Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bellis, Sanchez set for NorCal Challengers

   CiCi Bellis, 16, of Atherton and Maria Sanchez, a 25-year-old Modesto product, highlight the fields in the $50,000 Challengers in Stockton and Sacramento during the next two weeks.
   Bellis stunned No. 12 seed and 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of last year's U.S. Open, becoming the youngest female player to win a main-draw match at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova, also 15, in 1996.
   Bellis ended last year as the top-ranked junior in the world and has climbed to No. 169 among women as an amateur.
   Sanchez, a 2011 USC graduate, is ranked No. 168 in singles and No. 96 in doubles. She won the first of her two professional singles titles in the inaugural Sacramento Challenger in 2012.
   Heading the Stockton and Sacramento fields is No. 111 An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium.
   Also entered in both tournaments are 44-year-old Japanese marvel Kimiko Date-Krumm, a Wimbledon semifinalist 19 years ago, and American Melanie Oudin, who has been plagued by health problems since reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2009 at 17.
   Qualifying for the Stockton Challenger begins today at the University of the Pacific, and the main draw starts on Tuesday. The Sacramento Challenger begins one week later on the corresponding days at the Gold River Racquet Club. 
   Stockton, Sacramento and the $50,000 Lexington, Ky. Challenger, July 28-Aug. 2, comprise the U.S. Open Wild Card Challenge. The American woman who earns the most WTA ranking points in two of the three tournaments will receive a wild card in the singles main draw of the U.S. Open, Aug. 31 to Sept. 13. 
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
First-round qualifying
Today's schedule
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Kristie Ahn (1), United States, vs. Jennifer Elie, United States.
   Chanel Simmonds (2), South Africa, vs. Rosie Johanson, Canada.
   Heidi El Tabakh (3), Canada, vs. Rianna Valdes, United States.
   Naomi Cavaday (4), Great Britain, vs. Maegan Manasse, United States.
Court 2
   Tori Kinard, United States, vs. Sophie Chang, United States.
   Alexandra Cercone, United States, vs. Anne-Liz Jeukeng, United States.
   Renata Zarazua, Mexico, vs. Kelly Chen, United States.
   Storm Sanders (8), Australia, vs. Nika Kukharchuk, Russia.
Court 3 
   Jan Abaza (5), United States, vs. Julia Elbaba, United States.
   Robin Anderson, United States, vs. Ema Burgic Bucko, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
   Josie Kuhlman, United States, vs. Ashley Weinhold, United States.
   Brynn Boren, United States, vs. Jessica Failla, United States.
Court 6
   Naomi Totka (6), Hungary, vs. Mary Closs, United States.
   Maria Patrascu, Canada, vs. Alaina Miller, United States.
   Jacqueline Cako, United States, vs. Mari Osaka, Japan.
   Andreea Ghitescu, Romania, vs. Caroline Doyle, United States.     

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