Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Former Sacramento doubles champ ousts Kvitova

Daria Gavrilova, left, and Storm Sanders pose with their trophies
after winning the doubles title in the 2014 Sacramento Challenger.
Photo by Rob Vomund
   In her first tournament back after reconstruct- ive ACL surgery, Daria Gavrilova won the doubles title in the 2014 Sacramento Challenger with fellow Australian Storm Sanders.
   Gavrilova hasn't slowed down since.
   The 21-year-old Moscow native upset sixth-seeded Petra Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, 6-4, 6-4 today in the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
   It was Gavrilova's fourth victory over a top-10 player in the past 12 months. She knocked off Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, both formerly ranked No. 1 in the world, and Lucie Safarova in 2015.
   Gavrilova, the 2010 U.S. Open girls champion, did not play singles in Sacramento in 2014. She was named the 2015 WTA Newcomer of the Year after skyrocketing from No. 233 to No. 36 in the year-end rankings.
   As if Kvitova hasn't had enough trouble in the Australian Open -- the 6-foot (1.82-meter) left-hander lost in the third round or earlier in Melbourne for the fourth straight time after making a semifinal run in 2012 -- she had played only one set this year entering the tournament because of a gastrointestinal illness.
   Meanwhile, Gavrilova teamed with Nick Kyrgios two weeks ago in Perth to give Australia its first Hopman Cup title since 1999.
   "Coming into this match, I was pretty confident that I could beat Petra," Gavrilova said on "I knew that she didn't have enough matches before. She didn't even play anything before (the Australian) Open. So I thought it was a good chance tonight."
   Gavrilova, 5-foot-5 (1.68 meters), will play another 6-footer, 28th-seeded Kristina Mladenovic of France, in the third round.
   Mladenovic, who advanced with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over ex-Stanford All-American Nicole Gibbs, reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open last September.

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