Monday, March 14, 2016

Qualifier Gibbs gains fourth round at Indian Wells

Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, beating No. 23 seed Madison Keys on Friday,
dispatched Yaroslava Shvedova 6-0, 6-4 on Sunday in the third round of the
BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. Photo by Mal Taam/
   Working with a new coach has worked wonders for Nicole Gibbs.
   The 23-year-old qualifier and former Stanford star dispatched Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-4 on Sunday in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
   Gibbs improved to 17-4, including qualifying matches, this year. She has lost only 11 games in the tournament, winning two sets at love.
   In Gibbs' only previous appearance in the BNP Paribas Open, she lost in the first round last year as a wild card. Roger Smith has tutored Gibbs since the U.S. Open.
   "He's helping me to see the game differently," the 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) Gibbs, who stunned No. 23 seed Madison Keys on Friday, said on "I'm not crediting myself with that. He just knows the game so well. Sees it so well. Gives me unbelievable game plans. We have just been working really hard on making me more of an all-court player and a little bit less defensive."
   But Smith offers more than strategy.
   "We make a good team," added Gibbs, who will soar from No. 95 to a career high of at least No. 75 after Indian Wells. "He's a really supportive person, just really, really positive. He kind of complements my personality really well. We get along really well, which hasn't always been the case with my coaches in the past. I can be really stubborn. I can be a little difficult sometimes. He's been really great in that sense."
   Gibbs, who won three two NCAA singles titles and one in doubles in her three seasons at Stanford (2011-13), will play eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic on Tuesday for a quarterfinal berth.
   Kvitova, a 6-foot (1.82-meter) left-hander and two-time Wimbledon singles champion, defeated Gibbs in straight sets in both of their previous meetings. Most recently, Kvitova won 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of last year's U.S. Open.
   "I do feel like I've gotten to see what her level is like," said Gibbs, who reached the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open. "Both matches have definitely been in her favor but competitive, so I'm just looking to hopefully get a read on her serving early in the match. Let's see if I can make it into a slightly better match this time around."
   On the men's side, No. 31 seed and San Francisco native Sam Querrey beat Thiemo De Bakker of the Netherlands 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the second round.
   Querrey has won one title (Delray Beach) and reached two semifinals in his last three tournaments. He'll take on seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France on Tuesday.
   Tsonga is 3-1 against Querrey, including a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 victory in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014.
   In a matchup of Aptos (Calif.) Challenger champions, No. 30 seed Steve Johnson  (2012) of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area defeated John Millman (2015) of Australia 6-4, 6-2.
   Meanwhile, the top seeds in men's and women's doubles lost.
   Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania fell to Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland 7-6 (6), 3-6 [10-6] in the first round.
   Defending champions Martina Hingis of Switzerland and Sania Mirza of India exited against Vania King, a former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis from Long Beach, and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia 7-6 (7), 6-4.
   Also losing were No. 2 men's seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil to Juan Martin Del Potro and Leonardo Mayer, both of Argentina, 6-3, 6-2.

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