Friday, January 15, 2016

Gibbs gains final round of Australian Open qualifying

Nicole Gibbs, who starred at Stanford, follows through
on a serve during her victory over Lourdes Dominguez
Lino of Spain in the first round of the U.S. Open last
September. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Second-seeded Nicole Gibbs, who starred at Stanford, held off teenager Jana Fett of Croatia 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Thursday (PST) to reach the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open in Melbourne.  
   Maria Sanchez, a 26-year-old Modesto native, lost to Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal 6-2, 6-3.
   On the men's side, Tennys Sandgren of Wesley Chapel, Fla., fell to 13th-seeded Tatsuma Ito of Japan 6-4, 6-2.
   Sandgren, a former University of Tennessee All-American, helped the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis reach the Western Conference final last July.
   Fett, 19, was the girls runner-up to Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia in the 2014 Australian Open.
   Gibbs, a 22-year-old resident of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area, is scheduled to face Ivana Jorovic, 18, of Serbia for the first time today for a berth in the main draw.
   Jorovic, the No. 1 junior in the world in 2014 and French Open girls runner-up to Daria Kasatkina of Russia that year, beat 22nd-seeded Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan 6-4, 6-2.
   Gibbs is ranked No. 105, and Jorovic is No. 187.
   Gibbs, the 2012 and 2013 NCAA singles champion, gained direct entry into last year's Australian Open and advanced to the second round in her main-draw debut in Melbourne.
   Larcher de Brito, who will turn 23 on Jan. 29, in playing in her first tournament since retiring in the second round of qualifying at Wimbledon in late June with a wrist injury. She underwent surgery in July.
   Larcher de Brito reached the third round at Wimbledon as a qualifier in 2013 (beating Maria Sharapova) and 2014. She helped the Sacramento Capitals win the WTT title in 2007 at 14.
   Sanchez was seeking her first singles main-draw appearance in the Australian Open and second in a Grand Slam tournament. The USC graduate lost to Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open as a wild card.

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