Saturday, November 30, 2013

Coming in December

   I'm planning to write these stories, among others, in December:
   --A Spanish player is suspended for two years after a positive drug test during the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in July.
   --A member of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis is engaged to a television star.
   --I play a set or two against a recently retired touring pro.
   --The pro reflects on career highlights and lowlights.
   --The top 10 Northern California tennis stories in 2013.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gold River places 2nd in USTA League mixed doubles

    A team from the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area finished second in the USTA League 10.0 Adult Mixed Doubles National Championships.
   Gold River fell to Hilton Head Island, S.C., 2-1 in Sunday's final in Tucson, Ariz.
   Representing Gold River were captain Isabella Kling, Jeff Shin, Laura McGaffigan, Loren Harmon, Petra Wallace and Dave Hagiwara.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Roseville junior to play in elite European tourneys

   Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area recently earned berths in two prestigious junior tournaments in Europe in January.
   Mayo, 13, qualified for Teen Tennis in Bolton, England, and Les Petit As (The Little Champions) in Tarbes, France, by reaching the final of a playoff tournament in Boca Raton, Fla., last week.
   Mayo lost to Andrew Fenty of College Park, Md., 6-4, 6-2. Fenty's father, Adrian, served as the mayor of Washington, D.C., from 2007 to 2011.
   Past winners of Les Petit As include Rafael Nadal, Michael Chang, Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters.
   Mayo won the boys 12 singles title in the USTA National Winter Championships last December in Tucson, Ariz., and ended the year ranked No. 1 nationally in the division.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gold River Challenger champ signs with UCLA

Mayo Hibi, 17, of Irvine is ranked No. 232 in the world.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Professional tennis can wait for Mayo Hibi.
   The 17-year-old Los Angeles-area resident, who won Challengers in the Sacramento area and Las Cruces, N.M., this year as an amateur, signed a letter of intent last week to attend UCLA.
   Ranked No. 232 in the world, Hibi is rated as the No. 1 recruit in this year's class by Tennisrecruiting.net. She won consecutive titles in the Las Cruces $25,000 Women's Challenger in June and the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in July.
   Only 5-foot-5 (1.65 meters) and 117 pounds (53 kilograms), Hibi won the U.S. Open National Playoff in August to earn a wild card into women's qualifying at the year's last Grand Slam tournament. She lost to 13th-seeded Anastasia Rodionova, a former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis from Australia, in the second round but reached the junior girls semifinals in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Hibi plays for her native Japan but has lived in California since she was 2 1/2, first in the San Francisco suburb of Foster City and for the past 12 years in Irvine.             
   Hibi's father, a sales manager for a branch of a Japanese music company, taught her an old-school game featuring a one-handed backhand and occasional volleys.
   "My dad liked that style more than the modern game," Hibi said in July. "Since I'm not going to be 6-foot tall like Maria Sharapova, since I'm going to be one of the shortest and smallest players on the tour, my dad knew I had to do something different from everyone else to become one of the top players like Justine Henin. She (had) an all-court game."
   UCLA is coached by Stella Sampras Webster, the older sister of Pete Sampras.
   The Bruins won their only NCAA women's tennis team title in 2008 with the help of sophomore Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area.
   UCLA reached the semifinals of this year's NCAAs, losing a 4-3 heartbreaker to Texas A&M in Urbana, Ill. The Bruins' Chanelle Van Nguyen led Ines Deheza 4-2 in the third set of the deciding match at No. 4 singles before falling 6-3, 6-7 (9), 6-4. The Aggies then lost to Stanford in the final.
   The UCLA men's team features freshman Mackenzie McDonald of Piedmont, a suburb of Oakland.
   Other signings -- The Cal men added William Griffith of Fresno and J.T. Nishimura of San Jose.
   Griffith is ranked third and Nishimura 44th in this year's class by Tennisrecruiting.net. They played doubles together in the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in August, reaching the semifinals.
   The Cal women signed Australian Lyann Hoang, who won a bronze medal in the 2010 World Junior Teams Competition in the Czech Republic. She has captured seven national junior doubles titles and one in singles.
   Lani-Rae Green, from Kekaha on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, became the first member of the UC Davis women's class. Green has earned eight varsity letters in four sports (tennis, cross country, swimming, and track and field).  

New rankings, calendar

PRO RANKINGS
     Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, 31 years old, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2012-13) -- No. 376 in singles (-1), No. 127 in doubles (no change).
   Bradley Klahn, 23 years old, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 98 in singles (-1), No. 146 in doubles (-2).
   Scott Lipsky, 32 years old, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 31 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Sam Querrey, 26 years old, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 46 in singles (no change), No. 218 in doubles (+2).
   Ryan Sweeting, 26 years old, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 660 in singles (-1), No. 1,091 in doubles (+5).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 30 years old, trains at Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay -- No. 29 in singles (no change), No. 138 in doubles (+1).
Women
   Mallory Burdette, 22 years old, NCAA singles runner-up in 2012 and NCAA doubles champion in 2011 and 2012 from Stanford -- No. 139 in singles (+2), No. 671 in doubles (-1).
   Nicole Gibbs, 20 years old, NCAA singles champion in 2012 and 2013 and NCAA doubles champion in 2012 from Stanford -- No. 185 in singles (-5), No. 428 in doubles (-12).
   Macall Harkins, Redding resident -- No. 279 in doubles (-3), No. 672 in singles (-12).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 30 years old, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 23 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Megan Moulton-Levy, 28 years old, Capitals (2013) -- No. 56 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Maria Sanchez, 24 years old, Modesto product -- No. 176 in singles (-1), No. 144 in doubles (+1).
   Taylor Townsend, 17 years old, Capitals (2013) -- No. 192 in doubles (-2), No. 355 in singles (-1).
TV SCHEDULE
  No tournaments scheduled.
CALENDAR
   Dec. 9-15 -- Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Plantation, Fla., www.orangebowltennis.org
   Dec. 17-23 --  Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Coral Gables, Fla., www.juniororangebowl.org.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 1 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Tucson, Ariz., http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122724.  
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Scottsdale, Ariz.,  http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122192
   Jan. 13-26, 2014 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Melbourne, www.australianopen.com. Defending champions: Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Sara Errani-Roberta Vinci, Jarmila Gajdosova-Matthew Ebden.
   Jan. 14 -- College spring season begins. Pacific men at Stanford, 1:30 p.m. 
   Jan. 31-Feb. 2 -- Davis Cup, first round, Great Britain vs. United States in San Diego, www.daviscup.com.
   Feb. 8-9 -- Fed Cup, first round, defending champion Italy vs. United States in Cleveland, www.fedcupcom.
   Feb. 26, 2014 -- Champions Shootout (Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake), 7 p.m., Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.,  www.powersharesseries.com.
   March 3-16, 2014 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif., www.bnpparibasopen.com. Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Serena -- who else? -- picked as WTA Player of Year

