Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ex-champ Riffice reaches round of 16 in Eddie Herr

   No. 7 seed Sam Riffice, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, dominated Jack Lin of Canada 6-2, 6-1 in the boys 18s today to reach the round of 16 in the Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla.
   Riffice, the boys 16 champion two years ago, trains at the USTA center in Boca Raton, Fla. He will face 12th-seeded Ergi Kirkin, a Turk who beat Stanford-bound Timothy Sah of San Diego 7-6 (4), 6-3.
   Kirkin defeated Riffice 6-4, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Eddie Herr 18s last year.
   Meanwhile, Stefan Leustian of Mather in the Sacramento area reached the boys 14 quarterfinals with a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Saud Alhogbani of Alexandria, Va. Leustian will meet top-seeded Bu Yunchaokete of China.
   Fourth-seeded Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., and Aidan Mayo, a former neighbor of Riffice's in Roseville, advanced to the boys 14 doubles quarterfinals.
   In an all-San Francisco Bay Area girls 16 match, No. 7 seed Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek outplayed wild card Anna Campana of Hillsborough 6-4, 6-1 to reach the round of 16. Volynets will face unseeded Alexandra Mikhailuk of Canada.
   Wild cards Campana and Petra Miszczak of Blaine, Wash., won in the first round of doubles. Third-seeded Volynets and Lauren Stein of Paradise Valley, Ariz., received a first-round bye.
   USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships in La Jolla, Calif. -- No. 3 seed Fanny Gamble of San Rafael routed Cindi Juncal of San Clemente 6-0, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
   Gamble will play No. 1 seed Dina McBride, a two-time former tournament champion from Stevenson Ranch.
   Four of the men's quarterfinalists are from Northern California: No. 4 seed and two-time former champion Oren Motevassel of San Jose, No. 6 and ex-champion Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo, No. 8 Leon Bax of Mountain View and No. 13 Joshua Prager of Yuba City.
   Bax topped No. 10 Daniel Hiddleson of Kentfield 0-6, 6-3, 6-1. Nicolas Chasseray of San Francisco lost to No. 5 Jesse Walter of Mercer Island, Wash., 6-2, 6-1.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sah, headed to Stanford, advances in Eddie Herr

   Stanford-bound Timothy Sah of San Diego defeated Maxense Broville of France 6-3, 6-4 today in the first round of the boys 18s in the prestigious Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla.
   Sah, a quarterfinalist in the USTA Boys 18 Nationals in Kalamazoo, Mich., in August, will face 12th-seeded Ergi Kirkin of Turkey. Kirkin beat wild card Drew Baird of Holly Springs, N.C., 7-5, 6-2 on Monday.
   Meanwhile, one Sacramento-area product won in the second round of the boys 14s, but another was upset. Stefan Leustian of Mather reached the round of 16 with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Niroop Vallabhaneni of Paradise Valley, Ariz. No. 15 seed Aidan Mayo, 13, from Roseville lost to wild card Toby Kodat of Bradenton 7-5, 6-2.
   Mayo and Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., seeded fourth in doubles, dispatched Gabrielius Guzauskas of Downers Grove, Ill., and Nikolas Tvedt of Norway 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
   In the first round of girls 16 singles, No. 7 seed Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area crushed lucky loser Raphaelle Leblanc of Canada 6-1, 6-0 to set up an all-Bay Area match.
   Volynets, who will turn 15 on Dec. 31, will play wild card Anna Campana of Hillsborough. Campana topped lucky loser Isabella Montana of Miami 6-1, 7-6 (2).
   USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships in La Jolla, Calif. -- Six Northern California men advanced to fourth round: No. 4 seed Oren Motevassel of San Jose, No. 6 Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo, No. 8 Leon Bax of Mountain View, No. 10 Daniel Hiddleson of Kentfield, No. 13 Joshua Prager of Yuba City and Nicolas Chasseray of San Francisco.
   Greenwald (2009) and Motevassel (2011 and 2012) are former champions.
   On the women's side, Vanessa Bogenholm of Los Gatos lost to Cindi Juncal of San Clemente 6-4, 6-0 in the second round.

