Friday, January 15, 2016

Tursunov draws Wawrinka in Australian Open

Dmitry Tursunov, a Russian who trains in the Sacramento
suburb of Granite Bay, practices at Indian Wells in 2014.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Welcome back, Dmitry.
   In his first Grand Slam tournament since losing in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open, Sacramento-area resident Dmitry Tursunov drew fourth seed and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Thursday (PST) in the first round in Melbourne. 
   The Australian Open begins Sunday, although the Warwrinka-Tursunov match could be played on Monday. 
   Tursunov, who reached a career-high No. 20 in 2006, has dropped out of the singles rankings after his latest injury layoff. The 33-year-old Russian is using a protected ranking to play in Melbourne.
   Tursunov returned last October, winning the doubles title in his native Moscow with 18-year-old countryman Andrey Rublev, after missing more than one year with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and pain in his left ankle. Tursunov had surgery on the ankle twice in 2009, to remove bone spurs and then a chip. 
   Tursunov is 1-1 lifetime against Wawrinka, 30. Tursunov coasted 6-3, 6-3 in the first round at Sydney in 2008, and Wawrinka prevailed 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the quarterfinals indoors at Kuala Lumpur in 2013.
   Wawrinka owns two Grand Slam singles titles, having also won last year's French Open. Tursunov's best Grand Slam result is fourth-round appearances at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2006.  
   Sam Querrey, a 28-year-old San Francisco native, will face Dusan Lajovic, a 25-year-old Serbian, for the first time. Querrey is ranked 60th and Lajovic 79th.
   In a matchup of former Sacramento Challenger champions, Donald Young (2008 and 2013) of Atlanta will take on Santiago Giraldo (2009) of Colombia.
   On the women's side, 2015 Stockton Challenger champion Nao Hibino of Japan will meet fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova, the Australian Open champion in 2008 and runner-up in 2007, 2012 and 2015. Sharapova, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), withdrew from Brisbane last week with a forearm injury.
   Hibino, only 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters), won her first WTA title in Tashkent in October (although she faced no one in the top 100) and reached the quarterfinals in Auckland last week. Ranked 58th, she will make her Grand Slam main-draw debut at 21 years old.

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