Sunday, December 31, 2017

A. Zamarripa, Quan stay hot in Winter Nationals

   Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the Napa area and Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento region continued their remarkable runs in the USTA National Winter Championships today.
   Zamarripa upset a seed for the fourth time to reach the girls 16 semifinals in Orlando, Fla. Quan, seeded seventh in the boys 12s, throttled top-seeded Nicholas Mangiapane of Davidson, N.C., 6-0, 6-1 in the quarterfinals in Tucson, Ariz. Quan has lost only seven games in his five matches.
   Zamarripa ousted No. 11 Carmen Corley of Albuquerque, N.M., 6-4, 6-2 in the hard-court tournament. Zamarripa also knocked off No. 4 Anessa Lee of San Marino in the Los Angeles region in the first round, No. 17 Allison Zipoli of Winnetka, Ill., in the third round and No. 13 Katja Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., in the fourth round.
   Zamarripa will take on No. 1 Gianna Pielet of El Paso, Texas. Pielet held off No. 10 Rosie Garcia Gross of New York 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 after edging Leyden Games of Newport Beach 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in the fourth round.
   Fourth-seeded Allura and Maribella Zamarripa lost to top-seeded Corley and Pielet 6-3, 6-4 in the doubles semis.
   Meanwhile, No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento and No. 10 Anushka Khune of Palo Alto advanced to the girls 14 semis in Tucson, but No. 14 Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area lost.
   Nelson beat No. 17 Nevena Carton of Middletown, N.J., 7-5, 6-2, and Khune outclassed Emma Baker of Chicago 6-2, 6-3. Khune has not lost a set in her five matches.
   Midori Castillo, from the San Diego suburb of Bonita, dominated Main 6-1, 6-3 to prevent an all-Northern California matchup against Khune.
   In the boys 14 quarterfinals in Tucson, No. 3 Samir Banerjee of Basking Ridge, N.J., downed No. 14 Brian Chong of Cupertino (near San Jose) 6-3, 7-5.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A. Zamarripa reaches quarters in Winter Nationals

   Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the Napa area upset No. 13 seed Katja Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., 7-5, 6-2 today to reach the girls 16 quarterfinals in the USTA National Winter Championships in Orlando, Fla.
   Wiersholm is the third seed Zamarripa has beaten in the hard-court tournament. She also ousted No. 4 Anessa Lee of San Marino in the Los Angeles region in the first round and No. 17 Allison Zipoli of Winnetka, Ill., in the third round.
   Zamarripa will meet No. 11 Carmen Corley of Albuquerque, N.M. Corley topped Bridget Stammel of Dallas 6-1, 6-7 (7), 6-2.
   No. 17 seed India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to Justine Dondonay of Alhambra in the Los Angeles region 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (6).
   Zamarripa also advanced to the doubles semifinals with her sister Maribella. Seeded fourth, they will face top-seeded Corley and Gianna Pielet of El Paso, Texas.
   Three NorCal girls advanced to the singles quarters in the Winter National 14s in Tucson, Ariz. No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento and No. 14 Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area prevailed in three sets, and No. 10 Anushka Khune of Palo Alto won in straight sets.
   Unseeded Gavathri Krishnan and Emily Novikov, both from the San Jose area, lost in the girls 12s in Tucson.
    In the boys 18s in Orlando, No. 3 Kevin Zhu of Pearland, Texas, beat Marcus McDaniel of Vacaville (near Sacramento) 6-2, 6-4.
   Two NorCal boys stayed alive in Tucson. No. 14 Brian Chong of Cupertino (near San Jose) survived against No. 8 Louis Cloud of San Antonio 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the 14s. No. 7 Rudy Quan, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, routed No. 11 Meethre Bardot of Frisco, Texas, 6-0, 6-2 in the 12s.
   Quan will take on No. 1 Nicholas Mangiapane of Davidson, N.C.

Friday, December 29, 2017

McDaniel gains last 16 of Winter National boys 18s

   Marcus McDaniel of Vacaville surprised No. 17 seed Robert Baylon of Buena Park in the Los Angeles area 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 today to reach the boys 18 round of 16 in the USTA National Winter Championships on hard courts in Orlando, Fla.
   McDaniel, the only remaining Northern Californian in the age group, will face No. 3 seed Kevin Zhu of Pearland, Texas. Zhu defeated Andre Ilagan of Honolulu 6-3, 6-4. McDaniel reached the semifinals of the 16s last year in Scottsdale, Ariz.
   The three remaining NorCal girls in the 18s lost. Falling to high seeds were No. 17 seeds Jessi Muljat of Sacramento and Connie Ma of Dublin and unseeded Emily Zhou of Palo Alto.
   Only two NorCal boys are left in other age groups: No. 14 Brian Chong of Cupertino in the 14s and No. 7 Rudy Quan of Roseville in the 12s. They are playing on hard courts in Tucson, Ariz.
   Other NorCal girls advancing were:
   --No. 17 seed India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon and unseeded Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the 16s in Orlando.
   --No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento, No. 10 Anushka Khune of Palo Alto and No. 14 Tomi Main of Seaside in the 14s in Tucson. Nelson won the Easter Bowl 12s at Indian Wells, Calif., in March and turned 12 in June.
   --Unseeded players Emily Novikov of Campbell and Gavathri Krishnan of Cupertino in the 12s in Tucson.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Novikov upsets No. 2 seed in Winter National 12s

   Emily Novikov of Campbell in the San Francisco Bay Area ousted No. 2 seed Madeleine Jessup of Rancho Palos Verdes in the Los Angeles region 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4 today in the second round of the girls 12s  at the USTA National Winter Championships in Tucson, Ariz.
   Novikov will play unseeded Ellie Gyuro of Bountiful, Utah. Gyuro beat No. 17 seed Mariana Shulman of Newton, Mass., 3-4, retired (illness).
   Advancing in the girls 14s were No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento and No. 10 Anushka Khune of Palo Alto.
   In the second round of the boys 14s, Will Mayew of Chapel Hill, N.C., knocked off No. 2 Max Fardanesh of Albany in the Bay Area 7-6 (3), 6-2.
   Three boys and three girls from Northern California advanced in the Winter National 18s in Orlando, Fla. Winning in the boys draw were Marcus McDaniel of Vacaville, Eric Hadigian of Sacramento and John Carroll of Greenbrae. Triumphing in the girls bracket were No. 17 seeds Jessi Muljat of Sacramento and Connie Ma of Dublin and unseeded Emily Zhou of Palo Alto.
   Winners in the 16s in Orlando included No. 17 seeds Karl Lee of Sacramento and Zachery Lim of Fairfield among boys and No. 17 India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon and Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena among girls.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Stephens' U.S. Open title heads top stories of 2017

