Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pegula withdraws from Gold River Challenger

Maria Sanchez, left, defeated Jessica Pegula, right, in the final
of last year's inaugural FSP Gold River Women's Challenger.
2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   One day after last year's champion accepted a wild card in the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger, 2012 runner-up Jessica Pegula withdrew.
   Jessica Pegula, a 19-year-old resident of Boca Raton, Fla., today dropped off the acceptance list for the July 1-6 tournament. But Maria Sanchez, a 23-year-old Modesto native, plans to defend her title at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   Sanchez, a former USC All-American who's mentored by International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert, defeated Pegula 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the final of last year's inaugural tournament. Pegula's billionaire father, Terry, owns the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.
   Five players ranked in the top 200 in the world tentatively are entered in the Gold River Challenger. Sanchez tops the list at No. 114. She is followed by Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal at No. 131, Casey Dellacqua of Australia at No. 145, Chanel Simmonds of South Africa at No. 165 and Julie Coin of France at No. 176. 
    Larcher de Brito played one season for the Sacramento Capitals, helping them win the last of their record six World TeamTennis titles in 2007. At 14, she was the youngest player in league history until Madison Keys surpassed her by 19 days two years later as a 14-year-old with the Philadelphia Freedoms. Keys, who also lives in Boca Raton, is now ranked a career-high 53rd.
   Dellacqua, a 28-year-old left-hander, won the 2011 French Open mixed doubles title with former Stanford All-American Scott Lipsky and reached this year's Australian Open women's doubles final with Ashleigh Barty, then 16. It was the first time since 1977 that two Aussie women played in the Australian Open title match. 
   See below for the full updated Gold River Challenger acceptance list.
   U.S. Open National Playoffs -- Andrew Ball, Giuliana Olmos and the mixed doubles team of Eric Roberson and Yasmin Schnack won titles in Salinas in Northern California Sectional Qualifying for the U.S. Open National Playoffs.
   All advanced to the U.S. Open National Playoffs Championship in New Haven, Conn. Winners of the men's and women's singles events, Aug. 16-19, will receive wild cards in the U.S. Open qualifying tournament scheduled for Aug. 20-23. The champions of the mixed doubles event, Aug. 21-24, will earn a berth in the mixed doubles main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 26-Sept. 9.
   Ball, a Palo Alto resident who will be a freshman at Harvard in the fall, defeated Joshua Pompan of Salinas 6-3, 6-1 in the sectional final. Fremont's Olmos, who recently finished her sophomore year at USC, held off Lejla Hodzic of Santa Clara 6-1, 6-4 for the title.
   Roberson and Schnack, both from the Sacramento area, routed Conor Berg and Hadley Berg of Greenbrae 6-2, 6-1 in the final. Schnack played on UCLA's NCAA championship team in 2008 as a sophomore and retired from professional tennis last year. Roberson played at Boise State.
July 1-6 at Gold River Racquet Club
Updated acceptance list (subject to change)
(With world rankings as of June 10)
1 Michelle LARCHER DE BRITO (POR)130

2 Casey DELLACQUA (AUS)139

3 Chanel SIMMONDS (RSA)166

4 Julie COIN (FRA)176

5 Madison BRENGLE (USA)219

6 Petra RAMPRE (SLO)225

7 Ivana LISJAK (CRO)236

8 Heidi EL TABAKH (CAN)280

9 Jarmila GAJDOSOVA (AUS)281

10 Storm SANDERS (AUS)282

11 Victoria DUVAL (USA)303

12 Allie KIICK (USA)306

13 Sanaz MARAND (USA)324

14 Jelena PANDZIC (CRO)329

15 So-Ra LEE (KOR)336

16 Allie WILL (USA)337

17 Naomi BROADY (GBR)345


19 Asia MUHAMMED (USA)356

20 Mayo HIBI (JPN)375

21 Ashley WEINHOLD (USA)394

22 Jan ABAZA (USA)396

23 Sally PEERS (AUS)413

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