Friday, April 18, 2014

Challenger champ Hibi changes mind, turns pro

Mayo Hibi won the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's
Challenger at 17 last July. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Mayo Hibi, who won a $50,000 Challenger in the Sacramento area last July at 17 years old, has decided to turn professional rather than attend UCLA as planned.
   UCLA spokesman Danny Harrington confirmed Hibi's decision on Wednesday. Hibi, a junior girls semifinalist at the U.S. Open last September and the top female recruit in the nation, signed a letter of intent with the Bruins last November.
   Only 5-foot-5 (1.65 meters) and 117 pounds (53 kilograms), Hibi is ranked No. 201 in the world. She 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 in Southern California. 
   Unseeded in the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger last July, Hibi beat fifth-seeded Madison Brengle 7-5, 6-0 in the final. Hibi trailed 4-0 and 5-1 in the first set and saved nine set points.
   After the match, Brengle said she had been throwing up all day and "ran out of gas (in the second set of the final), to say the least."
   Hibi turned 18 on April 3.
   No. 10 Cal 7, Sacramento State 0: 

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