Monday, February 1, 2016

Sanchez, Novikov claim Maui doubles titles

Asia Muhammad, left, and Maria Sanchez pose
after beating Jarmila Wolfe (formerly Gajdosova)
of Australia and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in
the first round of the U.S. Open last September.
 Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Two players from Northern California won doubles titles in the $50,000 Maui Challenger over the weekend.
   Top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez, a Modesto native, edged unseeded Jessica Pegula and Taylor Townsend 6-2, 3-6 [10-6] in an all-American final on Sunday.
   Also, unseeded Jason Jung of Taiwan and Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area nipped second-seeded Alex Bolt of Australia and Frank Moser, 39, of Germany 6-3, 4-6 [10-8] in Saturday's final.
   Sanchez, a 26-year-old USC graduate, jumped 12 spots to a career-high No. 76 in the rankings with her 14th Challenger doubles title and second with Muhammad ($100,000 Vancouver in 2014).
   Muhammad and Sanchez also reached the second round of the U.S. Open last September.
   Sanchez owns one WTA tour doubles crown, at Auckland in 2014 with Sharon Fichman of Canada.
   Novikov, a 22-year-old Moscow native and former UCLA star, rose 17 places to No. 171 with his second Challenger doubles title. His career high, achieved last October, is No. 162.
   Novikov also won the $50,000 Tallahassee Challenger last May with Julio Peralta of Chile.
   Jung, 26, was born and lives in Torrance in the Los Angeles area.
   Moser, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters), won his only ATP World Tour doubles title in the 2013 and last SAP Open in San Jose with since-retired Xavier Malisse of Belgium.
   Moser also reached the 2012 doubles final in San Jose, pairing with 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Kevin Anderson of South Africa in a loss to Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Malisse.
   The San Jose tournament was discontinued after 125 years at various sites in the Bay Area.

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