NorCal product Riffice survives test in Eddie Herr

   Sam Riffice survived in the first round of the boys 18s in the Eddie Herr International Championships on Monday.
   But his friend and former neighbor in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, Keenan Mayo, lost in three sets in the hardcourt tournament in Bradenton, Fla.
   Riffice, seeded seventh, eked out a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4 victory over Kristjan Tamm of Estonia. Mayo fell to U.S. wild card Filip Jianu 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-2.
   Riffice, who won the boys 16 title two years ago, and Mayo train at the USTA centers in Boca Raton, Fla., and Carson, Calif., respectively.
   Mayo's brother, Aidan, and Stefan Leustian of Mather in the Sacramento area advanced in the 14s. Mayo, seeded 15th, beat Dmitry Bezborodov of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-0. Leustian thrashed Anton Semenov of Russia 6-0, 6-0.
   In the girls 18s, wild card Carolyn Campana of Hillsborough in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to sixth-seeded Varvara Gracheva of Russia 6-2, 7-5.
   Campana and Abigail Forbes of Raleigh, N.C., reached the girls 16 doubles final last year.
   In girls 16 singles this week, seventh-seeded Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area and wild card Anna Campana, Carolyn's sister, are scheduled to play their first-round matches today.
   The Eddie Herr is one of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the world. Past competitors include Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, David Nalbandian, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.
   Herr, the father of international junior tennis, died in 2000 at 93.
   USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships in La Jolla, Calif. -- Nicolas Chasseray of San Francisco surprised No. 16 seed Franklin Da Silva of Newport Beach 6-0, 6-4 in the second round.
   No. 4 Oren Motevassel of San Jose, No. 6 Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo, No. 8 Leon Bax of Mountain View, No. 10 Daniel Hiddleson of Kentfield and No. 13 Joshua Prager of Yuba City coasted into the third round after receiving first-round byes.
   Greenwald won the title in 2009, and Motevassel took the crown in 2011 and 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bellis, 17, rides wave for 125K Honolulu title

CiCi Bellis, shown in July, beat 23rd-ranked Zhang Shuai
to win the inaugural Hawaii Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   More and more, CiCi Bellis looks like a future top-10 player.
   The 17-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area won her third consecutive title and first on the WTA tour on Sunday.
   Bellis, seeded fourth, outclassed top-seeded Zhang Shuai of China 6-4, 6-2 in the inaugural $125,000 Hawaii Open in Honolulu.
   After the 27-year-old Zhang, who received a late wild card, netted a backhand on Bellis' second championship point, Bellis fell flat on her back and held her head in her hands.
   "This is the best day of my life," Bellis, whose voice cracked as she thanked her team, crowed during the awards ceremony. "I don't even believe it right now. It's so amazing."
   Zhang, who stunned second-seeded Simona Halep and 15th-seeded Madison Keys en route to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January, remained No. 23 in the world.
   Bellis jumped 17 places to a career-high No. 75. She turned pro in September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier.
   Bellis recorded her fifth victory over a top-50 player and third over a Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better.
   As a 15-year-old wild card in the 2014 U.S. Open, Bellis knocked off No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round. Cibulkova had reached the Australian Open final that year, falling to since-retired Li Na of China.
   Bellis also ousted No. 49 Shelby Rogers, a French Open quarterfinalist in June, in the second round of the year's U.S. Open in late August.
   In the opening set Sunday, Bellis lost the first two games but won the next four and held on for the set. After Zhang won the first game of the second set, Bellis reeled off five straight games. She was soon holding the trophy again.
   Bellis saved four of five break points against her in the match and converted four of eight break-point opportunities. Zhang repeatedly missed returns of second serves in her first meeting with Bellis, who's listed at only 5-foot-7 (1.68 meters) and 110 pounds (50 kilograms).
   Bellis, who did not lose a set in the tournament, collected $20,000 for the title. Zhang pocketed $11,000.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bellis, 17, reaches third consecutive final

   CiCi Bellis will play for her third consecutive singles title and by far the biggest of her life on Sunday.
   But the 17-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area faces a stiff challenge.
   Bellis, seeded fourth, dispatched unseeded American Jacqueline Cako 6-0, 6-4 today in the semifinals of the $125,000 Hawaii Open in Honolulu. It was Bellis' 14th straight win.
   Bellis, by far the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 92, will meet top-seeded Zhang Shuai of China for the first time on Sunday at 3 p.m. PST. The match will be streamed live.
   The 23rd-ranked Zhang, who reached the Australian Open quarterfinals as a qualifier in January, outclassed sixth-seeded Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 6-2, 6-3.
   Bellis already has beaten one Grand Slam quarterfinalist this year. As a qualifier, she upset Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., in the second round of the U.S. Open before falling to second seed and eventual champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 6-1. Rogers advanced to the final eight in the French Open in June.
   Then there was Bellis' breakthrough victory over 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova at 15 in the 2014 U.S. Open. Cibulkova had reached the Australian Open final that year, losing to since-retired Li Na of China.
   Neither Zhang, a 27-year-old wild card, nor Bellis has dropped a set in the Honolulu tournament. Bellis, in fact, has not lost more than five games in a match.
   Bellis, who turned pro on Sept. 13, is coming off titles in two $50,000 indoor tournaments in Canada. She also has won four crowns in $25,000 tourneys.
   Zhang, meanwhile, seeks her second straight title. She won a $100,000 tourmament in Tokyo this month.
   Bellis will rise to approximately No. 75 with a victory in the Honolulu final or about No. 83 with a loss.

