Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Big day: King visit, WTT thriller, Date-Krumm win

Billie Jean King held a press conference at Sunrise Mall
in Citrus Heights before Tuesday night's World Team-
Tennis match. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Tuesday had it all for tennis fans in the San Joaquin Valley.
   A legend attended a World TeamTennis thriller between her Philadelphia Freedoms and the California Dream on a pleasant Sacramento-area night.
   Sixty-five miles (105 kilometers) south, during the day in blistering heat, an ageless wonder and a promising American pulled off upsets in the inaugural $50,000 Stockton Challenger.
   Billie Jean King — an International Tennis Hall of Fame player, leader in the fight for gender equality, co-founder of WTT and owner of the Freedoms — sat on the Philadelphia bench during California's 22-20 victory at Dream Stadium at Sunrise Mall.
   WTT is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It's billed as one of only five leagues in the United States, along with the big four (MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL), to last that long. But that's not why King came to Sacramento. 
   "I like to go to every city and support the ownership and community," said King, 71. "I hope we can make a difference in someone's life, especially children. I hope they'll take up tennis. It's really the sport of a lifetime. Maybe they'll dream about playing for their hometown team."   
   Tuesday's match was tied 17-17 entering the final set, men's singles. Tennys Sandgren, a 23-year-old WTT rookie, then beat Robby Ginepri 5-3 in a highly entertaining baseline battle to improve the Dream's record to 2-1 and drop Philadelphia to 1-2.
   Sandgren, who will be 24 next Wednesday, turned pro in 2011 after reaching the NCAA singles semifinals at Stanford as a sophomore at the University of Tennessee.
   Ginepri, who turned 33 on Friday, is the only active American man to have reached a Grand Slam singles semifinal. Ten years ago, he lost to Andre Agassi in five sets in the U.S. Open.            
Kimiko Date-Krumm, 44, upset sixth-seeded
Julia Boserup in the first round of the Stockton
Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Kimiko Date-Krumm had similar success 20 years ago, advancing to the French Open semifinals.
   Still playing at the preposterous age of 44, Date-Krumm of Japan outslugged sixth-seeded Julia Boserup of Newport Beach 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Stockton Challenger at the Hal Nelson Tennis Courts at the University of the Pacific. Boserup, who's young enough at 23 to be Date-Krumm's daughter, double-faulted on break point at 4-5 in the second set.
   Boserup is the prototypical modern player: big (5-foot-11/1.80 meters and 145 pounds/66 kilograms) and powerful. She was the runner-up to Olivia Rogowska of Australia in last summer's Sacramento Challenger. This year's edition is scheduled for next week at the Gold River Racquet Club. Boserup and Date-Krumm are entered, but not Rogowska.
   Date-Krumm is tiny at 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters) and 117 pounds (53 kilograms), but she's in phenomenal shape and has tremendous heart. Ranked as high as No. 4 in 1995, she has plunged to No. 198 because of injuries.
   "Women's tennis now is more powerful compared to the '90s," said Date-Krumm, who will face the winner of today's match between Americans Lauren Embree and  Kristie Ahn, a qualifier and former Stanford All-American. "Physical also is going up. For me, it's very difficult to adjust. But tennis is not only about power."         
   When Date-Krumm reached the French Open semifinals in 1995, Jennifer Brady was 2 months old. The Boca Raton, Fla., resident continued her strong play by dismantling second-seeded Eri Hozumi of Japan 6-3, 6-3.
   Brady won the $25,000 Redding Challenger last September as an amateur and turned pro last month. In her two years at UCLA, the Bruins won 2014 NCAA team title and reached this year's final. Brady already has cracked the top 200 at No. 180.
   Several players with Northern California connections also played Tuesday.
   Former Stanford star Kristie Ahn, the top seed in qualifying, easily advanced to the main draw. But Cal All-American Maegan Manasse lost to eighth-seeded Storm Sanders of Australia 6-4, 6-4.
