336

18 Allie WILL (USA)337

19 Naomi BROADY (GBR)345


21 Asia MUHAMMED (USA)356

22 Peangtarn PLIPUECH (THA)364

23 Mayo HIBI (JPN)375

24 Ashley WEINHOLD (USA)394

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