Bellis extends win streak, reaches Hawaii semis

No. 4 seed CiCi Bellis, shown in July, whipped No. 7 Sara
Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-1, 6-1 on Friday for her 13th
consecutive singles victory. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, a 17-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, extended her singles winning streak to 13 matches on Friday.
   The fourth-seeded Bellis demolished seventh-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain 6-1, 6-1 in 64 minutes to reach the semifinals of the $125,000 Hawaii Open in Honolulu.
   Sorribes Tormo, ranked No. 109, committed 13 doubles faults and won only 2 of 17 points (12 percent) of the points on her second serve.
   Bellis, the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 92, will face unseeded American Jacqueline Cako. The 329th-ranked Cako, 25, upset Germany's Sabine Lisicki, the fifth seed and 2013 Wimbledon runner-up, 3-6, 7-5, 2-0, retired (shoulder).   
   Bellis, who's coming off titles in two $50,000 indoor tournaments in Canada, has not lost more than three games in a set in her three matches in Honolulu.
   Cako, a former Arizona State All-American, eliminated second seed and ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs in the first round and outlasted Jamie Loeb of Ossining, N.Y., in the second round. Both Gibbs (2012 and 2013) and Loeb (2015) won NCAA singles titles. 
   Bellis, who turned pro after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier, is 2-0 against Cako.
   In the doubles final, top-seeded Eri Hozumi and Miyu Kato of Japan edged third-seeded Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area and Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas 6-7 (3), 6-3 [10-8]. 
   Gibbs also won the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Mallory Burdette.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rankings, TV schedule, calendar

WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from last week in parentheses):
Men's singles
   No. 31 (no change) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 170 (no change) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 323 (-43) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 401 (-3) -- Dmitry Tursunov, 33-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area, 
   No. 714 (-9) -- Ryan Haviland, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 823 (-2) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star. 
Men's doubles
   No. 5 (no change) -- Bob Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford..
   No. 5 (no change) -- Mike Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 48 (no change) -- Scott Lipsky, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 97 (-2) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 149 (-1) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 304 (career high, no change) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 462 (-36) -- John Paul Fruttero, 35-year-old former Cal All-American.
   No. 659 (-6) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star
Women's singles
   No. 35 (no change) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 75 (+1) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.   
   No. 92 (-2) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area..
   No. 222 (-1) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 346 (-2) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 496 (-5) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.
   No. 803 (-2) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area
Women's doubles
   No. 21 (no change) -- Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 33-year-old San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal.
   No. 58 (no change) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 142 (-1) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 251 (no change) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 311 (+2) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.   
   No. 391 (-2) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 615 (-4) -- Maegan Manasse, 21-year-old Cal senior.
   No. 713 (-7) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area. 
   No. 745 (+2) -- Alexandra Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area. 
   No. 745 (+2) -- Kat Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area.
   No. 887 (-4) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 965 (+2) -- Karina Vyrlan, 18-year-old Sacramentan. 
TV SCHEDULE 
(All times in California)
Friday 
   Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia, 2-9 a.m. (live), Tennis Channel.
Saturday 
   Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia, 3-8 a.m. (live), Tennis Channel.
Sunday 
   Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia, 2-9 a.m. (live), Tennis Channel.
CALENDAR
   Friday-Sunday -- Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia.
   Dec. 5-11 -- Orange Bowl, boys and girls 18 and 16 singles and doubles, Plantation, Fla.
   Dec. 11-20 -- Junior Orange Bowl, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles, Coral Gables, Fla.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2017-- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18 and 16 singles and doubles, Scottsdale, Ariz
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2017 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles and doubles, Tucson, Ariz.
   Jan. 16  (Jan. 15 in United States)-Jan. 29, 2017 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN. 2016 champions: Novak Djokovic, Angelique Kerber, Jamie Murray-Bruno Soares, Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, Elena Vesnina/Bruno Soares.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Murray downs Djokovic for title, ends year at No. 1