Serena Williams had one of the greatest years in
women's tennis history. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   There hasn't been this little suspense since the Harlem Globetrotters last played the Washington Generals.
   After one of the best seasons in women's tennis history, Serena Williams was named the WTA Player of the Year for the second straight time and fifth overall on Friday.
   Also, Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci were chosen as the WTA Doubles Team of the Year for the second consecutive time.
   Williams collected 78 match wins, the most since Kim Clijsters won 90 in 2003, against four losses. Her 11 WTA titles, including her second French Open and fifth U.S. Open, were the most since Martina Hingis won 12 in 1997. Williams' first French Open crown came in 2002.
   Williams earned $12,385,572 in prize money, shattering the previous record of $7,923,920 set by Victoria Azarenka last year, and became the oldest world No. 1 in February at age 31. The Los Angeles-area product turned 32 on Sept. 26.
   "The French Open was probably the thing that stands out most," Williams -- also the Player of the Year in 2002, 2008 and 2009 -- said on the WTA's web site. "I really wanted to win that for a number of years now, so that was definitely something exciting. Being undefeated on clay was pretty exciting, too. So my results on clay this year definitely stand out.
   "Overall, I'll remember the wins, but I also want to learn from my mistakes so I don't repeat them."
   Only two other women have been named the Player of the Year at least five times: Steffi Graf (eight) and Martina Navratilova (seven).
   Williams skipped the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford this year after winning the title in 2011 and 2012.
   The Doubles Team of the Year was less clear-cut than the singles award, as four different teams won Grand Slam titles. But Errani and Vinci, in addition to capturing the Australian Open, ended the year as the top-ranked pair.
   Neither has played in the Bank of the West Classic.
   Friday's announcements complete this year's WTA awards. Eugenie Bouchard of Canada was selected as the Newcomer of the Year on Wednesday. Alisa Kleybanova of Russia and Simona Halep of Romania were honored as the Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player of the Year, respectively, on Thursday.
WTA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
(Since 1995)
1995--Steffi Graf, Germany
1996--Steffi Graf, Germany
1997--Martina Hingis, Switzerland
1998--Lindsay Davenport, United States
1999--Lindsay Davenport, United States
2000--Venus Williams, United States
2001--Jennifer Capriati, United States
2002--Serena Williams, United States
2003--Justine Henin-Hardenne, Belgium
2004--Maria Sharapova, Russia
2005--Kim Clijsters, Belgium
2006--Amelie Mauresmo, France
2007--Justine Henin, Belgium
2008--Serena Williams, United States
2009--Serena Williams, United States
2010--Kim Clijsters, Belgium
2011--Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
2012--Serena Williams, United States
2013--Serena Williams, United States
WTA DOUBLES TEAM OF THE YEAR
(Since 1995)
1995--Gigi Fernandez, United States, and Natasha Zvereva, Belarus
1996--Jana Novotna, Czech Republic, and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, Spain
1997--Gigi Fernandez, United States, and Natasha Zvereva, Belarus
1998--Martina Hingis, Switzerland, and Jana Novotna, Czech Republic
1999--Martina Hingis, Switzerland, and Anna Kournikova, Russia
2000--Serena Williams and Venus Williams, United States
2001--Lisa Raymond, United States, and Rennae Stubbs, Australia
2002--Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain, and Paola Suarez, Argentina
2003--Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain, and Paola Suarez, Argentina
2004--Virginia Ruano Pascual, Spain, and Paola Suarez, Argentina
2005--Lisa Raymond, United States, and Samantha Stosur, Australia
2006--Lisa Raymond, United States, and Samantha Stosur, Australia
2007--Cara Black, Zimbabwe, and Liezel Huber, United States
2008--Cara Black, Zimbabwe, and Liezel Huber, United States
2009--Serena Williams and Venus Williams, United States
2010--Gisela Dulko, Argentina, and Flavia Pennetta, Italy
2011--Kveta Peschke, Czech Republic, and Katarina Srebotnik, Slovenia
2012--Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Italy
2013--Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Italy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cancer survivor named WTA Comeback Player of Year

