Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Teen stuns defending champion Kerber in U.S. Open

   Two champions of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford played today in first round of the U.S. Open.
   Only one advanced.
   No. 6 seed Angelique Kerber, the defending champion at Flushing Meadows, lost to Naomi Osaka, 19, of Japan 6-3, 6-1 during the day session at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Kerber won the 2015 Bank of the West.
   It was Osaka's first top-10 victory and the first time the defending champion lost in the first round of the U.S. Open since Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.
Madison Keys applauds the crowd at last month's
 Bank of the West Classic, which she won, at
Stanford. Photo by Mal Taam
   No. 15 seed Madison Keys, who won last month's Bank of the West Classic, opened the evening session with a 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over Elise Mertens of Belgium at Ashe.
   Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs leads Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 6-0, 1-6, 1-0 in a match suspended by rain. The contest is scheduled to resume on Wednesday at 8 a.m. PDT. Partly cloudy weather with only a 10 percent chance of rain is forecast.
   Ashe is the only stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center with a roof.
   Cepede Royg, 25, is ranked No. 75, and Gibbs, a 24-year-old Southern Californian, is No. 127. But Gibbs won their only previous meeting, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round at Carlsbad, Calif., in 2015 on a hardcourt. Both players are undersized, Gibbs at 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) and Cepede Royg at 5-foot-4 (1.63).
   The winner will face top-ranked Karolina Pliskova, who outclassed Magda Linette of Poland 6-2, 6-1.
   CiCi Bellis' first-round match against Nao Hibino of Japan was pushed back to Wednesday after the 8 a.m. match between No. 18 seed Gael Monfils and fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Court 17.
   Bellis, who grew up a five-minute drive from Stanford in Atherton, is 2-0 against Hibino, who won the inaugural Stockton Challenger in 2015. Bellis, 18, is the youngest player in the top 50 at No. 36. Hibino, 22, is ranked No. 80.
   In second-round matches scheduled for Wednesday:
   --No. 17 seed Sam Querrey, a 29-year-old San Francisco native, will meet diminutive Dudi Sela (5-foot-9 or 1.75 meters and 144 pounds or 65 kilograms) of Israel.
   --Sloane Stephens, a 24-year-old Fresno product, will take on No. 11 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.
   --Sofia Kenin, who won last month's Stockton Challenger, will play qualifier Sachia Vickery in a matchup of Miami-area residents. Kenin, 18, ousted No. 32 seed Lauren Davis of Orlando, Fla., in the first round.

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