Andy Murray beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4 today to win
the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time. 2015 photo
by Paul Bauman
   One former San Jose champion won a title in the ATP World Tour Finals in London today, but another fell short. Barely.
   Top-seeded Andy Murray dismantled second-seeded Novak Djokovic by the surprisingly one-sided score of 6-3, 6-4 to win the crown and end the year at No. 1, both for the first time.
   Murray captured the first two of his 44 career singles titles, tied for 14th in the Open Era, in the SAP Open in San Jose in 2006 and 2007. Those were Murray's only appearances in the tournament, which ended a 125-year run in Northern California after the 2013 edition.
   In today's doubles final, fifth-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia edged seventh-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., 2-6, 6-1 [10-8].
   Ram won the doubles crown in the 2011 SAP Open with Scott Lipsky, a former All-American at nearby Stanford.
   Murray and Djokovic, both 29, have been rivals since their junior days. Even though Murray, who's one week older, was seeded higher, his victory was surprising. Djokovic was 24-10 against Murray and fresher. Djokovic was coming off a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Kei Nishikori, whereas Murray had needed 3 hours, 38 minutes to subdue Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9), saving a match point in the process.
   Murray admitted after the final that he was tired during the match and stayed calm to conserve energy. He is often feisty on the court.
   Murray ended 2016 with 24 consecutive match victories and five straight titles. This year, he also won his second Wimbledon title, earned his second Olympic gold medal in singles and became a father for the first time.
   Djokovic was trying to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the fifth straight time and sixth overall. He also was bidding for his third straight year-end No. 1 ranking and fifth overall.
   Djokovic won only one title after capturing the French Open in June to complete a career Grand Slam.
   Murray earned $2,391,000 for winning the title, and Djokovic pocketed $1,261,000.

Bryans end year with loss in ATP World Tour Finals

No. 5 seeds John Peers, above, and Henri Kontinen
defeated No. 3 Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6 (2), 6-4 in
the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in
London. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers, widely regarded as the greatest men's doubles team ever, finished a disappointing year on Saturday.
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, former Stanford stars originally from Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, lost to fifth-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia 7-6 (2), 6-4 in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. 
   Kontinen and Peers will face seventh-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., in today's final (7:30 a.m. PST, Tennis Channel). Klaasen and Ram surprised second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil 6-1, 6-4.
   Ram won the 2011 SAP Open in San Jose with ex-Stanford All-American Scott Lipsky. The tournament ended a 125-year run in Northern California after the 2013 edition.
   The 38-year-old Bryan twins have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, four ATP World Tour Finals crowns and 112 titles overall. But this year, they:
   --Failed to win a major for the second consecutive year.
   --Won three titles (all on clay), their fewest since 2000. In the past four years, the Bryans' crowns have declined from 11 to 10 to six to three.
   --Did not reach a final after falling to Felicano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation) of Spain in the French Open in early June.
   Kontinen and Peers extended their winning streak to nine matches, including their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Paris two weeks ago. In the quarterfinals there, they defeated the Bryans 6-4, 6-2 in the first meeting between the teams.
   Kontinen, 26, is playing in his first ATP World Tour Finals and Peers, 28, his second. Peers and Murray were eliminated in the round-robin phase last year.
   In today's singles final, top-seeded Andy Murray will play second-seeded Novak Djokovic for the year-end No. 1 ranking (10 a.m., ESPN2).
   Murray, hoping to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time, saved a match point in a scintillating 5-7, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (9) victory over Milos Raonic. Both players went undefeated in the SAP Open, combining for five singles titles (three by Raonic).
   Djokovic, seeking his fifth straight ATP World Tour Finals title and sixth overall, crushed fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rankings, TV schedule, calendar

WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from last week in parentheses):
Men's singles
   No. 31 (no change) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 170 (-8) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 280 (career high, +13) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 398 (no change) -- Dmitry Tursunov, 33-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area, 
   No. 705 (+6) -- Ryan Haviland, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 821 (+1) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star. 
Men's doubles
   No. 5 (no change) -- Bob Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford..
   No. 5 (no change) -- Mike Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 48 (no change) -- Scott Lipsky, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 95 (+4) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 148 (-2) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 304 (career high, no change) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 426 (-5) -- John Paul Fruttero, 35-year-old former Cal All-American.
   No. 653 (+5) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star
Women's singles
   No. 35 (+1) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 76 (no change) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.   
   No. 90 (career high, no change) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area..
   No. 221 (-1) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 344 (+1) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 491 (-2) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.
   No. 801 (-41) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area
Women's doubles
   No. 21 (no change) -- Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 33-year-old San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal.
   No. 58 (+1) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 141 (+1) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 251 (+1) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 313 (+4) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.   
   No. 389 (+42) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 611 (+11) -- Maegan Manasse, 21-year-old Cal senior.
   No. 706 (+3) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area. 
   No. 747 (+2) -- Alexandra Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area. 
   No. 747 (+2) -- Kat Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area.
   No. 883 (+4) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 967 (no change) -- Karina Vyrlan, 18-year-old Sacramentan. 
TV SCHEDULE 
(All times in California)
Today 
   ATP World Tour Finals, London, doubles semifinals, 4 a.m. (live), 11:30 a.m. (taped) and 6 p.m. (taped), Tennis Channel.
   ATP World Tour Finals, London, singles semifinals, 2 p.m. (taped), Tennis Channel.
   Sunday 
   ATP World Tour Finals, London, doubles final, 7:30 a.m. (live), Tennis Channel.
   ATP World Tour Finals, London, singles final, 10 a.m. (live), ESPN2.
   ATP World Tour Finals, London, singles final, 2 p.m. (taped), Tennis Channel. 
CALENDAR
   Through Sunday -- ATP World Tour Finals, London. 2015 champions: Novak Djokovic, Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau.
   Friday-Nov. 27 -- Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia.
   Dec. 5-11 -- Orange Bowl, boys and girls 18 and 16 singles and doubles, Plantation, Fla.
   Dec. 11-20 -- Junior Orange Bowl, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles, Coral Gables, Fla.
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2017-- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18 and 16 singles and doubles, Scottsdale, Ariz
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2017 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles and doubles, Tucson, Ariz.
   Jan. 16  (Jan. 15 in United States)-Jan. 29, 2017 -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN. 2016 champions: Novak Djokovic, Angelique Kerber, Jamie Murray-Bruno Soares, Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, Elena Vesnina/Bruno Soares.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Bryans to face Kontinen-Peers in semis of ATP Finals

The Bryan twins conduct an on-court interview after
their first-round victory in the U.S. Open on Aug. 31.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, ex-Stanford stars originally from Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, will face fifth-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia on Saturday in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   Tennis Channel will televise the match live at 4 a.m. PST.
   Kontinen and Peers beat top-seeded Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France 6-7 (5), 6-4, 10-4 today to finish 3-0 in the Fleming/McEnroe Group and extend their winning streak to eight matches.
   The 38-year-old Bryan twins completed round-robin play in the Edberg/Jarryd Group on Thursday with a 2-1 record.
   In Saturday's other semifinal, second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil will meet seventh-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., not before 10 a.m. PST (Tennis Channel).
   Kontinen and Peers defeated the Bryans 6-4, 6-2 two weeks ago in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris en route to the title.
   The Bryans have won four titles in the ATP World Tour Finals (2003 and 2004 in Houston, 2009 in Shanghai and 2014 in London) and a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles crowns. But they have not won a major since the 2014 U.S. Open or reached a final in any tournament since losing to Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation) of Spain in the French Open in June.
   The ATP World Tour Finals consists of the top eight singles players of the year and the top eight doubles teams.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bryans reach ATP semis; Klahn falls in Challenger

Bob Bryan serves as Mike Bryan waits at the net during
their first-round victory in the U.S. Open on Aug. 31 in
New York. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers reached the doubles semifinals in the ATP World Tour Finals in London today, but fellow ex-Stanford star Bradley Klahn lost in the singles quarterfinals of the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger.
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan beat eighth-seeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 6-4 in the last round-robin match for both teams.
   The ATP World Tour Finals consists of the top eight singles players of the year and the top eight doubles teams.
   The 38-year-old Bryan twins, seeking their fifth title in the tournament, finished 2-1 in the four-team Edberg/Jarryd Group. Second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil went 3-0 to advance. Sixth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil (1-2) and Huey and Mirnyi (0-3) were eliminated.
   Saturday's semifinal matchups will be determined Friday when round-robin play is completed in the Fleming/McEnroe Group. Fifth-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia lead the standings at 2-0. Fourth-seeded Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation) of Spain and seventh-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., are tied at 1-1. Top-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France are last at 0-2.
   The Bryans, who grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles but none since the 2014 U.S. Open.
   Klahn, a 26-year-old qualifier from the San Diego suburb of Poway, lost to top-seeded Jared Donaldson, a 20-year-old resident of Irvine in the Los Angeles region, 6-4, 6-4.
   Klahn was playing in his first tournament in almost two years after undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015. Today's match was his sixth in six days, including a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Tennys Sandgren in 1 hour, 47 minutes on Wednesday.
   Donaldson reached the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier 2 1/2 months ago, shocking 14th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium in the first round.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Donaldson is ranked No. 109, down from a career-high No. 96 in September. He must return to the top 100 to assure himself of a berth in the main draw of the Australian Open in January.
   Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander, has dropped out of the rankings after climbing as high as No. 63 in March 2014.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Klahn reaches quarterfinals in comeback tourney

