Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Stockton Challenger to be held at newly built center

Champion Nao Hibino, left, and runner-up An-Sophie
Mestach pose with their trophies after last year's final
in the inaugural Stockton (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   The second annual $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Women's Challenger is scheduled for July 10-17 at the new Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center at the University of the Pacific.
   The center, which opened March 24, was made possible by a $1.5 million gift from Zimmerman, a former UOP player.
   The complex features 12 courts and covered player benches, with an electronic scoreboard and a 5,500-square-foot clubhouse on the way.
   In the singles final of the inaugural Stockton Challenger, fifth-seeded Nao Hibino of Japan beat top-seeded An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium 6-1, 7-6 (6).
   Hibino, 21, has soared from No. 170 in the world then to No. 71 (second in Japan behind No. 42 Misaki Doi) now. She won her first WTA tour title in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, last fall, although she did not face anyone in the top 100.
   The 22-year-old Mestach, meanwhile, has plunged from No. 111 to No. 174 (fifth in Belgium). She won the 2011 Australian Open junior girls title and reached No. 1 in the juniors that year.
   In last year's all-American doubles final, fourth-seeded Jamie Loeb and Sanaz Marand outplayed unseeded Kaitlyn Christian and Danielle Lao 6-3, 6-4.
   Loeb, the 2015 NCAA singles champion, and Marand starred at North Carolina. Christian, who won the 2013 NCAA doubles title with Sabrina Santamaria, and Lao excelled at USC.
   Tickets for the Stockton Challenger are available at stocktonchallenger.com.
   The fifth annual $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger will be held the following week at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area. The reigning champions are Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine in singles and Americans Ashley Weinhold and Caitlin Whoriskey in doubles.

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