Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Modesto's Sanchez falls in Wimbledon qualifying

Maria Sanchez, who was born and raised in
Modesto, lost in the second round of Wim-
bledon qualifying. 2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sanchez will have to wait at least one more year to make her first appearance in the singles main draw at Wimbledon.
   The 25-year-old Modesto product lost to eighth-seeded Ying-Ying Duan of China 7-5, 6-0 today in the second round of qualifying at Roehampton in London.
   In her only previous singles appearance at Wimbledon, Sanchez lost to former world No. 11 Shahar Peer of Israel in the second round of qualifying in 2013.
   Five American women reached Thursday's final round of qualifying: No. 3 Louisa Chirico, No. 4 Sachia Vickery, No. 18 Anna Tatishvili, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jessica Pegula. Vickery, 20, and Pegula, 21, are scheduled to meet; the winner will earn her first berth in the Wimbledon main draw. 
   The last U.S. man remaining in the draw, No. 18 Bjorn Fratangelo, lost to Australia's John-Patrick Smith 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Vickery advanced to WTA tour quarterfinals at Stanford on hardcourts last summer and Nottingham on grass two weeks ago, both times as a qualifier.
   Vickery and Chirico, 19, reached the quarters of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger last July.
   Mattek-Sands, who had hip surgery last year and missed six months, has plunged from a career-high No. 30 in singles in 2011 to No. 157. But she's a career-high No. 6 in doubles after winning this year's Australian Open and French Open with Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic.
   Mattek-Sands also won this year's French Open mixed doubles title with fellow American Mike Bryan.
   Pegula, the runner-up in the inaugural 2012 Sacramento Challenger whose billionaire father owns the NFL's Buffalo Bills and the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, eliminated No. 21 Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 1-6, 7-6 (7), 5-4, retired.
   Larcher de Brito, 22, stunned former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova in the second round at Wimbledon two years ago and Ana Ivanovic in the same round at Birmingham last week on grass, each time as a qualifier.
   At 14, Larcher de Brito helped the Sacramento Capitals win the World Team Tennis title in 2007. She was the youngest competitor in league history until American Madison Keys surpassed her, by 19 days, two years later as a 14-year-old with the Philadelphia Freedoms.
   The 20-year-old Keys, an Australian Open semifinalist in January, is now ranked 21st to Larcher de Brito's 119th. Not coincidentally, Keys is 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter), and Larcher de Brito is five inches (12.7 centimeters) shorter.
   The Capitals disbanded in 2013 after 28 years in Sacramento but will be replaced by the California Dream beginning next month.
   Joining Sanchez on the sideline today were Americans Grace Min, seeded 24th, and Melanie Oudin.
   Oudin, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist at 17 in 2009, underwent heart and eye procedures during the offseason. Also, a muscle condition sidelined her in 2013.
   Smith, a 26-year-old left-hander, has won the doubles title in the last two Sacramento Challengers with Aussies Matt Reid and Adam Hubble, respectively.
   Smith had one of the greatest collegiate careers on and off the court in history. He earned not one but two bachelor's degrees, in economics and business administration, and became the second player in NCAA Division I history to earn All-America honors in singles and doubles all four years. The other is USC's Jon Leach, who eventually rose to No. 1 in the world in doubles.

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