Sloane Stephens, playing at Indian Wells last year, won the U.S. Open less
than two months after returning from foot surgery. Photo by Mal Taam
   Everyone who predicted that Jelena Ostapenko and Sloane Stephens would win Grand Slam singles titles this year, please raise your hand.
   Serena Williams' absence for the last three majors while expecting and delivering her first child didn't hurt. That opened the way for Ostapenko, a 20-year-old Latvian, and Stephens, a 24-year-old Fresno product, to break through.
   Here are the top 10 stories of the year, plus 10 honorable mentions:
   1. Stephens wins U.S. Open -- Only two months after returning from foot surgery, Stephens routed her close friend Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in 61 minutes to win the U.S. Open.
   It was the first Grand Slam final for both players, the first all-American women's final in the U.S. Open since Serena Williams defeated Venus Williams in 2002 and the most lopsided women's final at Flushing Meadows since Kim Clijsters trounced Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-1 in 2010.
   Stephens became only the second unseeded woman to win the U.S. championships in the Open Era (since 1968) and the first American woman not named Williams to capture the title since Lindsay Davenport in 1968.
   2. Bellis named WTA Newcomer of the Year -- CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, jumped from No. 90 at the beginning of the year to a career-high No. 35  in August.
   Bellis defeated four top-20 players during the season: No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska in Dubai, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova in Toronto, No. 14 Petra Kvitova at Stanford and No. 18 Kiki Bertens in the French Open.
   Bellis ended the year at No. 60 after withdrawing from the Hawaii Open, for an undisclosed reason, in November as the defending champion.
   3. Querrey upsets Nadal for title -- San Francisco native Sam Querrey completed a dream week with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) victory over Rafael Nadal for the Mexican Open title in Acapulco in March. Querrey, unseeded at No. 40 in the world at the time, beat a top-20 player for the fourth time in four days. Two of them, Nadal and defending champion Dominic Thiem, were ranked in the top 10.
   Querrey, who turned 30 in October, ended the year with a career-high ranking of No. 13.
   4. Querrey reaches Wimbledon semifinals -- Coming off three consecutive five-set victories, Querrey lost to 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in a semifinal matchup of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) players at Wimbledon.
   Querrey, the first player to win three straight five-set matches at Wimbledon since Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 10 years ago, became the only active U.S. man to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal.
   5. Stanford's Geller tops world junior rankings -- Stanford freshman Axel Geller of Argentina rose to No. 1 in the ITF world junior boys rankings in November. It's uncertain if another college player has achieved that distinction.
   Geller reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open junior finals this year, losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and Wu Yibing of China, respectively. Geller won the Wimbledon doubles title with Hsu Yu Hsiou of Taiwan.
   6. Altamirano helps Virginia win third straight NCAA title -- Collin Altamirano, a junior from Sacramento, helped the Virginia men win their third consecutive NCAA title, and fourth in five years, with a 4-2 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina in Athens, Ga.
   Virginia became the first team from outside the Pacific-12 Conference to win three straight NCAA titles or more. Altamirano turned pro after the departure of longtime coach Brian Boland, forgoing a chance to join Stanford's Paul Goldstein (1995-98) and USC's Steve Johnson (2009-12) as the only men to win four NCAA team titles. Virginia senior Henrik Wiersholm also could add his name to the list.
Australian qualifier Chris O'Connell and his coach, David Moore, headed
straight into a wildfire near Sonoma before quickly turning around.
Photo courtesy of Chris O'Connell
   7. Aussie reaches semis after harrowing evacuation -- Chris O'Connell called it the "scariest moment of my life."
   The 23-year-old Australian, who was trying to qualify for the $100,000 Fairfield Challenger, had been evacuated with his coach and their host family as wildfires raged in nearby Napa. But as O'Connell and coach David Moore of Australia headed to Greenbrae in the San Francisco Bay Area, they encountered a wall of flames 200 yards ahead. O'Connell and Moore quickly turned around and took another route to safety.
   O'Connell not only qualified but reached the semifinals, losing to Bay Area native and eventual champion Mackenzie McDonald.
   8. Norrie wins back-to-back Challengers -- Eighth-seeded Cameron Norrie, a 22-year-old left-hander from Great Britain, routed sixth-seeded Darian King of Barbados 6-1, 6-3 in 68 minutes in the wind in Stockton for his second consecutive NorCal Challenger title.
   The previous week, Norrie rolled to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., for the Tiburon crown.
   9. Phenom Anisimova wins first pro title -- Fifteen-year-old Amanda Anisimova, a potential superstar from Aventura, Fla., won her first professional title when Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic (pronounced Eye-la Tom-lee-on-o-vich) withdrew from the final of the $60,000 Sacramento Challenger with a right shoulder injury.
   Missy Malool said the walkover is only the second she has experienced in a final in her 21 years as a USTA on-site supervisor. Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia pulled out against former Stanford star Laura Granville in a $50,000 clay-court tournament in Charlottesville, Va., in 2006 with a leg injury.
   10. Ovrootsky, Keenan Mayo win Eddie Herr titles -- Second-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky, from San Jose, beat fourth-seeded Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 6-4 for the girls 14 title in the prestigious Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla., in November.
   Unseeded Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Keenan Mayo, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, topped eighth-seeded Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros of Mexico and Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan 3-6, 6-4 [10-4] for the boys 18 doubles crown.
Madison Keys sits on CoCo Vandeweghe's
lap after beating her close friend for the title
in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
Photo by Mal Taam 
   Honorable mention -- The Bank of the West Classic, a WTA tournament held at Stanford since 1997, will move to an undisclosed site in or out of the Bay Area.
   --Bellis earned her first victory over a top-10 player, ousting No. 6 Radwanska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in February.
   --Bellis crushed Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, 6-2, 6-0 in 62 minutes in the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic.
   --Maria Sharapova defeated Jennifer Brady 6-1, 4-6, 6-0 in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic in the former world No. 1's first tournament match in North America in more than two years. Sharapova, 30, returned from a 15-month doping suspension in April.
   --After beating fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe 7-6 (4), 6-4 for the title in the Bank of the West Classic, Madison Keys walked to Vandeweghe's chair, hopped on her close friend's lap and hugged her.
   --McDonald, a 22-year-old Piedmont product, defeated former Stanford star Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-2 in Fairfield for his first Challenger singles title after going 0-7 in semifinals at that level.
   --Qualifier Zhang Ze subdued seventh-seeded Vasek Pospisil of Canada 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in San Francisco to become the second Chinese man to win a Challenger singles title. Wu Di took the Maui crown in January 2016.
   --San Francisco Bay Area residents Katie Volynets and Ryder Jackson won titles in the USTA Junior Clay Court Championships. Volynets triumphed in girls 18 singles in Memphis, Tenn., and Jackson prevailed with Robert Cash of New Albany, Ohio, in boys 16 doubles in Delray Beach, Fla.
   --Ovrootsky swept the girls 12 singles and doubles crowns in the USTA National Winter Championships in January in Tucson, Ariz.
   --Priya Nelson of Sacramento dominated Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, 6-1, 6-3 in a matchup of unseeded players in the Easter Bowl girls 12s final at Indian Wells, Calif.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nelson falls in Junior Orange Bowl quarters

   No. 2 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium routed No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento 6-2, 6-0 today in the girls 12 quarterfinals at the Junior Orange Bowl on clay in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Nelson won the Easter Bowl 12s in March in Indian Wells.
   Costoulas will play No. 3 No. 3 Alexandra Eala of the Philippines in the singles-only tournament. Eala beat No. 9 Kayla Cross of Canada 7-6 (5), 6-1.
   In the other semifinal, No. 1 Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic will meet No. 8 Clervie Ngounoue of Washington, D.C
    Fruhvirtova lost to Vivan Ovrootsky of San Jose in the final of the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago on a hard court in Bradenton, Fla.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Nelson advances to Junior Orange Bowl quarters

   Seventh-seeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento topped Mao Mushika of Japan 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 today to reach the girls 12 quarterfinals in the Junior Orange Bowl on clay in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Nelson is scheduled to face second-seeded Sofia Costoulas of Belgium on Sunday at 8 a.m. PST. Costoulas beat Savaka Ishii of Japan 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-1.
   Nelson won the Easter Bowl 12s title in March in Indian Wells.

Friday, December 15, 2017

You cannot be serious: McEnroe analyzed in book

   John McEnroe grew up in New York, still lives there and has a second home in fashionable Malibu, a Los Angeles-area enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
   But McEnroe also is a Northern California legend. He won the 1978 NCAA singles title in his only year at Stanford and captured five singles and nine doubles title in the San Francisco Bay Area stop on the pro tour before the tournament moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2014. The singles total ties Andre Agassi for the most in the Open Era (since 1968), and the doubles amount is unsurpassed in that period.
   The first seven of McEnroe's doubles titles in the Bay Area came with New Jersey native Peter Fleming. The last two were with Mark Woodforde of Australia and, at the preposterous age of 47 in 2006, Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden.
   Scoop Malinowski's recent book, "Facing McEnroe," consists of quotes about the 58-year-old International Tennis Hall of Famer and renowned tennis commentator. Malinowski also has written "Facing Federer," "Facing Nadal," "Facing Hewitt" and "Facing Sampras."
   McEnroe's second book, "But Seriously," came out in June.
   Here are some sample quotes from "Facing McEnroe":
   --Former world No. 3 Brian Gottfried: "We obviously go back a long ways. He was a guy that had more talent in two fingers than most of us had in two arms. There weren't many guys that you'd go to watch. You'd play your match and leave and prepare for your next match. He was a guy I used to go watch. Because, like I said, his talent level was beyond what the rest of us could do. ... I think he could have been the greatest of all time if he had the work ethic at a young age that he has now. ... "
   --Paul Goldstein, Stanford men's tennis coach and former pro who lost with ex-Cardinal teammate Jim Thomas to McEnroe and Bjorkman in the 2006 SAP Open doubles final in San Jose, 7-6 (2), 4-6 [10-7]. " ... (McEnroe) was the best player on the court for the majority of that match. He was playing with Jonas Bjorkman, who was number one in the world in doubles at the time. All due respect to Jonas, who was phenomenal, but there were times when John was by far the best player on the court. Hit the spots on his serve so well. He doesn't move around the court as well as he used to, but, man, if he was there, he just still has every shot. It was fun. ... "
   --Goldstein, on hitting with McEnroe at Stanford about five years ago: " ... No one was watching, (but) he brought the same level of competitiveness to that one single practice set that he would in a match. He didn't want to lose that practice set, the same way he might not want to lose the French Open final. He just brings out that level of competitiveness, I think, to everything he does."
   --Former world No. 7 and Stanford star Tim Mayotte, on whether McEnroe intentionally erupted to distract opponents: " ... To me, to call it intentional is not accurate. I think it was instinctive. And he was clearly out of control many times. To the point of it being -- I'm not sure that the right word is -- vicious. That's the way he lived. .... "
   --McEnroe, on the qualities he admires most in people: "It's not easy to go out there and give 100 percent. And run the risk of losing. I respect that the most in athletes. The guys that go out there and play hard. They don't give up on it. You can't be a loser if you go out there and give it your best. You're a winner if you go out and do that. Most people can't do that, shockingly enough. They find ways to quit. To me, that's the biggest quality. And the other one would be honesty."