Alisa Kleybanova returned to the WTA tour after
missing almost all of two years with Hodgkin's
lymphoma. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Rising to No. 185 in the world might not seem like much of a comeback.
   But only one other winner of the WTA Comeback Player of the Year award, which began in 1987, is as deserving as Alisa Kleybanova.
   The WTA announced the 2013 honor today, along with Simona Halep of Romania as the Most Improved Player.
   The organization's awards will be completed on Friday when the Player of the Year, surely Serena Williams, and Doubles Team of the Year, likely Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci or Peng Shuai and Su-Wei Hsieh, are named. The first honor, Newcomer of the Year, went to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada on Thursday.
   Five months after Kleybanova reached a career-high No. 20 in February 2011, the 5-foot-11 (1.81-meter), 159-pound (72-kilogram) Russian revealed that she was suffering from Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands).
   Kleybanova, 24, is the second player to win the comeback award after overcoming cancer. American Corina Morariu, a former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001, earned the honor the following year.
   Kleybanova sat out for almost all of two years, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation in Italy, and dropped out of the rankings. She returned in May, winning a $10,000 Futures tournament in Landisville, Pa.
   In the third tournament of her comeback, Kleybanova reached the quarterfinals of the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in the Sacramento area in July. She lost to former top-100 player Ivana Lisjak of Croatia 0-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2) in 108-degree (42-degree Celsius) heat.
   Kleybanova then returned to the major leagues of women's tennis, playing in four tournaments and the Fed Cup final. She lost in the first round at Toronto, reached the second round at Cincinnati and the U.S. Open and advanced to the quarterfinals in her native Moscow.
   Kleybanova knocked off then-No. 17 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in the second round at Moscow before losing to eventual champion Halep.
   Russia, playing without its top 11 players in the Fed Cup final on Nov. 2-3, lost to full-strength Italy 4-0 on clay in Cagliari, Sardinia. Kleybanova dropped her only match, 6-1, 6-1 to the seventh-ranked Errani.
"I know things are always going to be up and down. I'm not expecting to win everything and come back to the Top 20 so quickly. But I'm ready for the journey," Kleybanova said after her Fed Cup defeat to Errani. "I'm really happy to be back. I've been through enough tough things already. I'm feeling great physically now, I know what I need to work on, and I got my ranking up pretty quickly already this year.
"I just have to stay positive about things, have a nice off-season, train hard, stay healthy, stay away from injuries, and just have a good preparation over the next weeks to get ready for the new season.
"And after that, I hope to play the 2014 season from the first month to the last month."
- See more at: http://www.wtatennis.com/news/article/3544165/title/comeback-player-of-the-year-alisa#sthash.O13A6rI7.dpuf
   "I know things are always going to be up and down," Kleybanova said after losing to Errani. "I'm not expecting to win everything and come back to the top 20 so quickly. But I'm ready for the journey.
   "I'm really happy to be back. I've been through enough tough things already. I'm feeling great physically now, I know what I need to work on, and I got my ranking up pretty quickly already this year.
   "I just have to stay positive about things, have a nice offseason, train hard, stay healthy and just have a good preparation over the next weeks to get ready for the new season. And after that, I hope to play the 2014 season from the first month to the last month."
   Halep, 22, earned the first six WTA singles titles of her career from June through October, jumping from No. 58 in the world to a year-end No. 11.
WTA COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
(Since 1995)
1995--Monica Seles, United States
1996--Jennifer Capriati, United States
1997--Mary Pierce, France
1998--Monica Seles, United States
1999--Sabine Appelmans, Belgium
2000--Iva Majoli, Croatia
2001--Barbara Schwartz, Austria
2002--Corina Morariu, United States
2003--Amelie Mauresmo, France
2004--Serena Williams, United States
2005--Kim Clijsters, Belgium
2006--Martina Hingis, Switzerland
2007--Lindsay Davenport, United States
2008--Zheng Jie, China
2009--Kim Clijsters, Belgium
2010--Justine Henin, Belgium
2011--Sabine Lisicki, Germany
2012--Yaroslava Shvedova, Kazakhstan
2013--Alisa Kleybanova, Russia
WTA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
(Since 1995)
1995--Chanda Rubin, United States
1996--Martina Hingis, Switzerland
1997--Amanda Coetzer, South Africa
1998--Patty Schnyder, Switzerland
1999--Serena Williams, United States
2000--Elena Dementieva, Russia
2001--Justine Henin-Hardenne, Belgium
2002--Daniela Hantuchova, Slovakia
2003--Nadia Petrova, Russia
2004--Maria Sharapova, Russia
2005--Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
2006--Jelena Jankovic, Serbia
2007--Ana Ivanovic, Serbia
2008--Dinara Safina, Russia
2009--Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium
2010--Francesca Schiavone, Italy
2011--Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
2012--Sara Errani, Italy
2013--Simona Halep, Romania

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Canadian chosen as WTA Newcomer of the Year

Eugenie "Genie" Bouchard of the Texas Wild warms
up before a World TeamTennis match against the host
Sacramento Capitals in July. Photos by Paul Bauman
   It didn't take long for the Genie to come out of the bottle.
   Eugenie "Genie" Bouchard, 19, of Canada was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year today after soaring from No. 144 in the world at the end of 2012 to No. 32 currently.
   Bouchard, the No. 1 Canadian and teenager in the world, played in the Sacramento suburb of Citrus Heights twice in July during the World TeamTennis season.
   Since Venus and Serena Williams in 1997 and 1998, respectively, the only American to win the Newcomer of the Year award is Melanie Oudin in 2009 (see list below).
   But the 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Oudin has struggled since then. 
   The WTA will announce the Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player on Thursday and the Player of the Year and Doubles Team of the Year on Friday.
   Bouchard's honor caps a tremendous year for Canada, known mostly for its bone-chilling winters and hockey success.
   Led by rising stars Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil, the world's second-largest nation in area (behind Russia) reached the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time. Raonic is ranked No. 11, one notch below his career high in August, and Pospisil has zoomed from No. 125 at the end of 2012 to a career-high No. 32 this week. 
   Peter Polansky, who won the Tiburon Challenger last month, has jumped from No. 260 in July to a career-high No. 140.
Bouchard
   Meanwhile, the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Bouchard reached the quarterfinals or better five times this year, including her first WTA final, and earned her first two top-10 wins.
   Bouchard fell to Samantha Stosur in the title match at Osaka last month after beating the 2011 U.S. Open champion to reach the Charleston quarterfinals in April as a qualifier. Stosur, ranked ninth at the time, retired from the match at 1-6, 0-2 with a leg injury.
   Bouchard also knocked off then-No. 10 Jelena Jankovic 7-5, 6-2 to gain the Tokyo quarters in September.
   As a qualifier at Cincinnati in August, Bouchard won the first set against top-ranked Serena Williams 6-4 but lost the last two 6-2, 6-2 in the second round.
   Bouchard, from the Montreal suburb of Westmount, last year became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title when she took the junior girls singles crown at Wimbledon. The next day, Filip Peliwo of Vancouver, British Columbia, became the second by capturing the junior boys singles title at the All England Club.
   Bouchard also won the Wimbledon junior girls doubles title in 2011 and 2012 with Americans Grace Min and Taylor Townsend, respectively. Townsend made her WTT debut for the Sacramento Capitals this season at 17.
   Bouchard debuted in WTT at 15 for the Kansas City Explorers in 2009 and returned for her second season this year as the franchise moved to Irving, Texas, and became the Texas Wild.
   Against host Sacramento, Texas lost the season opener for both teams, 22-17 in overtime, but won 22-19 one week later as doubles stars Bob and Mike Bryan joined the team.
   Ironically, Bouchard lost all four of her sets (two in singles and two in women's doubles with Darija Jurak of Croatia) in those matches.
   Bouchard has never played in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford on the WTA tour but might next July.
WTA NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
(Since 1995)
1995--Martina Hingis, Switzerland
1996--Anna Kournikova, Russia
1997--Venus Williams, United States
1998--Serena Williams, United States
1999--Kim Clijsters, Belgium
2000--Daja Bedanova, Czech Republic
2001--Daniela Hantuchova, Slovakia
2002--Svetlana Kuznetsova, Russia
2003--Maria Sharapova, Russia
2004--Tatiana Golovin, France
2005--Sania Mirza, India
2006--Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland
2007--Agnes Szavay, Hungary
2008--Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
2009--Melanie Oudin, United States
2010--Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
2011--Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania
2012--Laura Robson, Great Britain
2013--Eugenie Bouchard, Canada

