Friday, July 4, 2014

Larcher de Brito pulls out of Gold River Challenger

   For the second straight year, Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal withdrew from the $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger after reaching the third round of Wimbledon as a qualifier.
   This year, however, the Challenger is being held one week later. Qualifying begins Saturday at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area, and the main draw is scheduled for Monday through July 12. 
   Also pulling out of the tournament on Thursday was American Allie Kiick, the daughter of former Miami Dolphins running back Jim Kiick.
   Larcher de Brito, 21, was the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 102 in the world, and Kiick, 19, was third at No. 143.
   The top remaining players are No. 128 Olivia Rogowska of Australia, No. 146 An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium, No. 149 Madison Brengle of Bradenton, Fla., and No. 150 Nicole Gibbs of Santa Monica. Also entered is 33-year-old Alexandra Stevenson, a 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist.
   Brengle, suffering from a stomach problem, fell in last year's Gold River final to Mayo Hibi, then 17. Hibi plans to play in a $25,000 Challenger in Gatineau, Canada, rather than defend her title in the tougher Gold River tournament.
   Gibbs starred at Stanford, winning the 2012 and 2013 NCAA singles titles and the 2012 doubles crown with Mallory Burdette.
   Larcher de Brito stunned multiple Grand Slam singles champions Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova at Wimbledon last year and this year, respectively.
   At 14 in 2007, Larcher de Brito helped the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals win the last of their record six World TeamTennis titles.

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