Nelson reaches last 16 in Junior Orange Bowl 12s

   Northern California's hopes in the Junior Orange Bowl now rest with Priya Nelson.
   The seventh-seeded Nelson, from Sacramento, topped Marylove Edwards of Nigeria 7-6 (2), 6-2 today to reach the round of 16 in the girls 12s at the Junior Orange Bowl on clay in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Nelson, who won the Easter Bowl 12s in March, will face unseeded Mao Mushika of Japan in the singles-only tournament. Mushika routed Ada Jane De Alcantara of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-1, 6-1. Nelson could face second-seeded Sofia Costoulas of Belgium in the quarterfinals.
   Fourth-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose and unseeded Hina Inoue of Los Gatos lost in the girls 14s. No. 17 seed Klara Milicevic of Sweden outlasted Ovrootsky, who won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla., 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. China's Li Zongyu, also seeded 17th, beat Inoue 6-4, 6-4.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Bay Area's Inoue upsets seed in Junior Orange Bowl

   Hina Inoue of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area ousted ninth-seeded Elaine Chervinsky of Boca Raton, Fla., 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 today in the second round of the girls 14s in the Junior Orange Bowl at Coral Gables, Fla.
   Inoue and Vivan Ovrootsky of San Jose reached the doubles semifinals of the 14s in the Eddie Herr International Championships two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla.
   Ovrootsky won the Eddie Herr 14s in singles. Seeded fourth in that age group in the Junior Orange Bowl, Ovrootsky dispatched Danielle Tuhten of Canada 6-2, 6-3.
   Seventh-seeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento advanced in the girls 12s, beating Meera Jesudason of Berwyn, Pa., 6-4, 6-1.
   Max Fardanesh of Albany and ninth-seeded Ria Bhakta of Los Gatos lost by retirement in the boys 14s and girls 12s, respectively. Fardanesh withdrew from his match against Pedro Boscardin Dias of Brazial, and Sayaka Ishi of Japan defeated Bhakta 6-4, 2-0, retired.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NorCal seeds coast in Junior Orange Bowl openers

   All three Northern California seeds breezed to first-round victories today in the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   In the girls 14s, No. 4 Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose overwhelmed Lakshanya Vishwanath of India 6-1, 6-0. Ovrootsky won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla.
   In the girls 12s, No. 7 Priya Nelson of Sacramento crushed Ella James of Canada 6-0, 6-0, and No. 9 Ria Bhakta of Saratoga dominated Miezi Gutzeit of Germany 6-3, 6-1.
   Two unseeded Northern Californians also advanced, and one lost.
   In the girls 14s, Hina Inoue of Los Gatos blitzed Valentina Silva of Brazil 6-0, 6-0, but Yuu Ishikawa of Los Altos fell to No. 9 Mara Guth of Germany 6-0, 6-2. In the boys 14s, Max Fardanesh of Albany defeated Milo Gazivoda of Montenegro 6-1, 7-5.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Three NorCal girls seeded in Junior Orange Bowl

   Three Northern California girls are seeded in the Junior Orange Bowl, Wednesday through Dec. 19 at four sites in the Miami area.
   Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose is No. 4 in the 14s. Priya Nelson of Sacramento and Ria Bhakta of Saratoga are No. 7 and No. 9, respectively, in the 12s.
   Ovrootsky, who won the Eddie Herr 14s two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla., will open against Lakshanya Vishwanath of India. Nelson will play Ella James of Canada, and Bhakta will take on Miezi Gutzeit of Germany.
   Three other Northern Californians are unseeded: Hina Inoue of Los Gatos and Yuu Ishikawa of Los Altos in the girls 14s and Max Fardanesh of Albany in the boys 14s.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bank of the West Classic to leave Stanford

As it turned out, the Bank of the West Classic ended a 21-year run at Stanford
with an indelible image as Madison Keys sat on CoCo Vandeweghe's lap after
beating her close friend for the title in August. Photo by Mal Taam 
   The San Francisco Bay Area stop on the WTA tour has no site and no sponsor.
   Other than that, the tournament is in great shape.
   All that's known at this point is that Stanford University no longer will host a WTA tournament.
   IMG, which runs the event, tweeted Friday: "After 21 years of partnering with Stanford University, IMG has been notified by the University that its policy of hosting corporate sponsored events on campus has changed and Stanford no longer will be able to host a WTA event at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium. IMG's highest priority is to keep the event in the Bay Area and we are working on a plan to do so."
   Stanford's decision is odd for several reasons:
   --No commercialism is very admirable, but what's that swoosh on the uniforms of Stanford athletes, including tennis players? Will the athletic department terminate its lucrative endorsement deal with Nike, too? Stop laughing hysterically.
   --The campus is very quiet during the summer tournament. What, the junior lacrosse camp backs up traffic to Millbrae?
   --Not that Stanford, which is wealthier than Bahrain, needs the money, but it received rent for hosting the tournament.
   --Nor, apparently, is the university interested in free national television exposure. Who knows, even Heisman Trophy voters in the East might notice eventually.
   --With Venus and Serena Williams approaching retirement, Stanford is throwing away a heaven-sent gate attraction for the next 15 years. Eighteen-year-old phenom CiCi Bellis grew up five minutes from Stanford in affluent Atherton, and her parents still have a house there. Of course, Bellis would have to win a Grand Slam singles title or three to draw casual fans.
   So what now? Playing the tournament indoors in its slot during the outdoor hard-court season leading up to the U.S. Open reportedly is not an option. That rules out San Jose's SAP Arena, the site of the now-defunct SAP Open on the men's tour, and Oakland's Oracle Arena, the home of the Golden State Warriors and site of the WTA tournament from 1979 through 1996.
   Inside Tennis reported that IMG has had talks with San Jose State and Silicon Valley and East Bay clubs as well as sites in the eastern United States, including North Carolina.
   Maybe Larry Ellison, the multi-billionaire who lives near Stanford in Woodside and owns the wildly popular BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, will save the WTA tournament.
   Tradition, though, doesn't seem to count for much these days. Founded in 1971, the WTA tournament in the Bay Area is the oldest women's tennis event in the world. It was sponsored by Bank of the West from 1992 through this year and held at Stanford since 1997. Past champions include Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Margaret Smith Court, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.
   The SAP Open moved to Rio de Janeiro in 2014 after 125 years in Northern California. After 28 seasons in Sacramento, the Capitals of World TeamTennis announced in early 2014 that they were moving to Las Vegas. The franchise folded one month later when owner Deepal Wannakuwatte was charged with orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme involving his medical supply business. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence.
   As Inside Tennis reported, only eight years ago, California had six ATP and WTA tournaments: Indian Wells, Los Angeles, San Jose, Stanford, Carlsbad and Carson. Now the state that has produced Don Budge, Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Pete Sampras, King, Davenport, Helen Wills Moody, Tracy Austin and many other legends might be down to one.
   You don't have to be Nick Bolliettieri to figure out what's going on here. The United States hasn't had a men's Grand Slam singles champion since Andy Roddick in 2003. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka never played in the SAP Open. Andy Murray never returned to San Jose after winning his second straight title there at age 19. Venus Williams won the last of her seven major singles crowns in 2008, announcing in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disease. Serena Williams played in the Bank of the West once since 2012, and that was three years ago. Maria Sharapova returned to the tournament this year for the first time since 2011.
   Barring injury, Bellis would have played every year. Guaranteed.   

Friday, December 8, 2017

Keenan Mayo's doubles winning streak snapped

   Keenan Mayo's doubles winning streak ended today at seven matches. 
   Barely.
   The 17-year-old product of Roseville in the Sacramento area and Tomas Kopczynski of Delray Beach, Fla., lost to Daniil Glinka of Estonia and Sumit Sarkar of New York 6-1, 1-6 [10-8] today in a battle of unseeded teams in the boys 18 quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Mayo won last week's Eddie Herr title in Bradenton, Fla., with Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria. Mayo's brother, Aidan, reached the singles semifinals in the Eddie Herr 14s.
   Keenan Mayo has signed a letter of intent to play at Illinois next fall.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hardcourts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past singles winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg 1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Singles winners of the tournament on hardcourts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).
   

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Keenan Mayo reaches Orange Bowl doubles quarters

   Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area extended his doubles winning streak to seven matches today. 
   Tomas Kopczynski of Delray Beach, Fla., and Mayo topped Allan Deschamps and Hugo Gaston of France 2-6, 7-6 (7) [10-6] in a matchup of unseeded teams to reach the boys 18 quarterfinals in the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Mayo won last week's Eddie Herr title in Bradenton, Fla., with Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria. Mayo's brother, Aidan, reached the singles semifinals in the Eddie Herr 14s.
   Kopczynski and Mayo, who will enroll at the University of Illinois next fall, will play unseeded Daniil Glinka of Estonia and Sumit Sarkar of New York. Glinka and Sarkar beat unseeded Justin Schlageter and Leopold Zima of Germany 1-6, 7-6 (3) [10-8].
   In the second round of girls 18 doubles, top-seeded Caty McNally of Cincinnati and Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton dominated unseeded Niluka Madurawe of Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area and Luba Vasilyuk of Frisco, Texas, 6-3, 6-1. Madurawe has verbally committed to Stanford.
   Osuigwe turned 15 in April and two months later became the first American to win the French Open girls singles title since Jennifer Capriati in 1989.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Future Stanford players retire in Orange Bowl

   Both Alexandre Rotsaert and Niluka Madurawe are headed to Stanford next fall.
   And both retired from their second-round matches today in the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla. In fact, all singles players with Northern California ties have been eliminated from the prestigious tournament.
  Daniel Michalski of Poland ousted the seventh-seeded Rotsaert, from Boca Raton, Fla., 7-5, 0-0, retired in the boys 18s. Rotsaert reached the quarterfinals of last week's Eddie Herr International Championships on clay in Bradenton, Fla.
   Sixth-seeded Nika Radisic of Slovenia downed Madurawe -- from Sunnyvale, 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) southeast of Stanford in the San Francisco Bay Area -- 6-4, 1-0, retired in the girls 18s.
   Meanwhile, Northern Californians Aidan Mayo and Marcus McDaniel lost to higher seeds in the third round of the boys 16s.
   No. 7 seed Roi Ginat of Israel defeated No. 9 Mayo, from Roseville, 6-3, 6-4. No. 1 Nini Gabriel Dica of Romania beat No. 13 McDaniel, from Vacaville, 7-5, 6-0. Mayo advanced to the semifinals in the Eddie Herr 14s last week. Dica and Ginat will meet in the quarterfinals.
   Keenan Mayo, Aidan's older brother, and Madurawe remain alive in doubles.
   Tomas Kopczynski of Delray Beach, Fla., and Mayo ousted sixth-seeded Thomas Bosancic of Austria and Sangeet Sridhar of Glendale, Ariz., 7-6 (3), 7-5 in the first round. Mayo and Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria won the Eddie Herr 18s.
   Madurawe and Luba Vasilyuk of Frisco, Texas, beat Tanisha Kashyap of India and Alexandra Vagramov of Canada 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round. Madurawe and Vasilyuk will face top-seeded Caty McNally of Cincinnati and Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton.
   In the boys 16 doubles quarterfinals, top-seeded Cezar Cretu of Romania and Dica edged fifth-seeded Alexander Lee of Oak Brook, Ill., and McDaniel 6-2, 6-7 (4) [10-7].

