Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sanchez, Bellis ousted in Stockton Challenger

Third-seeded Maria Sanchez, who grew up in Modesto,
blew leads in a three-set loss to Jessica Moore of Aus-
tralia in the first round. Photo by Paul Bauman
   STOCKTON -- Welcome to the tournament director's world, Ryan Redondo.
   The University of the Pacific men's tennis coach, who's running the inaugural $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit Challenger on his home courts, lost his two biggest attractions on Wednesday in the first round.
   Third-seeded Maria Sanchez, who grew up 30 miles (48 kilometers) down Highway 99 in Modesto, appeared to be on her way to a routine victory but lost 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 to Jessica Moore of Australia in 2 hours, 55 minutes on a 93-degree (34 Celsius) day.
   Earlier, fourth-seeded CiCi Bellis, a 16-year-old sensation from Atherton in the nearby San Francisco Bay Area, dropped nine of the last 10 games in a 6-4, 6-1 loss to Jovana Jaksic of Serbia.
   Both Sanchez and Bellis already are completely out of the tournament. On Tuesday in the opening round of doubles, Sanchez and Jessica Pegula lost to fourth-seeded Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand in a match tiebreaker. Bellis did not play doubles.
   Redondo admitted that losing Sanchez and Bellis was "not great. And I know CiCi really well, so it was disappointing, but the level of play is high. Maria being local, we were definitely hoping for her to go far to attract the local talent and the juniors to come out and watch her, but that's professional tennis."
Fourth-seeded CiCi Bellis of Atherton
dropped nine of the last 10 games in a
loss to Jovana Jaksic of Serbia. Photo
by Paul Bauman
   After the first round, only two of the top six seeds remain: No. 1 An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium and No. 5 Nao Hibino of Japan. Falling on Tuesday were No. 2 Eri Hozumi of Japan and No. 6 Julia Boserup of Newport Beach.
   However, two unseeded players with great stories remain alive.
   Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm, a three-time Grand Slam singles semifinalist who reached No. 4 in the world 20 years ago, is still competing at the unbelievable age of 44. She will face 23-year-old qualifier Kristie Ahn, a former Stanford All-American, for the first time today at about 2 p.m.
   American Melanie Oudin, a U.S. Open singles quarterfinalist in 2009 and mixed doubles champion (with Jack Sock) in 2011, has missed extensive time in the last 18 months because of a debilitating muscle condition and a procedure for an accelerated heartbeat.
   The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Oudin will take on 6-foot-2 (1.89-meter) Naomi Broady of Great Britain today at 10 a.m. Oudin won their only meeting 6-3, 6-2 in the first round at Las Vegas last September.
   Sanchez, ranked No. 152 in the world, served for the match against Moore, ranked No. 319, at 5-4 in the second set, led 4-2 in the third set and lost her serve in the final game. On the last two points of the match, Sanchez double faulted, and Moore ripped a forehand first-serve return that Sanchez volleyed long.
Moore said she felt mentally strong against Sanchez.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   "I felt mentally I was pretty strong out there," Moore said. "I felt I was probably a bit stronger than her in that regard. I knew I had to hang in there no matter what the score was. I felt I had the opportunity to win no matter what, and I think that really helped me today. I just believed when the scoreline was against me."
  Sanchez shanked several forehands in the final game, which went to two deuces.
  "I knew her weakness, and I knew I had to play more to that weakness when I was under pressure" Moore said. "I wasn't really doing that for a set and a half, and finally I think it clicked.
   "I definitely think her backhand is her better shot and her first serve is her best shot, but today when she was serving for the match, her first-serve percentage wasn't as strong, and that allowed me to get on top of the point early."
   At various points during the match, Sanchez was warned for an audible obscenity, slammed her racket on the court, made sarcastic comments about her game -- "Everything is really good" -- and had bad body language.  
Jaksic was proud of staying calm against
Bellis. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Afterward, Sanchez declined an interview request, saying she had to take a shower.
