Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No. 6 seed Gibbs falls to 6-foot-2 Broady in Midland

Naomi Broady, playing in the $50,000 Stockton
Challenger last July, stunned former world No. 1
Ana Ivanovic en route to the Auckland quarterfinals
last month. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs got further in Melbourne than in Midland.
   After reaching the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier last month, the sixth-seeded Gibbs lost to Naomi Broady of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6 (4) today in the opening round of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Michigan.
   In both tournaments, the undersized Gibbs struggled against tall, powerful players.
   The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Gibbs, who won the 2012 and 2013 NCAA singles titles at Stanford, defeated 5-foot-5 (1.66-meter) Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic in the first round of the Australian Open before losing to 6-foot (1.84-meter) Kristina Mladenovic, a Frenchwoman seeded 28th.
   Broady, 6-foot-2 (1.89 meters) with an unorthodox one-handed backhand, pounded 18 aces and won 84 percent of the points on her first serve to Gibbs' five aces and 67 percent.
   Gibbs, a resident of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area, is ranked No. 103 and Broady No. 112.
   Broady, who will turn 26 on Feb. 28, stunned former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the first round at Auckland on the elite WTA tour last month en route to the quarterfinals as a qualifier. Broady also won the doubles title in the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2013 with Storm Sanders of Australia.
   Broady will meet Jovana Jaksic of Serbia in the second round. Jaksic, 22, defeated Gibbs' former teammate at Stanford, 5-foot-5 (1.65-meter) Kristie Ahn, in the first round.
   Two other players with Northern California ties lost in the first round. Modesto product Maria Sanchez fell to Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, and 16-year-old Michaela Gordon of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area succumbed to wild card Robin Anderson, 22, of the United States 6-1, 6-3.
   Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela in the $25,000 Redding Challenger in 2013 and won the doubles title with countrywoman Lauren Embree.
   Gordon advanced to the Wimbledon girls quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015 and, at 15 years and 1 month old, the quarters of the 2014 Redding Challenger.
   Anderson will face another 16-year-old from the Bay Area, CiCiBellis of Atherton, for the first time on Thursday. Bellis, the world's top junior at 15 in 2014, ousted No. 2 seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany on Tuesday. 
   In the opening round of doubles, wild cards Bellis and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., defeated Samantha Crawford of Tamarac, Fla., and Sharon Fichman of Canada 7-5, 7-5.
   Bellis and Neel, who signed a letter of intent in November to attend the University of Florida, will take on top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Sanchez in the quarterfinals. Muhammad and Sanchez won the Maui doubles title last week.
   Also in the quarters, third-seeded Gibbs and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta will meet Anderson and Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.

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