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Aidan Mayo, McDaniel gain 3rd round of Orange Bowl

   Northern Californians Aidan Mayo and Marcus McDaniel won their second-round matches today in the boys 16s at the rain-delayed Orange Bowl International Tennis Championship on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   The ninth-seeded Mayo, from Roseville, beat Harrison Gold of Aventura, Fla., 6-2, 7-6 (3). The 13th-seeded McDaniel, from Vacaville, eliminated James Tracy of Hilton Head Island, S.C., 6-4, 6-3.
   Mayo, a semifinalist in the Eddie Herr 14s last week, will face seventh-seeded Roi Ginat of Israel. Ginat defeated Ryder Jackson of Nicasio 7-5, 7-5.
   McDaniel will take on top-seeded Nini Gabriel Dica of Romania. Dica dispatched Martin Maldonado of Ecuador 6-2, 6-0. Dica has lost only three games in two matches.
   Fifth-seeded Alexander Lee of Oak Brook, Ill., and McDaniel reached the doubles quarterfinals with a 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory over Juan Bianchi of Ocoee, Fla., and Angel Guerrero Melgar of Spain. Keshav Chopra of Marietta, Ga., and Brandon McKinney of Marietta, Ga., defeated Zachery Lim of Fairfield and Russell Berdusco of Bradenton, Fla., 6-3, 6-4.
   In the first round of the girls 18s, Niluka Madurawe of Sunnyvale routed qualifier Chen Yao of China 6-1, 6-2. Madurawe will play sixth-seeded Nika Radisic of Slovenia.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Stanford commit Rotsaert advances in Orange Bowl

   Stanford-bound Alexandre Rotsaert, seeded seventh from Boca Raton, Fla., beat Tomas Descarrega of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (4) today in the first round of the Orange Bowl boys 18s on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Rotsaert, a quarterfinalist in last week's Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla., will play Daniel Michalski of Poland. Michalski held off Philip Henning of South Africa 6-2, 0-6, 7-5.
   No. 14 seed Aidan McHugh of Great Britain defeated Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area 6-4, 7-6 (2). Mayo, who will enroll at the University of Illinois next year, won the Eddie Herr doubles title with Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria.
   Mayo's younger brother, Aidan, and Marcus McDaniel of Vacaville won in the first round of the boys 16s. Ninth-seeded Aidan Mayo, a semifinalist in the Eddie Herr 14s, routed Daniel Milavsky of Needham, Mass., 6-2, 6-1. McDaniel downed Yuan Zihao of China 6-2, 6-1. Daiki Yoshimura of Japan beat Zachery Lim of Fairfield 6-4, 6-3.
   In the girls 18s, Clara Tauson of Denmark routed Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek 6-1, 6-0. Tauson will turn 15 on Dec. 21 and Volynets 16 on Dec. 31. Niluka Madurawe of Sunnyvale will meet qualifier Chen Yao of China.
   San Jose's Vivian Ovrootsky, who won the Eddie Herr girls 14s, lost to Ziva Falkner of Slovenia 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the 16s.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hardcourts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg 1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Winners of the tournament on hardcourts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).
   
ORANGE BOWL
In Plantation, Fla.
Doubles
First round
Boys 16
   Alexander Lee, Oak Brook, Ill., and Marcus McDaniel (5), Vacaville, def. Martin Maldonado, Ecuador, and Aidan Mayo, Roseville, Calif., 6-1, 7-6 (5).
   Russell Berdusco, Bradenton, Fla., and Zachery Lim, Fairfield, Calif., def. Armin Rostami, Iran, and Yuan Zihao (8), China, 6-4, 6-4.
Girls 16
   Catherine Broerman, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Alisia Manolescu 6), Canada, def. Jenna DeFalco, Tustin, Calif., and Vivian Ovrootsky, San Jose, 5-7, 7-6 (4) [11-9].

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bay Area's Greenwald repeats in National 40s

Jeff Greenwald defeated David McNamara 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
to win the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships
 in La Jolla, Calif. Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Not even David McNamara's hard serving could prevent Jeff Greenwald from winning the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships for the second straight year and third time overall.
   The third-seeded Greenwald, from San Anselmo in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat the top-seeded McNamara, from Delray Beach, Fla., 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours, 13 minutes today in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla.
   "I haven't seen a first serve like that in a long, long time," Greenwald, 51, said in a news release. "Adjusting to that and finding a way to manage that was very, very difficult. It put a lot of pressure on me, and it forced me to go for more on my first serve. I served well, and that made the difference for me today."
   In Saturday's women's final, top-seeded Hiromi Sasano of La Mesa in the San Diego area beat second-seeded Dina McBride of Valencia, near Los Angeles, for the second consecutive year, 7-5, 6-1.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Bay Area's Greenwald reaches National 40 final

   Third seed and defending champion Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo in the San Francisco Bay Area will face top-seeded David McNamara of Delray Beach, Fla., on Sunday for the men's title of the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla.
   Greenwald outlasted second-seeded Samuel Schroerlucke of Memphis, Tenn., 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in today's semifinals. McNamara edged fourth-seeded Stuart Duncan of Laguna Beach in the Los Angeles region 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (4).
   Top-seeded Hiromi Sasano, from La Mesa in the San Diego area, beat second-seeded Dina McBride of Valencia, near Los Angeles, in the women's final for the second consecutive year, 7-5, 6-1.

Ovrootsky, Keenan Mayo win Eddie Herr titles

   Vivian Ovrootsky and Keenan Mayo continued Northern California's recent success in the prestigious Eddie Herr International Championships.
   The second-seeded Ovrootsky, from San Jose, beat fourth-seeded Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (4), 6-4 today for the girls 14 title on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla.
   Ovrootsky, ranked second nationally in the 14s, lost only one set in her six matches. She prevailed 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 against Remika Ohashi of Japan in the second round.
   Unseeded Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Mayo, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, topped eighth-seeded Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros of Mexico and Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan 3-6, 6-4 [10-4] for the boys 18 doubles crown on clay in Bradenton.
   Andreev and Mayo won three of their five encounters in match tiebreakers, including 12-10 in the semifinals. Mayo will enroll at the University of Illinois next fall.
    Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area won the girls 16 singles championship last year, and Sam Riffice, who grew up in the same neighborhood as Mayo, captured the boys 16s in 2014. Riffice will play at the University of Florida.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr tournament 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.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ovrootsky, Keenan Mayo reach Eddie Herr finals

   Two Northern California juniors reached finals in the Eddie Herr International Championships.
   Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose will play for the girls 14 singles title, and Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area will vie for the boys 18 doubles crown.
   The second-seeded Ovrootsky outclassed third-seeded Clarine Lerby of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-0 today on a hard court in Bradenton, Fla. Ovrootsky, ranked second nationally in the 14s, will meet fourth-seeded Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic. Fruhvirtova dominated top-seeded Hina Inoue, Ovrootsky's doubles partner from Los Gatos (near San Jose), 6-2, 6-0.
   Unseeded Adrian Andreev of Bulgaria and Mayo edged Ronan Jachuck of Boca Raton, Fla., and Sumit Sarkar of New York 6-3, 5-7 [12-10] on clay in Bradenton. Andreev and Mayo will play eighth-seeded Alan Fernando Rubio Fierros of Mexico and Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan. 6-4, 6-2 winners over third-seeded Tomas Machac and Ondrej Styler of the Czech Republic.
   Mayo's brother, third-seeded Aidan, lost to his doubles partner, top-seeded Alexander Bernard of Naples, Fla., 6-3, 6-1 in the boys 14 semifinals.
   In the boys 18 singles quarterfinals, top-seeded Timofey Skatov of Russia beat Stanford-bound Alexandre Rotsaert, seeded sixth from Boca Raton, 6-1, 7-5.
   Ovrootsky and Aidan Mayo lost heartbreakers in the doubles semifinals as the top seeds. Seventh-seeded Estefania Gonzalez of Plantation, Fla., and Lorelyz Marruffo of Venezuela nipped Inoue and Ovrootsky 7-5, 6-2 [13-11]. Unseeded Victor Lilov of Raleigh, N.C., and Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J., topped Bernard and Mayo 4-6, 6-2 [10-7].