   Bellis, ranked No. 167 as an amateur, made a forgettable debut in a Northern California professional tournament. Playing for the first time since losing in the first round of French Open qualifying in late May because of age restriction rules, she sprayed balls all over the place against the steady Jaksic.
   "I thought I was just playing pretty bad the whole match, and I didn't really feel good (on the court)," said Bellis, who stunned No. 12 seed and Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the U.S. Open last August. "But you have to get through those matches, and I just couldn't do it, I guess."
   Asked why she was off, Bellis said: "I don't know. I've been working so hard. It's weird."
   The layoff might have been a factor.
   "I think so, but you have to get through it," Bellis reiterated.
   Jaksic, meanwhile, encountered epic serving woes in the second game of the match but quickly recovered.    
   "The best thing about me today and my game is I was calm," said the 234th-ranked Jaksic, who trains in Las Vegas. "I wasn't getting upset when I made some errors. In the second game of the match, I made four double faults in a row, and it didn't affect me.
   "I'm happy about that because it's the first time in my life I made four (double faults) in a row. It happens; I just move on. Every point was a new one, and I'm happy with that way of thinking."
$50,000 USTA PRO CIRCUIT CHALLENGER
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
First-round singles
   Storm Sanders, Australia, def. Allie Kiick, United States, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0.
   Melanie Oudin, United States, def. Manon Arcangioli, France, 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, def. Alexandra Stevenson, United States, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
   Naomi Broady (8), Great Britain, def. Heidi El Tabakh, Canada, 6-3, 6-2.
   Jovana Jaksic, Serbia, def. Catherine Bellis (4), United States, 6-4, 6-1.
   Jessica Moore, Australia, def. Maria Sanchez (3), United States, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
   Sanaz Marand, United States, def. Brooke Austin, United States, 7-5, 7-5.
   Nao Hibino (5), Japan, def. Chanel Simmonds, South Africa, 7-5, 7-5.
   Amandine Hesse, France, def. Emily Webley-Smith, Great Britain, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
   Kristie Ahn, United States, def. Lauren Embree, United States, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.
First-round doubles  
   Storm Sanders, Australia, and Chanel Simmonds, South Africa, def. Anhelina Kalinina, Ukraine, and Jessica Moore, Australia, 6-3, 6-0.
   Nao Hibino, Japan, and Emily Webley-Smith, Great Britain, def. Jennifer Elie and Rianna Valdes, United States, 6-1, 6-4.
   Eri Hozumi, Japan, and An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, vs. Jacqueline Cako, United States, and Jovana Jaksic, Serbia, 6-3, 4-6 [11-9].
   Manon Arcangioli, France, and Renata Zarazua, Mexico, vs. Josie Kuhlman and Maegan Manasse, United States, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (6) [10-7].
 Today's schedule
Stadium
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Nao Hibino (5), Japan, vs. Jamie Loeb, United States.
   Sanaz Marand, United States, vs. Jennifer Brady, United States.
   Kristie Ahn, United States, vs. Kimiko Date-Krumm, Japan.
   Naomi Broady, Great Britain, and Amandine Hesse (2), France, vs. Manon Arcangioli, France, and Renata Zarazua, Mexico.
Court 1
(Starting at 10 a.m.)
   Naomi Broady (8), Great Britain, vs. Melanie Oudin, United States.
   Amandine Hesse, France, vs. Jessica Moore, Australia.
   Mayo Hibi (7), Japan, vs. Storm Sanders, Australia.
   Eri Hozumi, Japan, and An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, vs. Nao Hibino and Emily Webley-Smith, Great Britain.
Court 2
(Starting at 11 a.m.)
   Jovana Jaksic, Serbia, vs. Danielle Lao, United States.
   An-Sophie Mestach (1), Belgium, vs. Anhelina Kalinina, Ukraine.
   Jan Abaza and Melanie Oudin (3), United States, vs. Kaitlyn Christian and Danielle Lao, United States.
   Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand (4), United States, vs. Storm Sanders, Australia, and Chanel Simmonds, South Africa.

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