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ex-Stanford star Klahn reaches top 100 in world

Bradley Klahn rose to No. 97 in the world on Monday.
2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Less than a year and a half after turning pro out of Stanford, Bradley Klahn cracked the top 100 in the world on Monday.
   The 23-year-old San Diego-area resident, who has a wicked left-handed serve and forehand, completed an impressive four-week Challenger swing through Australia and Asia last week to rise to No. 97.
   He reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne and final in Traralgon, Australia, won the title in Yeongwol, South Korea, and gained the semifinals in Yokohoma, Japan.
   Klahn, generously listed at 6 feet (1.83 meters) and 165 pounds (75 kilograms), also had an outstanding summer. He reached the final of the Winnetka and Binghamton Challengers, won the first Challenger singles title of his career in Aptos (a one-hour drive south of Stanford) and advanced to the second round of the U.S. Open for the second consecutive year.
   By moving into the top 100, Klahn will earn a berth in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time in January. He has no computer points to defend between now and then, so he can't drop in the rankings before the first Grand Slam tournament of 2014 begins on Jan. 13 (Jan. 12 in the United States).
   Klahn lost in the second round of qualifying in his Australian Open debut this year.
   One notch ahead of Klahn in the world rankings is another diminutive American left-hander, 24-year-old Donald Young of Atlanta. In their only career meeting, Klahn prevailed 6-4, 6-4 in the second round at Aptos in August. 
   At Stanford, Klahn won the 2010 NCAA singles title as a sophomore, underwent surgery for a herniated disc as a junior and graduated in economics last year.

New rankings, calendar

PRO RANKINGS
     Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, 31 years old, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2012-13) -- No. 375 in singles (-1), No. 127 in doubles (-1).
   Bradley Klahn, 23 years old, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- Career-high No. 97 in singles (+4), career-high No. 144 in doubles (+17).
   Scott Lipsky, 32 years old, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 31 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Sam Querrey, 26 years old, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 46 in singles (no change), No. 220 in doubles (-4).
   Ryan Sweeting, 26 years old, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 659 in singles (-94), No. 1,096 in doubles (-5).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 30 years old, trains at Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay -- No. 29 in singles (no change), No. 139 in doubles (-6).
Women
   Mallory Burdette, 22 years old, NCAA singles runner-up in 2012 and NCAA doubles champion in 2011 and 2012 from Stanford -- No. 141 in singles (+1), No. 670 in doubles (-4).
   Nicole Gibbs, 20 years old, NCAA singles champion in 2012 and 2013 and NCAA doubles champion in 2012 from Stanford -- No. 180 in singles (-2), No. 416 in doubles (-3).
   Macall Harkins, Redding resident -- No. 276 in doubles (no change), No. 660 in singles (-1).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 30 years old, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 23 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Megan Moulton-Levy, 28 years old, Capitals (2013) -- No. 56 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Maria Sanchez, 23 years old, Modesto product -- No. 175 in singles (no change), No. 145 in doubles (no change).
   Taylor Townsend, 17 years old, Capitals (2013) -- Career-high No. 190 in doubles (no change), No. 354 in singles (-2).
TV SCHEDULE
  No tournaments scheduled.
CALENDAR
   Dec. 9-15 -- Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Plantation, Fla., www.orangebowltennis.org
   Dec. 17-23 --  Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Coral Gables, Fla., www.juniororangebowl.org.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 1 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Tucson, Ariz., http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122724.  
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Scottsdale, Ariz.,  http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122192
   Jan. 13-26, 2014 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Melbourne, www.australianopen.com. Defending champions: Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Sara Errani-Roberta Vinci, Jarmila Gajdosova-Matthew Ebden.
   Jan. 31-Feb. 2 -- Davis Cup, first round, Great Britain vs. United States in San Diego, www.daviscup.com.
   Feb. 8-9 -- Fed Cup, first round, defending champion Italy vs. United States in Cleveland, www.fedcupcom.
   Feb. 26, 2014 -- Champions Shootout (Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake), 7 p.m., Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.,  www.powersharesseries.com.
   March 3-16, 2014 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif., www.bnpparibasopen.com. Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New rankings, TV schedule, calendar