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Stanford-bound Rotsaert gains Eddie Herr quarters

   The Stanford men already have the top junior in the world, Axel Geller.
   Another top recruit will join the Cardinal next year as fourth-year coach Paul Goldstein continues to rebuild the traditional power.
   Sixth-seeded Alexandre Rotsaert of Boca Raton, Fla., reached the quarterfinals of the prestigious Eddie Herr International Championships with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over 12th-seeded Carlos Lopez Montagud of Spain today.
   Rotsaert, ranked 10th nationally in the 18s, will face top-seeded Timofey Skatov of Russia in the clay-court tournament in Bradenton, Fla. Skatov eliminated 16th-seeded Filip Cristian Jianu of Romania 7-5, 6-1.
   Two Northern Californians, meanwhile, advanced to the semifinals in the boys and girls 14s, respectively, on hard courts in Bradenton.
   No. 3 seed Aidan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area outplayed No. 7 Joel Pierleoni of Great Britain 6-4, 6-2, and No. 2 Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose beat Kyoka Kubo of Japan 7-6 (2), 6-3. Ovrootsky is ranked second nationally in the 14s.
EDDIE HERR INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Bradenton, Fla.
Doubles
Boys 18
Quarterfinals
   Adrian Andreev, Bulgaria, and Keenan Mayo, Roseville, Calif., def. Nicolas Mejia, Colombia, and Uisung Park (1), South Korea, 7-6 (3), 6-4.
Boys 14
Quarterfinals
   Alexander Bernard, Naples, Fla., and Aidan Mayo (1), Roseville, Calif., def. Fnu Nidunjianzan, China, and Ryota Kaneda, Japan, 6-1, 6-3.
Girls 14
Quarterfinals
   Hina Inoue, Los Gatos, Calif., and Vivian Ovrootsky (1), San Jose, def. Dasha Plekhanova, Canada, and Gavriella Smith, New Orleans, 7-5, 7-5.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Rotsaert reaches third round in Eddie Herr 18s

   Stanford-bound Alexandre Rotsaert, seeded sixth from Boca Raton, Fla., routed Allan Deschamps of France 6-2, 6-1 today in the second round of the boys 18s in the Eddie Herr International Championships.
   Rotsaert, who will enroll at Stanford next fall, will face 12th-seeded Carlos Lopez Montagud of Spain for a quarterfinal berth in the clay-court tournament in Bradenton, Fla. Lopez Montagud beat Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-1.
   In the girls 18s, Clara Burel of France topped Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Volynets, who won the 16s last year, will turn 16 on Dec. 31. She is ranked No. 1 nationally in the 16s and No. 4 in the 18s.
  Meanwhile, Aidan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area and Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose reached the quarterfinals in the boys and girls 14s, respectively, on hard courts in Bradenton.
   Mayo, seeded third, beat 13th-seeded Maximo Lucentini Sanchez of Argentina 6-4, 6-1. Ovrootsky, seeded second, eliminated Chae Eun Yoo of Canada 7-5, 6-3. Ovrootsky is ranked No. 2 nationally in the 14s.
EDDIE HERR INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Doubles
Boys 18
Second round
   Adrian Andreev, Bulgaria, and Keenan Mayo, Roseville, Calif., def. Yeudy Villar, Dominican Republic, and Ivan Yatsuk, Bradenton, Fla., 4-6, 6-4 [10-5].
Girls 18
Second round
   Denisa Hindova, Czech Republic, and Oona Orpana, Finland, def. Kristina Novak, Slovenia, and Katie Volynets, Walnut Creek, Calif., 6-4, 6-4.
   Thasaporn Naklo, Thailand, and Naho Sato (7), Japan, def. Carolyn Campana, Hillsborough, Calif., and Abigail Forbes, Raleigh, N.C., 2-6, 6-0 [10-3].
Boys 14
Second round
   Alexander Bernard, Naples, Fla., and Aidan Mayo (1), Roseville, Calif., def. Alexander Bravo, San Francisco, and Petar Teodorovic, Serbia, 6-0, 6-1.
Girls 14
Second round
   Hina Inoue, Los Gatos, Calif., and Vivian Ovrootsky (1), San Jose, def. Daniela Porges, Plantation, Fla., and Nika Vesely, Plano, Texas, 6-4, 6-3.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mayo, Ovrootsky advance in Eddie Herr 14s

   Two Northern Californians beat Japanese players today in second round of the 14s in the Eddie Herr International Championships.
   But Aidan Mayo had a far easier match.
   The third-seeded Mayo, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, coasted to a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Ryota Kaneda in boys 14s of the hard-court tournament in Bradenton, Fla.
   On the girls side, second-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose outlasted Remika Ohashi 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Ovrootsky is ranked second nationally in the 14s.
   The second round of the boys and girls 18s on clay in Bradenton is scheduled for Wednesday. Stanford-bound Alexandre Rotsaert, seeded sixth from Boca Raton, Fla., will play qualifier Allan Deschamps of France, and Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area will meet Clara Burel of France.
   Volynets, who won the 16s last year, will turn 16 on Dec. 31. She is ranked No. 1 nationally in the 16s and No. 4 in the 18s.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr 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.
EDDIE HERR INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Doubles
Boys 18
First round
   Adrian Andreev, Bulgaria, and Keenan Mayo, Roseville, Calif., def. William Grant, Orlando, Fla., and Govind Nanda, Cerritos, Calif., 7-5, 7-5.
Girls 18   
First round
   Kristina Novak, Slovenia, and Katie Volynets, Walnut Creek, Calif., def. Nika Radisic, Slovenia, and Stefania Rogozinska Dzik (8), Poland, 7-5, 3-6 [10-4].
   Carolyn Campana, Hillsborough, Calif., and Abigail Forbes, Raleigh, N.C., def. Diae El Jardi, Morocco, and Anastasia Iamachkine, Peru, 6-3, 4-6 [10-8].
   Caty McNally, Cincinnati, and Whitney Osuigwe (1), Bradenton, Fla., def. Ana Geller, Argentina, and Niluka Madurawe, Sunnyvale, Calif., 6-2, 6-4.
Boys 14
First round
   Alexander Bernard, Naples, Fla., and Aidan Mayo (1), Roseville, Calif., def. Adi Dagan and Eytan Michaeli, Israel, 6-1, 7-5.
Girls 14
First round
   Hina Inoue, Los Gatos, Calif., and Vivian Ovrootsky (1), San Jose, Calif., bye.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rotsaert, headed to Stanford, survives in Eddie Herr

   Stanford-bound Alexandre Rotsaert, seeded sixth from Boca Raton, Fla., edged Andrew Paulson of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (0) today in the first round of the 18s in the prestigious Eddie Herr International Championships in Bradenton, Fla.
   Rotsaert, who will join the Cardinal next fall, will meet the winner of the match between Seon Yong Han of South Korea and qualifier Allan Deschamps of France.
   Dostanbek Tashbulatov of Kazakhstan wore down Keenan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0. Mayo will attend Illinois next fall.
   In the girls 18s, Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area defeated Himari Sato of Japan 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-0. Volynets, who won the 16s last year, will turn 16 on Dec. 31.
   Second-seeded Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina dismissed wild card Carolyn Campana of Hillsborough 6-1, 6-0. Also, Victoriia Dema of Ukraine beat Niluka Madurawe of Sunnyvale 7-5, 6-1. Hillsborough and Sunnyvale also are Bay Area suburbs.
   Third-seeded Aidan Mayo, Keenan's brother, and second-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky, from San Jose, advanced in straight sets in the boys and girls 14s, respectively.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr 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.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bryans eliminated from ATP Finals

   The end of Bryan brothers' Hall of Fame career is approaching.
   It could come next year for the 39-year-old former Stanford stars. But not now with Mike Bryan and Canada's Daniel Nestor tied for the most doubles match victories with 1,056.
   Fifth-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan ended another disappointing season with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to alternates Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia today in the ATP Finals in London. Marach and Pavic replaced Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcel Granollers of Spain because of an undisclosed injury.
   The Bryans, who grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area and now live in the tax haven of Florida, finished 1-2 in round-robin play. They have won the title four times, most recently in 2014.
   In Saturday's semifinals, top-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil will face eighth-seeded Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas, and Michael Venus of New Zealand, and second-seeded Henri Kontinen of Finland and John Peers of Australia will meet fourth-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil.
   Each semifinal team except Murray and Soares won a Grand Slam title this year. Kontinen and Peers, the defending champions in the ATP Finals, triumphed in the Australian Open. Harrison and Venus took the French Open crown, and Kubot and Melo prevailed at Wimbledon.
   Third-seeded Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania went 0-3 in the ATP Finals. They won the U.S. Open.
   The Bryans, owners of a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, failed to win one for the third consecutive year. Their number of tour-level titles has declined in each of the last five years from 11 (tying their career high) to 10 to six to three to two. They have 112 overall.
   The Bryans led Stanford to NCAA team championships in both of their years there (1997-98). Bob Bryan won a rare Triple Crown in 1998, also claiming the NCAA singles and doubles titles (with Mike).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Bryans lose to top seeds in ATP Finals

