Tuesday, September 3, 2013

NorCal stars to meet in U.S. Open boys singles

Wild card Collin Altamirano, practicing recently at Arden Hills in
Sacramento, upset 12th-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia
in the second round of boys singles at the U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   The third round of boys singles at the U.S. Open will feature a tantalizing matchup between Northern Californians.
   Unseeded Mackenzie McDonald, 18, of Piedmont and wild card Collin Altamirano, 17, of Yuba City will square off Thursday in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   In the second round today, Altamirano upset 12th-seeded Karen Khachanov of Russia 6-4, 6-4, and McDonald dismissed Maxime Janvier of France 6-2, 6-2.
   On the girls side, 14-year-old wild cards Michaela Gordon and Catherine (CiCi) Bellis of the San Francisco Bay Area also reached the third round.
   Gordon, from Los Altos Hills, knocked off fifth-seeded Darya Kasatkina, 16, of Russia 6-4, 6-3, and Bellis, from Atherton, dispatched Ioana Ducu, 17, of Romania 6-2, 6-2.
   Both McDonald and Altamirano achieved unprecedented feats this month.
Mackenzie McDonald downed Maxime Janvier of
France 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of boys singles
at the U.S. Open. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   McDonald, who's listed at 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 145 pounds (66 kilograms), became the first unranked teenager to qualify for an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, the highest level for men after the Grand Slams.
   The incoming UCLA freshman stunned France's Nicolas Mahut, ranked 79th in the world at the time, and American Steve Johnson, then No. 128, to reach the main draw at Cincinnati. McDonald, who's coached by former top-10 player Wayne Ferreira, then lost to David Goffin of Belgium 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.
   Altamirano, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters) and 185 pounds (84 kilograms), became the first unseeded player to win the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in the tournament's 71-year history. The title gave Altamirano an automatic wild card in men's singles at the U.S. Open, where he lost to 22nddseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
   McDonald, seeded ninth in the USTA Boys 18s, lost to No. 1 seed and fellow Bruin Gage Brymer of Irvine 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the round of 16. Altamirano demolished Brymer 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals.
   Altamirano trains under Joseph Gilbert at the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills in Sacramento and lives with his grandparents in the suburb of Elk Grove. His father, Frank, lives in Yuba City and his mother, Anne, in Santa Barbara.
   In the girls third round on Thursday, Bellis will take on second-seeded Ana Konjuh of Croatia, and Gordon will face 10th-seeded Louisa Chirico of Harrison, N.Y. The winners will meet in the quarterfinals.
   Konjuh, 15, won the Australian Open girls singles and doubles titles this year. Both she and Chirico, 17, reached the girls singles semifinals at Wimbledon and the French Open.

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