PRO RANKINGS
     Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, 31 years old, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2012-13) -- No. 369 in singles (+2), No. 126 in doubles (-3).
   Bradley Klahn, 23 years old, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- Career-high No. 101 in singles (+17), No. 161 in doubles (-12).
   Scott Lipsky, 32 years old, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 31 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Sam Querrey, 26 years old, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 46 in singles (+1), No. 216 in doubles (+1).
   Ryan Sweeting, 26 years old, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 565 in singles (-27), No. 1,101 in doubles (+9).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 30 years old, trains at Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay -- No. 29 in singles (no change), No. 133 in doubles (no change).
Women
   Mallory Burdette, 22 years old, NCAA singles runner-up in 2012 and NCAA doubles champion in 2011 and 2012 from Stanford -- No. 142 in singles (-1), No. 666 in doubles (-136).
   Nicole Gibbs, 20 years old, NCAA singles champion in 2012 and 2013 and NCAA doubles champion in 2012 from Stanford -- No. 178 in singles (+6), No. 413 in doubles (+6).
   Macall Harkins, Redding resident -- No. 276 in doubles (-1), No. 659 in singles (-3).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 30 years old, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 23 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Megan Moulton-Levy, 28 years old, Capitals (2013) -- No. 56 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Maria Sanchez, 23 years old, Modesto product -- No. 175 in singles (-23), No. 145 in doubles (+2).
   Taylor Townsend, 17 years old, Capitals (2013) -- Career-high No. 190 in doubles (no change), No. 352 in singles (-44).
TV SCHEDULE
(All Times PDT)
 Friday
   Davis Cup final, Czech Republic at Serbia, two singles matches, Tennis Channel, 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (live), 1:30-7:30 p.m. (repeat).
Saturday
   Davis Cup final, Czech Republic at Serbia, one doubles match, Tennis Channel, 7-10 a.m. (live), 12:30-3:30 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. (repeat).
Sunday
   Davis Cup final, Czech Republic at Serbia, two singles matches, Tennis Channel, 5-11 a.m. (live), 1:30-4:30 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. (repeat).
CALENDAR
   Friday-Sunday -- Davis Cup final, Czech Republic at Serbia, www.daviscup.com.
   Dec. 9-15 -- Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Plantation, Fla., www.orangebowltennis.org
   Dec. 17-23 --  Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Coral Gables, Fla., www.juniororangebowl.org.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 1 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Tucson, Ariz., http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122724.  
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Scottsdale, Ariz.,  http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122192
   Jan. 13-26, 2014 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Melbourne, www.australianopen.com. Defending champions: Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Sara Errani-Roberta Vinci, Jarmila Gajdosova-Matthew Ebden.
   Jan. 31-Feb. 2 -- Davis Cup, first round, Great Britain at United States, site to be announced, www.daviscup.com.
   Feb. 8-9 -- Fed Cup, first round, Italy at United States, site to be announced, www.fedcupcom.
   Feb. 26, 2014 -- Champions Shootout (Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake), 7 p.m., Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.,  www.powersharesseries.com.
   March 3-16, 2014 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif., www.bnpparibasopen.com. Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spaniards edge Bryans for ATP doubles title

Bob, left, and Mike Bryan lost to David Marrero and Fernando
Verdasco 7-5, 6-7 (3), 10-7 match tiebreaker in the doubles title
match of the ATP World Tour Finals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Would it have been so terrible for the ATP World Tour Finals to use a best-of-three-set format in doubles?
   After all, only the top eight teams in the world were invited.
   Instead, organizers turned the event into a crapshoot by using the infernal match tiebreaker after split sets. Why not just flip a coin or play rock-paper-scissors? It would save everyone even more time. Who wants to see superb shotmaking and lightning-quick reflexes anyway?
   Sixth-seeded David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain edged top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan 7-5, 6-7 (3), 10-7 match tiebreaker on Monday to win the title in London.
   Afterward, Mike Bryan told reporters that Marrero and Verdasco "came up with the goods, especially when it mattered. They went for broke … hitting those forehands like overheads.
   "We could have done a few things different. All in all, (when) you get down to a match tiebreak, which we've been playing all week, you're dancing with the devil. It didn't go our way there at the end."
   All of the Bryans' five matches in the ATP World Tour Finals went to a match tiebreaker, of which they won three.
   Marrero and Verdasco became the third Spanish team to win the title and second in a row. Juan Gisbert and Manuel Orantes triumphed in 1975, and Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez prevailed last year.
   Verdasco is the last player not named Milos Raonic to capture the singles crown in the SAP Open in San Jose, taking the 2010 trophy. The tournament is being replaced on the calendar by Rio de Janeiro next February after 125 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   The Bryans -- 35-year-old identical twins and former stars at Stanford, 20 miles (32 kilometers) up the freeway from San Jose -- were seeking their fourth title in the ATP World Tour Finals and first since 2009.
   The Southern California natives still won a career-high 11 titles this year, including the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon.
   "We'll take a year like this every year," Mike Bryan said.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bryans finally return to ATP doubles final

   Bob and Mike Bryan reached the doubles final in the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time in four years on Sunday.
   The top-seeded Bryans -- who won the title in 2003, 2004 and 2009 -- edged second-seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 match tiebreaker in Saturday's semifinals in London.
   The Bryans, 35-year-old identical twins, grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area and won the 1998 NCAA doubles title while attending Stanford.
   They will seek their career-high 12th title of the year when they meet sixth-seeded David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain today at 10 a.m. PST (live on Tennis Channel). Marrero and Verdasco beat fourth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 7-6 (10), 7-5.
   The Bryans are 3-0 lifetime, all on clay, against Marrero and Verdasco. The ATP World Tour Finals are on an indoor hardcourt.
   In today's singles final, top-ranked Rafael Nadal will meet second seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic at noon PST (live on ESPN2). Nadal topped sixth-seeded Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3, and Djokovic dispatched seventh-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-3.
   Surprisingly, Nadal has never won the ATP World Tour Finals. He will make his second appearance in the final after losing to Federer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 in 2010.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bryans advance to semis in ATP World Tour Finals

   Top-ranked Bob and Mike Bryan reached the doubles semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, beating eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 match tiebreaker on Saturday.
   The Bryans, 35-year-old identical twins and former Stanford stars, will face second-seeded Alexander Peya of Austria and Bruno Soares of Brazil today at 10 a.m. PST (live on Tennis Channel).
   In the first doubles semifinal at 4 a.m. (also live on Tennis Channel), third-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil will meet sixth-seeded David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
   The Bryans are 5-1 against Peya and Soares this year, winning 6-3, 6-3 in the Paris final last week and losing 7-6 (3), 6-7 (1), 13-11 match tiebreaker in the Valencia final two weeks ago.
   The Bryans already have clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking for the fifth straight year and record ninth time overall. The natives of Camarillo in the Los Angeles area have won 11 titles this year -- including the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon -- to tie their career high.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last two NorCal players ousted in college indoors