   Top-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil beat fifth-seeded Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan 6-4, 6-3 today in a round-robin match at the ATP Finals in London.
   Kubot and the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Melo, this year's Wimbledon champions, improved to 2-0 in the Woodbridge-Woodforde group to clinch a berth in Saturday's semifinals.
   The 39-year-old Bryan twins, four-time champions, fell to 1-1. To advance, the ex-Stanford stars must defeat seventh-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcel Granollers of Spain on Friday, and Kubot and Melo must beat fourth-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil.
   Murray and Soares routed Dodig and Granollers 6-1, 6-1 to improve to 1-1 in the tournament featuring the top eight teams of the year. Dodig and Granollers are 0-2.
   French Open champs Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas, and Michael Venus of New Zealand lead the Eltingh-Haarhuis group at 2-0. 
   The Bryans won the ATP Finals in 2003 and 2004 in Houston and 2009 and 2014 in London. They have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles but none since the 2014 U.S. Open.
   The Bryans grew up in Camarillo in the Los Angeles area and now live in Florida.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bryans eke out win in ATP Finals opener

   Fifth-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan edged fourth-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil 7-5, 6-7 (3) [10-8] today in a round-robin opener at the ATP Finals in London.
   The 39-year-old Bryan twins, who seek their fifth title in the tournament, saved three set points in the first set. They will play top-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil on Wednesday.
   Kubot and Melo, this year's Wimbledon champions, beat seventh-seeded Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcel Granollers of Spain 7-6 (2), 6-4.
   The Bryans, ex-Stanford stars, won the ATP Finals in 2003 and 2004 in Houston and 2009 and 2014 in London. The owners of a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles, they failed to win one for the third consecutive year in 2017.
    The doubles field in the ATP Finals consists of the top eight teams of the year. Each team plays three round-robin matches, and the top four pairs advance to Saturday's semifinals. 
    The Bryans led Stanford to NCAA team championships in both of their years there (1997-98). Bob Bryan won a rare Triple Crown in 1998, also claiming the NCAA singles and doubles titles (with Mike).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Stephens falls again, but U.S. ends title drought

CoCo Vandeweghe exhorts the crowd during the
Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford in Aug-
ust. Photo by Mal Taam
   Despite another loss by U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, the United States won its first Fed Cup title in 17 years today.
   With the U.S. and host Belarus tied 2-2 after singles, Shelby Rogers and CoCo Vandeweghe defeated Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the deciding match in Minsk.
   It was the Americans' 18th Fed Cup title, more than any other country. Next is the Czech Republic with 10.
   Vandeweghe, who cracked the top 10 in the world for the first time in the year-end rankings at No. 10, gave the United States a 2-1 lead in the two-day competition with a 7-6 (5) 6-1 victory over Sabalenka, ranked No. 78 at 19 years old. Vandeweghe, a two-time runner-up in the Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford (2012 and this year), trailed 1-4 in the tiebreaker.
   Sasnovich, ranked 87th, then edged the 13th-ranked Stephens 4-6, 6-1, 8-6 to set up the deciding doubles match. Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, is 0-6 since defeating countrywoman Madison Keys in September for her first Grand Slam title.
   "I'm just really thrilled for all four players (including Alison Riske, who did not play)," Kathy Rinaldi, who completed her first year as the U.S. Fed Cup captain, told reporters. "CoCo came out and just played unbelievable, Shelby stepped up, and Sloane -- my heart was broken for her, but she battled the whole weekend. She battled all the way to the end. I'm so proud of all four of them."
   Vandeweghe, 25, became the first player to win eight Fed Cup matches in a year since the current format began in 2005 and the first to win the maximum six singles matches since Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic in 2011.
   "It was a lot of work and a lot of dedication to the Fed Cup in each and every round," Vandeweghe said. "I dedicated my time and energy through my season to be able to perform the best I could for Team USA."
   Both teams were missing star players this weekend. For the United States, Serena Williams is on maternity leave, 37-year-old Venus Williams skipped the Fed Cup this year, Keys cited a wrist injury, and doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands is recovering from knee surgery. Belarus' Victoria Azarenka has child custody issues that also caused her to miss the U.S. Open.

Ex-Stanford star Zhao wins $100K Shenzhen

   One week after Kristie Ahn won the biggest title of her career, her former Stanford teammate Carol Zhao did the same.
   The unseeded Zhao, a 22-year-old Canadian, beat fourth-seeded Fangzhao Liu of China 7-5, 6-2 on an outdoor hard court today for the $100,000 Shenzhen (China) title.
   "It's been a long way here since January and I owe this to a small group of people whose belief in me never wavered even when mine did," Zhao tweeted. "There are still many, many more miles to go but I'm so so grateful for you, and for this."
   Zhao soared from No. 221 in the world to a career-high No. 150 with the title. Her only previous singles crown came in a $25,000 tournament in Nanao, Japan, in early September.
   Zhao, 5-foot-5 (1.65 meters), reached the NCAA singles final as a sophomore in 2015, losing to Jamie Loeb of North Carolina. Zhao turned pro in June 2016 after helping Stanford claim its 18th NCAA women's team title. Florida is next with seven.
   Ahn, a 25-year-old American, won last week's $80,000 RBC Pro Challenger in Tyler, Texas. 

Jackson, Yeah win Fall Sectional singles titles

   Ryder Jackson and Ashley Yeah won the boys and girls 18 titles, respectively, in the NorCal Junior Fall Singles Sectional Championships last weekend at the Broadstone Racquet Club in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom.
   The second-seeded Jackson of Nicasio beat unseeded Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara 6-3, 6-4. The top-seeded Yeah of Los Gatos outplayed second-seeded Rachel Eason of Union City 6-4, 6-2.
   Here are the results of other finals in the singles-only Sectionals:
16s
At Broadstone Racquet Club in Folsom
Boys
   Kush Patel (2), Cupertino, def. Sidharth Jangbahadur (1), Palo Alto, 6-2, 6-2.
Girls
   Allura Zamarippa (5), Saint Helena, def. Alexis Johnson (9), Fair Oaks, 6-1, 6-4.
14s
At Fremont Tennis Center
Boys
   Alex Koong (2), Los Altos, def. Lucca Liu (5), Palo Alto, 6-3, 6-4.
Girls
   Tomi Main (1), Seaside, def. Arushi Malik (5), Cupertino, 6-1, 6-1.
12s
At UC Santa Cruz
Boys
   Mitchell Lee (2), Oakland, def. Siddharth Moturi (1), Monterey, 8-6.
Girls
   Natasha Rajaram (2), Cupertino, def. Michela Moore (9), Monte Sereno, 8-2.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Stephens upset; U.S. tied 1-1 in Fed Cup final

   The United States recorded one victory on the opening day of the Fed Cup final.
   But it didn't come from U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens.
   CoCo Vandeweghe, who cracked the top 10 for the first time in the year-end rankings at No. 10, defeated 87th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 6-4 in today's first match in Minsk, Belarus.
   But the 13th-ranked Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, lost to 19-year-old Aryna Sabalenka, ranked 78th, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Stephens, 24, is 0-5 since beating countrywoman Madison Keys for her first Grand Slam title.
   The best-of-five series will continue on Sunday with the reverse singles matches followed by doubles. The United States has won 17 Fed Cup titles, more than any other team, but none since 2000. The U.S. is playing in its first Fed Cup final since 2010 and Belarus its first ever.
   Vandeweghe, 25, reached her second Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford in August, losing to close friend and countrywoman Madison Keys.
   As always in the Fed Cup and Davis Cup, the series between the United States and Belarus is as noteworthy for who's missing as for who's playing. Absent are Serena Williams (maternity leave), 37-year-old Venus Williams (skipping Fed Cup this year), Keys (wrist) and Bethanie Mattek-Sands (knee surgery) for the United States and Victoria Azarenka (child custody issues) for Belarus.
   Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Azarenka are former world No. 1s in singles with multiple Grand Slam titles. The same goes for Mattek-Sands in doubles.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Sac State's Losbergs sweeps Invitational titles

Sacramento State's Mikus Losbergs, a junior from Latvia, swept the singles
and doubles titles in the Pacific Men's Tennis Invitational. Photo courtesy
of Sacramento State
   Sacramento State's Mikus Losbergs swept the singles and doubles titles in the recent Pacific Men's Tennis Invitational in Stockton.
   Losbergs, seeded second in singles, outlasted sixth-seeded Tadiwa Chinamo of Pacific 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the final. In the doubles final, top-seeded Losbergs and Kasparas Zemaitelis defeated Connor Garnett and Kamran Khan 8-3.
   "This tournament was the best tennis I have ever seen Mikus play," Sac State assistant coach Kevin Kurtz said of the junior from Latvia on hornetsports.com. "He's always been a great player, but he was in a zone during the entire tournament. I don't think you could play a better weekend of tennis, and for him to win three matches on the final day was extremely impressive and showed a lot of heart."
   The nine-team field also included Fresno State, Saint Mary's, Cal Poly and UC Davis.
   Sac State ended its fall season in the tournament. The Hornets will open their spring season on Jan. 19 at Saint Mary's. Sac State's home opener is scheduled for Jan. 21 against Cal Poly. All home matches will be played on campus.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Stanford's Geller tops world junior boys rankings

