Saturday, January 4, 2014

Modesto native Sanchez earns her first WTA title

Maria Sanchez teamed with Sharon Fichman
to win the doubles title in Auckland.
2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sanchez got off to a great start this year with the first WTA title of her career.
   The unseeded team of Sharon Fichman of Canada and Sanchez, who was born and raised in the sleepy Northern California city of Modesto, edged third-seeded Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands 2-6, 6-0 [10-4] on Friday in the $250,000 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand.
   It was also Fichman's first crown on the WTA tour, the major leagues of women's tennis. She and Sanchez each earned $6,150 for the title.
   Fichman and Sanchez had knocked off top-seeded Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Safarova, both of the Czech Republic, in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Mona Barthel of Germany and Megan Moulton-Levy of Washington, D.C., in the semifinals.
   Moulton-Levy made her World TeamTennis debut for the Sacramento Capitals last July.
   Hlavackova and Hradecka won the women's doubles title in the 2011 French Open and last year's U.S. Open.
   Krajicek's older brother, Richard Krajicek, won the 1996 Wimbledon men's singles title.
   The 24-year-old Sanchez, mentored by Chris Evert at the Evert Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., lost in the first round of singles qualifying in Auckland.
   Sanchez was named the 2011 Pacific-10 Conference Women's Player of the Year as a senior at USC. She won the singles title and reached the doubles final in the inaugural FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in the Sacramento area in 2012. 

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