   The last two players from Northern California colleges lost Friday in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.
   Jenny Jullien of Saint Mary's in Moraga, near Oakland, fell to top-seeded Jamie Loeb of North Carolina 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Earlier Friday, Jullien defeated Maho Kowase of Georgia 6-4, 6-3 in the second round. Kowase had upset fifth-seeded Zsofi Susanyi of Cal in the first round.
   On the men's side, Campbell Johnson of Cal lost to eighth-seeded Jared Hiltzik of Illinois 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Bryans save match point in win; Cal star ousted

   Bob and Mike Bryan, the top seeds and three-time champions, saved a match point in a 7-6 (3), 1-6 (14-12 match tiebreaker) victory over Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands today in the round-robin phase of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   The Bryans, 35-year-old identical twins originally from Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, converted their fourth match point. The 1998 NCAA doubles champions from Stanford will meet the Polish pair of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in Group A on Saturday for a berth in the semifinals.
   Already clinching semifinal spots are Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil in Group A and the Spanish team of David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in Group B.
   Cal's Susanyi upset -- Maho Kowase of Georgia shocked fifth-seeded Zsofi Susanyi of Cal 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Susanyi, a junior from Hungary, led 5-2 in the second set.
   Meanwhile, Jenny Jullien of Saint Mary's advanced with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Lorraine Guillermo of Pepperdine.
   On the men's side, Campbell Johnson of Cal defeated Max Schnur of Columbia 6-1, 7-6 (2).
   In doubles, Cal's Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton lost to fourth-seeded Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski of Illinois 8-5. Third-seeded Marcos Giron and Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA fell to Simon Felix and Deni Zmak of Embry-Riddle 8-7 (5). McDonald, a freshman, lives in Piedmont (near Oakland).

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tickets go on sale for expanded Indian Wells

With a capacity of 16,100, the Main Stadium at Indian Wells is the second-largest
in the world for tennis behind Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Daily tickets and daily-double packages for the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells went on sale today, tournament director Steve Simon announced.
   The most-attended ATP World Tour and WTA tournament in the world, the BNP Paribas Open is scheduled for March 3-16 in the Palm Springs area. Last year's tournament drew more than 380,000 fans. 
The outside of the Main Stadium at Indian Wells. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The BNP Paribas Open offers more than $12 million in prize money and is the only tournament in the world with the Hawkeye line challenge system on all courts. The Main Stadium, with a capacity of 16,100, is the second-largest in the world for tennis behind 22,547-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
   Last year's champions were Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Bob and Mike Bryan, and Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.
   Here's a link to a story about my eventful road trip to the 2012 BNP Paribas Open:
   http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com/2012/03/stars-are-super-at-indian-wells-motel.html
   The Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the site of the BNP Paribas Open, is being expanded in time for next year's tournament. A permanent Stadium 2 will feature 8,000 seats and three gourmet restaurants – Nobu, The Chop House and Piero’s Pizza Vino – on the concourse level overlooking the court and grounds. 
   The expansion also includes a marquee site entrance on Washington Street with a new box office, a new 19,000-square-foot shade structure identical to the one built in 2012, four more practice courts and an additional grass parking space for up to 2,000 cars.
   Larry Ellison, listed by Forbes as the sixth richest person in the world, bought the tournament for $100 million in 2010 and prevented it from leaving the country. The co-founder and chief executive of Oracle, a software company, has an estimated net worth of $36 billion. Also an avid tennis fan and a high-level player, Ellison lives near Stanford University in Woodside.
   Daily tickets for the Main Stadium range from $13 for the first Thursday evening session to $100 for loge seats for the championship weekend. 
   The daily-double package provides the same seat (suite, box or loge) for day and evening sessions.
   Local residents, students, seniors, military and USTA members can receive 30 percent off on loge seats in the Main Stadium for select sessions.
   Daily reserved tickets for section 100 in the lower bowl of the new Stadium 2 begin at $120 for all matches on Wednesday, March 5, and continue at $140 from Thursday, March 6, through Wednesday, March 12. Access to section 200 in the lower bowl and section 300 in the upper bowl will be general admission seating, and available to anyone holding a ticket to the tournament. 
   Any ticket to the BNP Paribas Open provides access to the general admission sections of Stadiums 2 – 9 for day and evening sessions and the Main Stadium during day sessions. Classic series, mini, group and hotel packages are still available, as well. 
   For more information, call the Indian Wells Tennis Garden box office at (800) 999-1585 or (760) 200-8000, or visit www.bnpparibasopen.com, which has a complete listing and description of all ticket packages and pricing.