Bradley Klahn, left, chats with Ireland's James McGee during
the 2015 Sacramento Challenger. Klahn, a former Stanford star,
practiced lightly during the tournament while recovering from
his second back operation. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Layoff? What layoff?
   Bradley Klahn hardly looks like someone playing his first tournament in almost two years.
   The 26-year-old qualifier, a former Stanford star, defeated Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 today to reach the quarterfinals of the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger.
   Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, missed 21 months after undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015. He improved to 5-1 against Sandgren, a 25-year-old former Tennessee All-American.
   Klahn, from the San Diego suburb of Poway, will face top-seeded Jared Donaldson, a Providence, R.I., native now living in Irvine in the Los Angeles area, on Thursday. It will be Klahn's sixth match in six days in the indoor tournament, which features a Saturday final.
   Donaldson, 20, beat qualifier Ryan Shane, who captured the 2015 NCAA singles title as a Virginia junior, 6-2, 6-4.
   Donaldson won his only career match against Klahn, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals of the $50,000 Maui Challenger in January 2015, and went on to capture the title.
   As a qualifier in this year's U.S. Open, Donaldson shocked 14th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium en route to the third round. Klahn has reached the second round of the U.S. Open twice, knocking off former top-10 player Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4 in the fifth set as a qualifier in 2012.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Donaldson is ranked No. 109, down from a career-high No. 96 in September. Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander, has dropped out of the rankings after climbing as high as No. 63 in March 2014.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bryans drop round-robin match; Klahn advances

Bruno Soares, left, and Jamie Murray, playing at Indian Wells in
March, defeated Bob and Mike Bryan 6-3, 6-4 today in the ATP
World Tour Finals in London. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers lost decisively in the round-robin phase of the ATP World Tour Finals in London while Bradley Klahn continued his run in the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger today.
   Third-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, who led Stanford to the NCAA team title in both of their years there (1997 and 1998), fell to second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil 6-3,
6-4.
   "We certainly played a great match from start to finish," Murray, the older brother of singles world No. 1 Andy Murray, crowed to reporters. "Probably one of our best matches of the year. We served really well throughout, cleaned up well on our serves. I think we both returned the ball smartly, put it in some difficult spots for them. and we were really active around the net.
   "I think we're both super-pumped about the win and should have a good chance to progress further in the tournament now."
   Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion from Stanford, led fifth-seeded Sam Groth of Australia 7-6 (5), 0-0 in the first round when Groth retired because of vertigo caused by a sinus infection. Klahn, a 26-year-old qualifier, is playing in his first tournament since undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015.
   The 38-year-old Bryan twins have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles, but none since the 2014 U.S. Open, and 112 overall.
   "They are the greatest team ever," insisted Murray, who won this year's Australian Open and U.S. Open with Soares. "There's no disputing that, I think, with the number of titles they've won. If we want to be the best, we've got to beat the best."
   The ATP World Tour Finals consists of the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams of the year. With one round-robin match remaining in the Edberg/Jarryd Group, Murray and Soares lead the standings at 2-0. The Bryans and Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo are 1-1, and Treat Huey/Max Mirnyi are 0-2.
   The Bryans, seeking their fifth title in the ATP World Tour Finals, will play Huey and Mirnyi on Thursday.
   The top two teams from both the Edberg/Jarryd Group and the Fleming/McEnroe Group will advance to Saturday's semifinals.
   Groth, who looks like a linebacker at 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters) and 218 pounds (99 kilograms), holds the unofficial record for the world's fastest serve. He blasted a 163.7-mph (263.4-kph) delivery in the 2012 Busan (South Korea) Challenger.
   Klahn will play Tennys Sandgren, a 25-year-old former Tennessee All-American, in the second round. Sandgren trounced wild card Aron Hiltzik, a University of Illinois junior playing on his home indoor courts, 6-1, 6-2 on Monday in the first round.
   Klahn is 4-1 against Sandgren, who also has a Northern California connection. He played for the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis in 2015, the team's only year of existence.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Big week for ex-Stanford stars; BNP tickets on sale