   From the pros to college to the juniors, it was a sensational two days for Stanford.
   On Sunday, ex-Cardinal star Kristie Ahn won the $80,000 Tyler (Texas) Challenger for the biggest title of her career. Also, sophomore Emily Arbuthnott and freshman Michaela Gordon won the women's doubles title in the ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells, Calif.
   On Monday, freshman Axel Geller of Argentina rose to No. 1 in the ITF world junior boys rankings. It's uncertain if or when another college player has achieved that distinction.
   Geller reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open junior finals this year, losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain and Wu Yibing of China, respectively. Geller won the Wimbledon doubles title with Hsu Yu Hsiou of Taiwan.
   Stanford, coached by alumnus and former world top-60 player Paul Goldstein, will open its dual-match season against San Francisco on Jan. 19 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Ahn nears top 100 after winning $80K Tyler title

Kristie Ahn, left, and Danielle Collins shake hands after Ahn's victory in
the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger in July.
Ahn beat Collins again on Sunday to win the $80,000 Tyler (Texas)
Challenger. Photo by Rob Vomund
   After winning the biggest title of her career, Kristie Ahn is close to cracking the top 100 in the world for the first time.
   The former Stanford star, seeded fourth, beat unseeded Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-4 in an all-American matchup on Sunday in the final of the $80,000 RBC Pro Challenger in Tyler, Texas.
   Ahn, only 5-foot-5 (1.65 meters), rose nine places to a career-high No. 106 and took the lead in the Australian Open Wild Card Challenge.
   If Ahn, 25, wins the Challenge, gains direct entry into the Australian Open or qualifies, it will be her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament and first in nine years.
   At 16, the product of Upper Saddle River, N.J., qualified for the 2008 U.S. Open before losing to Dinara Safina 6-3, 6-4. Safina was ranked seventh at the time and climbed to No. 1 the following year.
   Numerous injuries followed, but Ahn helped Stanford win the 2013 NCAA team title and graduated the following year as a four-time All-American.
   Ahn improved to 2-0 against Collins, the NCAA singles champion in 2014 and 2016. Ahn won 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger in July. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Stanford pair win ITA National Fall doubles title

Michaela Gordon eyes a forehand in the singles qualifying event of the
$60,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in the Sacramento area in
July. Photo by Rob Vomund  
   Playing only their second tournament together, Stanford's Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon won the inaugural ITA National Fall Championships.
   Arbuthnott, a sophomore from England, and Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono of Mississippi 6-4, 6-1 today in Indian Wells, Calif. Both teams were unseeded.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon won the first three of their five tournament matches in super tiebreakers. They ousted third-seeded fifth-seeded Rosie Johanson and Meghan Kelley of Virginia in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Kelly Chen and Samantha Harris of Duke in the semifinals.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon ended the fall season with an 8-1 record. They reached the doubles semifinals in the ITA Northwest Regional Championships last month at Stanford.
   Gordon earned her second collegiate title and Arbuthnott, who played No. 1 doubles with then-senior Taylor Davidson last season, her first. Gordon won the singles crown in the Northwest Regionals.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Stanford duo to play for doubles title in Fall Nationals

Michaela Gordon volleys in the singles qualifying event
of the $60,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in
the Sacramento area in July. Photo by Rob Vomund
   After pulling off their second consecutive upset, Stanford's Emily Arbuthnott and Michaela Gordon will play for the doubles title in the ITA National Fall Championships.
   The unseeded pair knocked off third-seeded Kelly Chen and Samantha Harris of Duke 6-1, 7-5 today in Indian Wells, Calif.
   Arbuthnott, a sophomore from England, and Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, won all three of their previous tournament encounters in match tiebreakers. They surprised fifth-seeded Rosie Johanson and Meghan Kelley of Virginia in the quarterfinals.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon will play Mississippi's Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono, who beat Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones of Georgia Tech 6-2, 7-6 (5) in a matchup of unseeded teams. Bortles is a sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., and Hartono is a senior from the Netherlands.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Stanford pair reach doubles semis in Fall Nationals

   Stanford's Michaela Gordon and Emily Arbuthnott lost to unseeded players today in the third round of the ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells, Calif.
   However, they reached the doubles semifinals together.
   The 12th-seeded Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, fell to Bianca Turati of Texas 6-2, 7-6 (7). Arbuthnott, a sophomore from England, succumbed to Marie Leduc of Clemson 6-1, 6-2.
   Unseeded in doubles, Arbuthnott and Gordon edged fifth-seeded Rosie Johanson and Meghan Kelley of Virginia 3-6, 7-6 (5) [10-4].
   Arbuthnott and Gordon, who have won all three of their encounters in match tiebreakers, will play third-seeded Kelly Chen and Samantha Harris of Duke. Chen and Harris beat Elena Christofi and Morgan Coppoc of Georgia 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Stanford's Arbuthnott upsets seed in Fall Nationals

   Emily Arbuthnott of Stanford ousted sixth-seeded Katarina Jokic of Georgia 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 today in the second round of the ITA National Fall Championships in Indian Wells, Calif.
   Arbuthnott's teammate, 12th-seeded Michaela Gordon, advanced with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Shiori Fukuda of Ohio State.
   Arbuthnott, a sophomore from England, is scheduled to face unseeded Marie Leduc of Clemson for a quarterfinal berth. Leduc surprised 15th-seeded Maya Sherif of Pepperdine, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Sherif, a senior, transferred from Fresno State after sophomore season.
   Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, will meet unseeded Bianca Turati of Texas. Turati knocked off fourth-seeded Ena Shibahara of UCLA 7-6 (4), 6-2. Shibahara tops the preseason national rankings.
   Both the third round and quarterfinals are set for Friday.
   Top-seeded Anna Danilina of Florida and third-seeded Karla Popovic of Cal lost in the first round on Wednesday. Second-seeded Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine remains alive.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon also reached the doubles quarterfinals, beating Gabrielle Andrews and Jada Hart of UCLA 7-5, 4-6 [11-9]. Arbuthnott and Gordon will play fifth-seeded Rose Johanson and Meghan Kelley of Virginia.
   All men with Northern California connections have been eliminated in singles and doubles.
  Victor Pham, a Columbia junior from Saratoga, lost to ninth-seeded Alfredo Perez of Florida 7-6 (3), 6-4. Logan Staggs, a UCLA senior from Tracy, fell to 10th-seeded JJ Wolf of Ohio State 6-3, 6-1.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gordon, Pham, Hill win ITA Regonal titles

   Three Northern Californians won titles in the recent ITA Regional Championships.
   All three players are from the San Francisco Bay Area, and all triumphed in singles. Michaela Gordon won the Northwest Regional, Victor Pham the Northeast Regional and Sean Hill the Mountain Regional.
   The fourth-seeded Gordon, a Stanford freshman from Saratoga, defeated teammate Emily Arbuthnott, seeded seventh, 7-5, 6-2 on their home courts in Monday's final.
   The top-seeded Pham, a Columbia junior from Saratoga, beat No. 5-8 seed David Volfson of Cornell 6-3, 6-3 at Yale on Monday.
   The unseeded Hill, a BYU sophomore from Berkeley, routed third-seeded Ricky Hernandez-Tong of New Mexico 6-2, 6-1 at BYU on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

NorCal connections of players in WTA Finals

Garbine Muguruza reached the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic
at Stanford in August in her first tournament after winning Wimbledon.
Photo by Mal Taam
   All eight singles players in this week's WTA Finals in Singapore have played in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Here's how they have fared (world rankings and seedings in parentheses):
   Simona Halep (1), Romania -- In her only appearance, lost to Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-2 in first round in 2011.
   Garbine Muguruza (2), Spain -- Reached quarterfinals in 2014 and semifinals this year in her only appearances. Won 2014 doubles title with compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro.
   Karolina Pliskova (3), Czech Republic -- Has made two appearances, losing in second round in 2014 to eventual champion Serena Williams and in 2015 final to Angelique Kerber.
   Elina Svitolina (4), Ukraine -- Reached 2015 semifinals, losing to Kerber, in her only appearance.
   Venus Williams (5), United States -- Has won the singles title twice (2000 and 2002) and reached six other finals in 13 appearances. Made her WTA debut at 14 in 1994 (when the tournament was played indoors in Oakland), losing to Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in second round. Has played doubles once, winning the 2009 title with Serena Williams.
   Caroline Wozniacki (6), Denmark -- In her only appearance, lost to Vavrara Lepchenko in second round in 2015 as top seed after receiving first-round bye.
   Jelena Ostapenko (7), Latvia -- In her only appearance, lost to 17-year-old CiCi Bellis of neighboring Atherton in first round in 2016.
   Caroline Garcia (8), France -- Lost in first round in both appearances (2014 and 2015).

