Monday, November 30, 2015

Belgium's Wickmayer beats Gibbs for Carlsbad title

No. 1 seed Yanina Wickmayer defeated No. 5
Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 7-6 (4) to win the $125,000
Carlsbad Classic. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Sunday wasn't a total loss for Belgium.
   David Goffin lost to Andy Murray of Great Britain in the clinching match of the Davis Cup final in Ghent, Belgium.
   But No. 1 seed Yanina Wickmayer defeated No. 5 Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area 6-3, 7-6 (4) for the title in the $125,000 Carlsbad Classic in the San Diego region.
   "It's great finishing my year off with a title," Wickmayer said on "It's my second title in a very short time, so I'm very excited and very happy to be able to finish my 2015 season in his way."
   Wickmayer, who at 6 feet (1.82 meters) is six inches (15.2 centimeters) taller than Gibbs, raced to a 5-0 lead in the first set and trailed 4-1 in the second set before recovering.
   Wickmayer, a former top-15 player, did not lose a set in the tournament. She pocketed $20,000 and rose eight places in the world rankings to No. 41.
   Gibbs, a former Stanford star playing in the biggest final of her career, earned $11,000 and improved 13 spots to No. 109.
   Wickmayer will get straight into the Australian Open in January after reaching the fourth round in Melbourne this year.
   Gibbs likely will fall just short of the Australian Open main draw and be relegated to qualifying. She gained direct entry this year and advanced to the second round.
   Both Wickmayer, 26, and Gibbs, 22, have had strong falls.
   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.
   Gibbs was playing in her third final in her past five tournaments. She was the runner-up in $50,000 Challengers in Kirkland, Wash., in October and Waco, Texas, this month.
   Wickmayer reached the semifinals of the 2009 U.S. Open and climbed to 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.
   Wickmayer became aware late last season that she was fighting Lyme disease, which is transmitted through tick bites and causes a fever, headaches, fatigue and a rash.
   Gibbs gained the third round of last year's U.S. Open. She has advanced to the second round of the Bank of the West Classic on her former home courts three times, this year as a qualifier.

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