New rankings, TV schedule, calendar

PRO RANKINGS
     Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 35 years old, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mardy Fish, 31 years old, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2012-13) -- No. 371 in singles (-1), No. 123 in doubles (no change).
   Bradley Klahn, 23 years old, 2010 NCAA singles champion and 2011 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- Career-high No. 118 in singles (+5), career-high No. 149 in doubles (+13).
   Scott Lipsky, 32 years old, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 31 in doubles (+3), unranked in singles.
   Sam Querrey, 26 years old, San Francisco native, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 47 in singles (-10), No. 217 in doubles (no change).
   Ryan Sweeting, 26 years old, Capitals (2012-13) -- No. 538 in singles (+2), No. 1,110 in doubles (-234).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 30 years old, trains at Gorin Tennis Academy in Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay -- No. 29 in singles (+1), No. 133 in doubles (-8).
Women
   Mallory Burdette, 22 years old, NCAA singles runner-up in 2012 and NCAA doubles champion in 2011 and 2012 from Stanford -- No. 141 in singles (-4), No. 530 in doubles (+1).
   Nicole Gibbs, 20 years old, NCAA singles champion in 2012 and 2013 and NCAA doubles champion in 2012 from Stanford -- No. 184 in singles (+17), No. 419 in doubles (+89).
   Macall Harkins, Redding resident -- No. 275 in doubles (+19), No. 656 in singles (+151).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 30 years old, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 23 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Megan Moulton-Levy, 28 years old, Capitals (2013) -- No. 56 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Maria Sanchez, 23 years old, Modesto product -- No. 152 in singles (-7), No. 147 in doubles (+2).
   Taylor Townsend, 17 years old, Capitals (2013) -- Career-high No. 190 in doubles (+27), No. 308 in singles (-27).
TV SCHEDULE
(All Times PDT)
Thursday
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin doubles, Tennis Channel, 4-6 a.m. (live), 8-10 a.m. (repeat), 10 a.m.-noon (live).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, Tennis Channel, 6-8 a.m. (live), 2-10:15 p.m. (repeat).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, ESPN2, noon-2 p.m. (live).
 Friday
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin doubles, Tennis Channel, 4-6 a.m. (live), 8-10 a.m. (repeat), 10 a.m.-noon (live).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, Tennis Channel, 6-8 a.m. (live), 2-10:15 p.m. (repeat).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, ESPN2, noon-2 p.m. (live).
Saturday 
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin doubles, Tennis Channel, 4-6 a.m. (live), 8-9:45 a.m. (repeat), 9:45-11:45 a.m. (live).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, Tennis Channel, 6-8 a.m. (live), 2-10:15 p.m. (repeat).
   ATP World Tour Finals, round-robin singles, ESPN2, 11:45 a.m.-2 p.m. (live).
Sunday
   ATP World Tour Finals, doubles semifinals, Tennis Channel, 4-6 a.m. (live), 8:30-10 a.m. (repeat), 10-11:30 a.m. (live).
   ATP World Tour Finals, singles semifinals, ESPN2, 6-8 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. (live).
Monday
   ATP World Tour Finals, doubles final, Tennis Channel, 10-11:30 a.m. (live), 3:30-5 p.m. (repeat).
   ATP World Tour Finals, singles final, ESPN2, noon-2 p.m. (live).
   ATP World Tour Finals, singles final, Tennis Channel, 5-9 p.m. (repeat).
CALENDAR
   Through Monday -- ATP World Tour Finals, London, www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com. Defending champions: Novak Djokovic, Marcel Granollers-Marc Lopez.
   Thursday-Sunday -- USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, men and women, Flushing Meadows, N.Y. http://www.itatennis.com/Events/USTA-ITA-Championships-Events/NationalIndoors.htm
   Nov. 15-17 -- Davis Cup final, Czech Republic at Serbia, www.daviscup.com.
   Dec. 9-15 -- Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Plantation, Fla., www.orangebowltennis.org
   Dec. 17-23 --  Junior Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Coral Gables, Fla., www.juniororangebowl.org.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 1 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14s and 12s, Tucson, Ariz., http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122724.  
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18s and 16s, Scottsdale, Ariz.,  http://tennislink.usta.com/tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=122192
   Jan. 13-26, 2014 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Melbourne, www.australianopen.com. Defending champions: Novak Djokovic, Victoria Azarenka, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Sara Errani-Roberta Vinci, Jarmila Gajdosova-Matthew Ebden.
   Jan. 31-Feb. 2 -- Davis Cup, first round, Great Britain at United States, site to be announced, www.daviscup.com.
   Feb. 8-9 -- Fed Cup, first round, Italy at United States, site to be announced, www.fedcupcom.
   Feb. 26, 2014 -- Champions Shootout (Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake), 7 p.m., Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, Calif.,  www.powersharesseries.com.
   March 3-16, 2014 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif., www.bnpparibasopen.com. Defending champions: Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, Bob Bryan-Mike Bryan, Ekaterina Makarova-Elena Vesnina.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bryans drop opener in ATP World Tour Finals

  Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo, debuting in the ATP World Tour Finals, edged top-ranked and three-time champions Bob and Mike Bryan 3-6, 6-3 (10-8 match tiebreaker) in round-robin play today in London.
   Dodig and Melo, who trailed 4-0 in the match tiebreaker, defeated the Bryans for the second time in four weeks. Dodig, a 28-year-old Croat, and Melo, a 30-year-old Brazilian, also won in the semifinals of the Shanghai Masters en route to the title.
   This was the teams' second meeting in London this year. The Bryans, 35-year-old identical twins and former Stanford All-Americans, triumphed in four sets in the Wimbledon final in July.
   The Bryans, who grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Camarillo, next will face Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands on Thursday.
   Qureshi and Rojer lost to the Polish pair of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski on Monday.  

Federer earns three ATP World Tour awards

Roger Federer collected sportsmanship, fans' favorite
and humanitarian awards. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Roger Federer may have struggled this year, but he continues to rack up ATP World Tour awards.
   The 32-year-old Swiss star collected the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the ninth time and the Fans' Favorite Award for the 11th straight year, officials announced Monday during the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   Federer also was named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for the second time for his foundation's support of children in Africa and Switzerland. His mother, Lynette, is South African, and his father, Robert, is Swiss. 
   ATP players voted on the sportsmanship award, the ATP selected the top humanitarian, and fans chose their favorite player.  
   Federer has collected a record 27 ATP World Tour awards overall.
   Other awards announced Monday:
   ATP World Tour No. 1 (determined by the rankings) -- Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic are battling for the honor in the ATP World Tour Finals, the ATP reported on its web site.
   ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team (determined by the rankings) -- Bob and Mike Bryan will finish as the top-ranked pair for the fifth straight year and record ninth time overall. The 35-year-old identical twins and former Stanford All-Americans won their 11th title of the year Sunday in the Paris Masters, tying their career high. They captured the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, making them the first team to hold all four majors and the Olympic gold medal at the same time.
   Comeback Player of the Year (voted by ATP players) -- After returning in February from a left knee injury that had sidelined him for seven months, Nadal reached nine straight finals. He won seven of them, including the French Open for the eighth time. Nadal also won his second U.S. Open title and improved from No. 4 at the beginning of the year to No. 1. Nadal becomes the first player to earn awards in all of the player-voted categories. The 27-year-old Spaniard earned the newcomer award in 2003, the most improved honor in 2005 and the sportsmanship award in 2010. He also received the humanitarian award in 2011.
   ATP Star of Tomorrow (determined by the rankings) -- Jiri Vesely, 20, of the Czech Republic claimed the award by becoming the youngest player to finish in the top 100 as of Oct. 28. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) left-hander soared from No. 263 at the end of last year to No. 87. 
   Most Improved Player (voted by ATP players) -- Pablo Carreno Busta, 22, of Spain skyrocketed from a No. 715 at the end of last season to a career-high No. 66.
   Fans' Favorite Doubles Team -- The Bryans also won this award for a record ninth time.
   Media Excellence (awarded by ATP) -- The honor went to Shanghai-based Bendou Zhang of TITAN Sports, China’s most successful sports newspaper.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Roberson stars in Sacramento Clay Court finals