Bob, left, and Mike Bryan, shown after their first-round
victory in the U.S. Open on Aug. 31, won their opener
in the ATP World Tour Finals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers and Bradley Klahn grew up in Southern California and won NCAA titles at Stanford.
   Other than that, they have little in common.
   The Bryan twins stayed at Stanford for two years, helping the Cardinal win the NCAA team title in 1997 and 1998. Bob Bryan achieved a rare "Triple Crown" -- the NCAA singles, doubles (with Mike) and team titles -- in 1998. Then the pair embarked on a career as arguably the greatest men's doubles team ever.
   Klahn won the 2010 NCAA singles title as a sophomore, underwent the first of his two back operations in 2011 and graduated in economics in 2012. He rose to a career-high No. 63 in singles in 2014 and his second surgery in February 2015.
   This is a big week for all three players. The Bryans, 38, are trying to salvage a disappointing year with a fifth doubles title in the ATP World Tour Finals in London. The 26-year-old Klahn, playing in his first tournament since his second operation for a herniated disc, qualified today for the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger.
   The third-seeded Bryans, from Camarillo in the Los Angeles area, beat sixth-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 7-6 (3), 6-0 in a round-robin opener on Sunday. The Bryans -- who won the title in 2003 and 2004 in Houston, 2009 in Shanghai and 2014 in London -- will play second-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil on Tuesday.
   While Murray and Soares won the Australian Open and U.S. Open this year for their first Grand Slam men's doubles titles individually or together, the Bryans failed to capture a major for the second consecutive year. They won the last of their record 16 Slams in the 2014 U.S. Open.
   With three titles (all on clay) this year, the Bryans are in danger of finishing with their fewest since 2000. Not only have they been unable to win a title since the Italian Open in May, they have not reached a final since losing to Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation) of Spain in the French Open in early June.
   Still, the last half of the year has been eventful for the Bryans.
   They split with coach David MacPherson in August and hired 40-year-old Serbian Dusan Vemic, who coached his country's Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro that month. Vemic, a two-time Grand Slam semifinalist in doubles, played under the Bryans' father, Wayne, with the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2010 and 2011.
Bradley Klahn, practicing in Sacramento last fall, is play-
ing in his first tournament in almost two years following
his second back operation. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers became the first team to record 1,000 career victories in Vienna in October and received their 12th straight ATP Fan Favorite award in doubles last week.
   "We've been on the verge of having a breakthrough but haven't been able to get over that hump," Bob Bryan told reporters in London on Saturday. "We've had a coaching change this year and are very happy with Dusan Vemic as our new coach. We've been working hard on a lot of new things and are waiting for it to pay off. We have been putting in the time and the work.
   "It's tougher to be here competing for the No. 1 spot, but at the same time it's nice to be the underdog and take the guys by surprise. I feel like we're moving in the right direction and good things are coming. Hopefully sooner than later."  
   Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander from the San Diego suburb of Poway, dispatched Ruan Roelofse of South Africa 6-3, 6-2 today after edging second-seeded Peter Kobelt, a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) American, 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (3) on Sunday.
   Klahn is scheduled to meet fifth-seeded Sam Groth of Australia on Tuesday in the first round of the indoor tournament. Groth, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters) and 218 pounds (99 kilograms), holds the unofficial record for the world's fastest serve. He blasted a 163.7-mph (263.4-kph) delivery in the 2012 Busan (South Korea) Challenger.
   BNP Paribas Open -- Daily tickets and daily double packages for the 2017 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells recently went on sale.
   The tournament, scheduled for March 6-19, is offering a new grounds pass with access to all non-reserved seating in Stadiums 2-9. Prices range from $20 to $50.
   The daily double package guarantees the same seat for day and evening sessions. Series, mini, group and hotel packages also are available.
   Novak Djokovic captured the BNP men's singles title for the third consecutive year and fifth overall in 2016. Victoria Azarenka won the women's singles crown for the second time, but she is expecting her first child at the end of this year and hopes to return to the tour by the 2017 U.S. Open.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ex-Stanford star Klahn wins first match of comeback

Bradley Klahn practices in Sacramento in October 2015.
On Saturday, he played his first official match since under-
going his second operation for a herniated disc in his back
in February 2015. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Next week's $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger is one of the last tournaments of the year.
   But Bradley Klahn's season is just beginning.
   Playing his first official match in almost two years, the 26-year-old wild card and former Stanford star routed Tim Kopinski, a former University of Illinois All-American from Palos Hills, Ill., in the Chicago area, 6-2, 6-1 on Saturday in the first round of qualifying for the indoor tournament in Champaign.
   Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander from the San Diego suburb of Poway, had not played since undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015.
   He will face second-seeded Peter Kobelt from New Albany, Ohio, today in the second round. Kobelt, a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) former All-American at Ohio State, received a first-round bye.
   Klahn won the 2010 NCAA singles title as a sophomore, underwent his first disc operation in 2011 and graduated in 2012 in economics. He reached the second round of the U.S. Open in 2012 and 2013 and climbed as high as No. 63 in the world in March 2014.
   Because of his layoff, though, Klahn has dropped out of the rankings.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saratoga's Gordon verbally commits to Stanford

