Monday, May 11, 2015

Sanchez wins third pro doubles title in three weeks

Maria Sanchez teamed with Taylor Townsend
to win the doubles title in the Indian Harbour
Beach (Fla.) Challenger. File photo
by Paul Bauman
   For the third consecutive week, Maria Sanchez won a Challenger doubles title and played Jessica Pegula in singles.
   The top-seeded Sanchez, a 25-year-old Modesto product, and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta crushed unseeded Angelina Gabueva of Russia and Alexandra Stevenson of San Diego 6-0, 6-1 Sunday on clay in the $50,000 Indian Harbour Beach (Fla.) Challenger.
   Sanchez also won the doubles title in Dothan (Ala.) with Johanna Konta of Great Britain on hardcourts two weeks ago and in Charlottesville (Va.) with 18-year-old Canadian sensation Francoise Abanda on clay last week.
   With her latest crown, Sanchez rose seven places to No. 90 in the world in doubles. Her career high is No. 79 last November.  
   Seeded fifth in singles in Indian Harbour Beach, Sanchez defeated Pegula 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 in the second round en route to the semifinals. Sanchez had lost to the 21-year-old Pegula, whose billionaire father owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres, in the first round the previous two weeks.
   Sanchez also beat Pegula in the 2012 Sacramento Challenger for the first of her two professional singles titles. 
   Seventh-seeded Katerina Stewart won the Indian Harbour Beach singles crown, topping qualifier Louisa Chirico 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in a battle of American teenagers.
   Stewart, 17, played Chirico and reached a Challenger singles final for the third straight week. Stewart lost to Chirico 7-6 in the third set of the Dothan final and won 6-3 in the third set in the first round at Charlottesville. Stewart eventually fell there to Allie Kiick, the daughter of former Miami Dolphins running back Jim Kiick.
   Chirico, who will turn 19 on Saturday, reached the quarterfinals of the Sacramento Challenger last July.
    Stevenson, the 34-year-old daughter of basketball legend Julius Erving, advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals as a qualifier in 1999 and climbed as high as No. 18 in the world in 2002 before shoulder problems derailed her career.
   NCAA Championships -- The top-ranked USC women, with Giuliana Olmos of Fremont, advanced to the Round of 16 with a 4-0 victory over No. 32 Virginia Tech at USC.
   The Trojans (23-2) will face 16th-ranked Texas Tech (21-6) on Friday in Waco, Texas. 

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