Eric Roberson, left, and Darrin Cohen won the
open division in the Sacramento Clay Court
League. Photos by Paul Bauman
   ORANGEVALE, Calif. -- Eric Roberson won two titles Sunday in the Sacramento Clay Court League.
   Top-seeded Roberson and Darrin Cohen held off third-seeded Jeff Shin and Justin Garcia 7-6 (5), 7-6 (0) in the open division of the doubles-only tournament at Ben and Mary Combs’ house.
   Roberson, a 27-year-old former Boise State player from Sacramento, and Cohen, a 30-year-old ex-Virginia star from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, split $800.
   Earlier, top-seeded Roberson and Yasmin Schnack, mixed doubles partners in this year’s U.S. Open, overwhelmed second-seeded Isabella Kling-Norton and Chris Gerety 6-0, 6-3 to share the $400 first prize.
   In the only other division, fourth-seeded Bryan Paveglio and Steve Scurfield outplayed second-seeded Dave Hagiwara and Chris Evers 6-3, 6-1 to divide $1,000 for the 40-and-over crown.
   Roberson and Schnack, a 25-year-old resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, won a national playoff over the summer to earn an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open. They fell to Slovakians Janette Husarova and Filip Polasek 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Husarova, 39, has been ranked as high as third in the world in women’s doubles and Polasek, 28, as high as No. 20 in men’s doubles.
   Schnack, the 2010 Pacific-10 Conference Women's Player of the Year at UCLA, plans to start nursing school in January after all rather than return to the professional tour.
   The Sacramento tournament featured all the trappings of a major event but in a relaxed atmosphere in the beautiful back yard of the Combs' 3,800-square-foot California Spanish-style house.
   The top recreational players in the area displayed outstanding shotmaking, including "tweeners" and sharply angled backspin volleys, and quick reflexes. All received T-shirts and gift bags.
   A USTA chair umpire and ballboys and ballgirls from the tennis teams at nearby Sierra College worked the finals. Sponsors' banners lined one side of the court, and VIP seating was provided on the other.
   About 85 fans  – including former Sacramento Capitals owners Ben Combs, Ramey Osborne and Lonnie Nielson – attended the finals free of charge and enjoyed a complimentary barbecue lunch cooked by Kenny Vowell.
   Some spectators lobbed good-natured barbs at the players during play. When Roberson served for the match in the open final, one fan yelled, "C'mon, Robo, we want to see three sets. Double-fault or something."
   Ben Combs, equipped with a microphone, presented the prize money after each final. 
   And, of course, all the details of the league can be found at www.sacramentoclaycourtleague.com
   It's a first-class operation all the way.
Roberson and Yasmin Schnack, mixed doubles
partners in this year's U.S. Open, coasted in the
Sacramento final.
Steve Scurfield, left, and Bryan Paveglio
split $1,000 for winning the 40-and-over
division.
Former owners of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis
(left to right)  Ben Combs, Ramey Osborne and Lonnie Nielson
attended the finals. Combs hosted the league at the clay
court in his back yard.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Finals set in Sacramento Clay Court League

   Top-seeded Darrin Cohen and Eric Roberson will meet third-seeded Jeff Shin and Justin Garcia on Sunday at 1 p.m. in the open division final of the Sacramento Clay Court League.
   The match will follow the mixed doubles final at 9 a.m. and the 40+ doubles final at 11 a.m. All will be held at Ben Combs' house at 8582 Westin Lane in Orangevale.
   The public is invited free of charge, including a barbecue lunch. A tip jar will be available for the Sierra College women's tennis team, which will be present to help with the event. 
   In the 40+ doubles final, second-seeded Dave Hagiwara and Chris Evers will take on fourth-seeded Bryan Paveglio and Steve Scurfield.
   The open and 40+ semifinals were played last weekend. 
   In the mixed doubles final, top-seeded Yasmin Schnack and Roberson will face second-seeded Isabella Kling-Norton and Chris Gerety.
   Schnack and Roberson trounced Petra Abraham Wallace and Justin Coupe 6-0, 6-0 in today's semifinals, and Kling-Norton and Gerety dominated Laura McGaffigan and Brian Ishimoto.
   Schnack and Roberson won a national playoff to earn a wild card into the U.S. Open in August. They fell to Slovakians Janette Husarova and Filip Polasek 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the first round in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Husarova has been ranked as high as third in the world in women's doubles and Polasek as high as No. 20 in men's doubles.

Gorin opens another academy

   Vitaly Gorin, the founder and owner of the Gorin Tennis Academy in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, recently opened a branch in San Jose.
   The Granite Bay facility’s greatest success story is hard-hitting Dmitry Tursunov, ranked 30th in the world.
   The 30-year-old Moscow native, who still trains at the academy, reached a career-high No. 20 in 2006 and helped Russia win the Davis Cup that year.
   After Tursunov moved alone to Northern California at 12 years old, Gorin became his legal guardian.
   For more information on the Gorin Tennis Academy, visit www.gorintennis.com.
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