Michaela Gordon lines up a forehand during her loss to Storm
Sanders of Australia in the first round of the $50,000 Stockton
Challenger in July. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The defending national champion Stanford women have received their second verbal commitment from a San Francisco Bay Area star in the last four months.
   This one likely will enroll.
   Michaela Gordon, 17, said she will attend Stanford, a 20-minute drive up Interstate 280 from her home in Saratoga, beginning in the fall of 2017.
   "It came down to Duke and Stanford," Gordon, a two-time Wimbledon girls quarterfinalist who's ranked fifth in the Class of 2017, told tennisrecruiting.net. "Aside from those schools, I didn't really look anywhere else. I went on unofficial visits, and both are amazing schools, obviously.
   "At Stanford, I really loved the campus, which I was really familiar with anyway. And when I talked with the girls on the team, I felt I fit in really well. I love all the girls on the team, and that was a really important thing. The coaches were important as well. It was a really good fit for me, the perfect fit."
   Gordon's father, Robert, is a heart surgeon, and her mother, LuShan, was a dentist. Michaela said she has "always put academics as a priority. I'm home-schooled, but I've always been into school and always been a good student."
   Gordon has played extensively on the USTA Pro Circuit, reaching the quarterfinals in Redding at 15. She is ranked No. 760 in the world after climbing as high as No. 600 in April.
   CiCi Bellis, also 17, verbally committed to Stanford, a five-minute drive from her home in Atherton, in July but turned pro in September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier.
   Last week, Bellis won her second consecutive $50,000 Canadian indoor hardcourt tournament to crack the top 100 in the world for the first time at No. 90.
   Stanford leads all schools with 18 NCAA women's team titles. Next is Florida with six. Duke has one.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rankings mover of the week: CiCi Bellis (up)

CiCi Bellis, 17, talks to the media during the Bank of the
West Classic at Stanford in July. Bellis lives in Atherton,
a five-minute drive from Stanford. She cracked the top
100 in the world this week with her second straight title.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Two months after turning pro, CiCi Bellis became the youngest player ranked among the top 100 women in the world.
   By far.
   Bellis, a 17-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, improved 11 places to No. 90 with her second straight title in a $50,000 Canadian indoor hardcourt tournament last week.
  The top-seeded Bellis overcame fourth-seeded Jesika Maleckova, a 22-year-old Czech, 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 to win the Tevlin Challenger in Toronto. Bellis also won Saguenay two weeks earlier.
   Bellis was born 15 months after the next youngest player in the top 100, No. 48 Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Konjuh, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist in September, will turn 19 on Dec. 27.
   Bellis reached the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier. At 15, she stunned 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open. Cibulkova was the runner-up to since-retired Li Na of China in the Australian Open that year.
WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from last week in parentheses):
Men's singles
   No. 31 (-2) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 162 (+1) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 293 (career high, +49) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 398 (+3) -- Dmitry Tursunov, 33-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area, 
   No. 711 (+1) -- Ryan Haviland, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 822 (-26) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star. 
Men's doubles
   No. 5 (no change) -- Bob Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford..
   No. 5 (no change) -- Mike Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 48 (+1) -- Scott Lipsky, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 99 (no change) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 146 (career high, +14) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 304 (career high, +30) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 421 (-30) -- John Paul Fruttero, 35-year-old former Cal All-American.
   No. 658 (-1) -- John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star
Women's singles
   No. 36 (no change) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 76 (no change) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.   
   No. 90 (career high, +11) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area..
   No. 220 (+22) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 345 (-13) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 489 (+2) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.
   No. 760 (+41) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area
Women's doubles
   No. 21 (no change) -- Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 33-year-old San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal.
   No. 59 (no change) -- Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 142 (-14) -- Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 252 (no change) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 317 (-1) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.   
   No. 431 (+28) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 622 (-3) -- Maegan Manasse, 21-year-old Cal senior.
   No. 709 (+7) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area. 
   No. 749 (-3) -- Alexandra Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area. 
   No. 749 (-3) -- Kat Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area.
   No. 887 (-8) -- Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 967 (-11) -- Karina Vyrlan, 18-year-old Sacramentan. 
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