Friday, November 27, 2015

Gibbs ousts second seed in Carlsbad; Bellis falls

Fifth-seeded Nicole Gibbs, a former two-time NCAA singles champion
from Stanford, beat second-seeded Tatjana Maria in the quarterfinals of
the $125,000 Carlsbad Challenger. 2014 photo by Rob Vomund
   No. 5 seed Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area wore down No. 2 Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 today in the quarterfinals of the $125,000 Carlsbad Classic in the San Diego region.
   Maria, ranked 71st, won only 32 percent of the points on her second serve (11 of 34).
   In the following match, No. 1 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium beat CiCi Bellis of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-4, 6-3.
   Wickmayer, at 26 years old and 6 feet (1.82 meters), is 10 years older and six inches taller than Bellis, who was playing in her first tournament in almost three months after a bout with shoulder bursitis.
   Wickmayer won her fourth career WTA title and first in five years in Tokyo in September, but the highest-ranked player she beat was No. 61 Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in the semifinals.
   Wickmayer reached the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open and a career-high No. 12 the following year. She advanced to the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012, lost in the first round the next two years and did not return this year.
   Gibbs, a 22-year-old former two-time NCAA singles champion from Stanford, will meet unseeded Jennifer Brady of Boca Raton, Fla., in the semifinals. Brady, who turned pro in June after two years at UCLA, defeated Marina Melnikova of Russia 6-2, 7-5.
   This will be the second meeting between Gibbs, ranked No. 122, and Brady, who's No. 232. Gibbs triumphed 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-2 in the second round of last year's Lexington (Ky.) Challenger.
   In the other semifinal, the 49th-ranked Wickmayer will face unseeded Maria Sakkari of Greece. The 20-year-old Sakkari, ranked 182nd, eliminated Samantha Crawford of Tamarac, Fla., 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-2.
   Crawford, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), won the 2012 U.S. Open girls singles title and reached the semifinals of the inaugural Sacramento Challenger that year.

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