Friday, October 20, 2017

Stephens, Bellis net prestigious awards

   Two of the WTA's six annual awards went to Northern California products today.
   Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, was named the Comeback Player of the Year. CiCi Bellis, from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, was selected as the Newcomer of the Year.
   Other award winners were Garbine Muguruza (Player of the Year), Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan (Doubles Team of the Year), Jelena Ostapenko (Most Improved Player) and Angelique Kerber (Aces Award for exceptional promotion of women's tennis).
   International journalists voted on the awards.
   Stephens, 24, won her first Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open only nine months after undergoing foot surgery. At No. 83, she was the lowest-ranked player to win the U.S. Open in the Open Era (since 1968), aside from unranked Kim Clijsters in 2009. Stephens is now No. 15.
   In response to a congratulatory tweet from the WTA, Stephens wrote: "Thank you guys! It has been an unforgettable year."     
   Bellis, 18, jumped from No. 90 at the beginning of the year to a career-high No. 35 in August. Now No. 44, she is the youngest woman in the top 50. Bellis defeated four top-20 players during the season: No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska in Dubai, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova in Toronto, No. 14 Petra Kvitova at Stanford and No. 18 Kiki Bertens in the French Open.
   "I am so honored to be named Newcomer of the Year by the @WTA," Bellis tweeted. "Thanks to everyone that voted for me. Can't wait for next year!"
   Both Stephens and Bellis are now based in Florida.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Federer pal McDonald wins first Challenger title

Mackenzie McDonald, right, beat a weary Bradley Klahn
6-4, 6-2 today to win the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Chal-
lenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   FAIRFIELD, Calif. -- Mackenzie McDonald is too reserved and modest to mention it, but all those training sessions with Roger Federer appear to be paying off.
   McDonald, a 22-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, defeated former Stanford star Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-2 today to win the $100,000 Northbay Healthcare Men's Pro Championships at Solano Community College.
   McDonald earned his first Challenger singles title after coming to Fairfield 0-7 in semifinals at the level equivalent to Triple A in baseball.
   "I'm super pumped to compete here in NorCal and win," McDonald, who's now based in Los Angeles, gushed after facing Klahn, a 27-year-old resident of Poway in the San Diego area, for the first time. "I've worked really hard, and I think it's showing."
   The sessions with Federer haven't hurt, either.
   "Mackie has trained with him quite a bit," said McDonald's childhood coach, Rosie Bareis, who rushed back home from Florida this morning to attend the final. "He was in Dubai (where the Swiss star has a home) for a few weeks last December. After Roger was eliminated from the French Open, he called Mackie again and said, 'Hey, come to Zurich and train for a week, and let's get ready for Wimbledon together.' At the U.S. Open, when Mackie was in the qualies, he had a day off. Roger called him up and said, 'Let's hit balls,' and they played a couple of sets."
   Federer and McDonald have more in common than one might suspect. Federer's mother, Lynette, is South African, as is another of McDonald's longtime coaches, Wayne Ferreira, who peaked at No. 6 in the world in singles in 1995 and No. 9 in doubles in 2001. He lived in the Bay Area for many years before moving to South Carolina. McDonald still consults Ferreira, who could not be reached for comment.
   "I remember when Mackie said (to Federer), 'Hey, do you know my other coach, Wayne Ferreira?' " said Bareis, the director of tennis at the Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley. "Roger said, 'I ballboyed for that guy (in the Basel Open)!'
   "I think there's a connection (between Federer and McDonald). Roger likes him. He likes a lot of the juniors."
   Ferreira helped McDonald overcome a disheartening loss in the quarterfinals of last week's $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger. McDonald held two match points in a loss to 19-year-old American Michael Mmoh.
   "Wayne told him, 'How I handled it was, there's always going to be another tournament the following week,' " Bareis said. "Look what happened."
   Bareis returned from a United States Professional Tennis Association meeting in Delray Beach, Fla. She caught a 6 a.m. flight from Orlando, Fla., flew nonstop to San Francisco, landed at 8:50 a.m., freshened up at home in Tracy and continued on to Fairfield.
   "I consider Rosie family," McDonald said. "I'm very happy she was here to see me win my first (Challenger) title."
Bradley Klahn is drenched with water in a fundraising
stunt after the singles final. Mackenzie McDonald
nailed the bucket with a shot from the baseline on
his second try. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Bareis worked with McDonald from age 3 to 10 and co-coached him with Ferreira from 10 to 14. The USTA's Mat Cloer now coaches McDonald.
   "There were a lot of people in Northern California in the beginning who thought everything I was doing was wrong," Bareis said. "We were getting up Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and hitting balls from 6 to 8 before school. He comes back in the afternoon, goes to the junior clinic, plays in the East Bay Junior League on Friday and plays tournaments on Saturday and Sunday. Burnout, whatever ...
   "I asked the people in NorCal, 'Why don't we have 8-and-under tournaments? Why does SoCal have 8-and-unders?' At that time, it was 10-and-under, no-ad, round robin, here's a participation ribbon, yay. I was like: 'He's 7 years old. He's going to have to wait how long to win his first trophy?'
   "What I feel good about is that Mackie is one of the kids that set an opportunity for the CiCi Bellises and Vivian Ovrootskys. At least we have somebody in NorCal the kids can say, If those guys from Northern California can make it, I can make it."
   Also attending today's final were McDonald's parents (Michael and Vivian) and grandparents on his father's side, and Klahn's brother, sister and girlfriend. 
   Blue skies returned over the weekend after smoke from nearby wildfires hovered over the area. Several players, their host families and co-tournament director Phil Cello evacuated early in the week, and most of Tuesday's matches were postponed until Wednesday because of "very unhealthy" air quality, according to airnow.gov.
   Between the singles and doubles finals, the crowd observed a moment of silence in honor of the 40 people who died in the blazes, which have destroyed about 5,700 homes and businesses and caused an estimated $3 billion in damage. After the singles final, McDonald and Klahn agreed to be drenched with water in a stunt to aid the Wildfire Relief Fund. Officials posted photos on the tournament website with donation information.
   Both players started the match slowly, losing serve in each of the first three games and five of the first seven. The difference was McDonald quickly recovered while Klahn struggled throughout the match.
   McDonald admitted he was nervous early in the match.
   "Yeah, for sure," he said. "I mean, first (Challenger) final. I felt there was a bit on the line for me, but I'm very happy with how I composed myself this week. I fee like that's always a challenge in pro tennis. I feel like I'm getting the hang of how to calm my nerves, just play tennis and focus on the important things."
   Once McDonald settled down, he pounded his serves and groundstrokes, returned well and put away volleys. For someone who's only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 145 pounds (66 kilograms), he has surprising power. McDonald had four aces and four double faults, and won 26 of 33 points (79 percent) on his first serve.
   "Mackie has always been an all-court player," said Bareis, noting that McDonald swept the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior last year before turning pro. "He knows how to move forward and take time away."
   McDonald tried to stay away from Klahn's punishing forehand, on which he takes a big windup.
   "I wanted to pick on his backhand," said McDonald, who won last year's doubles title in Fairfield with Brian Baker of Nashville, Tenn. "I haven't seen Brad play that much lately, but I know his backhand is a little weaker. I thought he was going to try to get it high to my backhand, which I think he was, but my down-the-line backhand was working well, so I could get out of that position."
   Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, looked nothing like the player who ousted top-seeded Ernesto Escobedo in a scintillating second-round match. The 6-foot (1.83-meter) Klahn put in only 55 percent of his first serves, had one ace and four double faults, won only 8 of 21 points (38 percent) on his second serve, and committed numerous errors.
   Klahn, who underwent his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015 and ended a 21-month layoff last November, was playing in his second final in two weeks. He lost to Maximilian Marterer of Germany 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6) in a $100,000 hard-court tournament in Monterrey, Mexico, last Sunday.
   "I think the best way to describe it is 10 matches in two weeks caught up to me," Klahn, who was seeking his sixth Challenger singles title but first since 2014, said of his disappointing performance today. "Mackie did play well, and I know he was confident up here in these conditions. I couldn't quite get my nose in front, and I struggled with my serve. I was kind of fighting an uphill battle today."
   McDonald, who earned $14,400, will jump from No. 218 to a career-high No. 164 in Monday's updated rankings. Klahn, who collected $8,480, will improve from No. 313 to No. 240. He reached a career-high No. 63 in 2014.
   McDonald and Klahn are scheduled to play in next week's $50,000 Las Vegas Tennis Open, so they will go from the site of one recent tragedy to another.
(Left to right) Second-seeded David O'Hare and Luke Bambridge defeated
wild cards Bernardo Oliveira and Akram El Sallaly from the University of
the Pacific in Stockton 6-4, 6-2 for the doubles title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In the doubles final, second-seeded Luke Bambridge of Great Britain and David O'Hare of Ireland outclassed wild cards Akram El Sallaly of Egypt and Bernardo Oliveira of Brazil 6-4, 6-2, the same score as in the singles final. El Sallaly and Oliveira are teammates at the University of the Pacific in Stockton.
   Bambridge and O'Hare, who split $6,200, almost skipped Fairfield.
   "I was due to fly back home," said O'Hare, 27. "I was trying to stick to four weeks on the road and a couple weeks at home to train. We had good success. We made the final in Columbus (after losing in the quarterfinals in Cary, N.C.) and the semifinals in Tiburon, then lost first round in Stockton.
   "It would have been easy to throw in the towel, but with the (Fairfield) tournament so close (to Stockton), I figured I'd cancel my flight, and come down here and play. You don't want to end on a bad note, and here we are today on Sunday lifting the trophy. Sometimes it works that way, and obviously I'm all too delighted that it has."
   Bambridge, meanwhile, was prepared to play doubles in a $25,000 Futures tournament in Houston this week.
   "When Dave said he was going to stay, I said, 'OK, I'll pull out of the Futures,' " said Bambridge, 22. "We had a really tough first-round (matchup against Klahn and Jackson Withrow of College Station, Texas). Some would say we were extremely unfortunate. Once we came through that, we never looked back.
   "It would have been easy to lose that match and say, Ah, tough draw, but we came through it. From then on, we didn't play our best tennis, but mentally, we were really, really good. We had three match tiebreakers and won them all. We started to jell really well together."
   Here are the complete Fairfield singles and doubles draws.
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