   Maria Sanchez, who grew up 30 miles (48 kilometers) down Highway 99 in Modesto, and Jessica Pegula lost to fourth-seeded Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand in an all-American, first-round doubles match 6-3, 2-6 [10-3].
   Sanchez defeated Pegula in the inaugural Sacramento Challenger singles final in 2012. Loeb won the NCAA singles title as a sophomore at the University of North Carolina in May.
In Citrus Heights, Calif.
   Men's doubles -- Robby Ginepri and Marcelo Melo (Freedoms) def. Tennys Sandgren and Neal Skupski 5-4.
   Women's doubles -- Jarmila Gajdosova and Anabel Medina Garrigues (Dream) def. Taylor Townsend and CoCo Vandeweghe 5-4.
   Mixed doubles -- Skupski and Garrigues (Dream) def. Melo and Vandeweghe 5-3.
   Women's singles -- Vandeweghe (Freedoms) def. Gajdosova 5-3.
   Men's singles -- Sandgren def. Ginepri 5-3.
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Final-round qualifying 
   Kristie Ahn (1), United States, def. Anne-Liz Jeukeng, United States, 6-0, 6-2.
   Chanel Simmonds (2), South Africa, def. Jacqueline Cako, United States, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
   Heidi El Tabakh (3), Canada, def. Jan Abaza (5), United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Storm Sanders (8), Australia, def. Maegan Manasse, United States, 6-4, 6-4.
First-round singles
   Kimiko Date-Krumm, Japan, def. Julia Boserup (6), United States, 6-4, 6-4.
   Mayo Hibi (7), Japan, def. Samantha Crawford, United States, 7-6 (5), 6-0.
   Danielle Lao, United States, def. Jessica Pegula, United States, 6-3, 6-1.
   Jamie Loeb, United States, def. Caitlin Whoriskey, United States, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4).
   Anhelina Kalinina, Ukraine, def. Clothilde de Bernardi, France, 6-4, 6-4.
First-round doubles
   Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand (4), United States, def. Jessica Pegula and Maria Sanchez, United States, 6-3, 2-6 [10-3].
   Kaitlyn Christian and Danielle Lao, United States, def. Sophie Chang and Julia Elbaba, United States, 6-4, 6-1.
   Jan Abaza and Melanie Oudin (3), United States, def. Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey, United States, 6-3, 6-4.
   Naomi Broady, Great Britain, and Amandine Hesse (2), France, def. Julia Boserup and Samantha Crawford, United States, 6-3, 6-3. 
Today's schedule
(Starting at 10 a.m.) 
   Storm Sanders, Australia, vs. Allie Kiick, United States.
   Melanie Oudin, United States, vs. Manon Arcangioli, France.
   An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, vs. Alexandra Stevenson, United States.
   Naomi Broady (8), Great Britain, vs. Heidi El Tabakh, Canada.
Court 1
   Catherine Bellis (4), United States, vs. Jovana Jaksic, Serbia.
   Jessica Moore, Australia, vs. Maria Sanchez (3), United States.
   Brooke Austin, United States, vs. Sanaz Marand, United States.
Court 2
   Nao Hibino (5), Japan, vs. Chanel Simmonds, South Africa.
   Amandine Hesse, France, vs. Emily Webley-Smith, Great Britain.
   Lauren Embree, United States, vs. Kristie Ahn, United States.
Court and time TBA
   Eri Hozumi, Japan, and An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, vs. Jacqueline Cako, United States, and Jovana Jaksic, Serbia.
   Anhelina Kalinina, Ukraine, and Jessica Moore, Australia, vs. Storm Sanders, Australia, and Chanel Simmonds, South Africa.
   Manon Arcangioli, France, and Renata Zarazua, Mexico, vs. Josie Kuhlman and Maegan Manasse, United States.
   Nao Hibino, Japan, and Emily Webley-Smith, Great Britain, vs. Jennifer Elie and Rianna Valdes, United States.

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