Saturday, September 9, 2017

Anderson, with NorCal ties, to face Nadal in final

Rafael Nadal, right, shakes hands after losing to Roger Federer in the fourth
round at Indian Wells in March. Photo by Mal Taam 
   Alexis Castorri, a Florida sports psychologist, has helped Kevin Anderson become more positive on the court.
   But what's she going to tell him about facing Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open final?
   Good luck? Pray a lot? You're on your own, buddy?
   Nadal is heavily favored to beat Anderson, who has played extensively in Northern California, when they meet on Sunday. ESPN will televise the match beginning at 1 p.m. PDT.
   In Friday's semifinals, a revitalized Nadal dismantled 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro 4-6, 6-0, 6-3, 6-2, and Anderson defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
   Nadal and Anderson are both 31 (Anderson is two weeks older), but that's where the similarity ends.
   Nadal is a 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) left-hander from Spain. Anderson is a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) right-hander from South Africa, making him the tallest Grand Slam finalist in history.
   Nadal is seeded first and Anderson 28th. That makes Anderson the lowest-seeded U.S. Open finalist since the ATP's computer rankings began in 1973.
   Nadal has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles, second in history behind Roger Federer's 19. Anderson will play in his first major final, thanks largely to the injury absences of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.
   "It's nice that some of them gave us a bit of a shot to make a run at this tournament," Anderson quipped to reporters.  
   Anderson is 0-4 against Nadal but does have one advantage. The pressure will be on Nadal. Anderson, with nothing to lose, can hit out on his shots.
   Anderson won the NCAA doubles title in the 2006 tournament at Stanford as an Illinois junior. The following year, he reached the final of a $15,000 Futures tournament in Loomis in the Sacramento area, losing to since-retired American Scoville Jenkins.
   In 2012, Anderson advanced to the quarterfinals of the SAP Open in his only appearance in San Jose and played part-time for the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis. The SAP Open and Capitals folded after the 2013 season.
   Girls singles -- Cori Gauff, a 13-year-old phenom from Atlanta, defeated Katie Volynets, 15, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-3, 6-2 in a quarterfinal matchup of unseeded players.
   In the semifinals, Gauff will meet unseeded Maria Lourdes Carle of Argentina, and fourth-seeded Amanda Anisimova of Hallandale Beach, Fla., will play unseeded Emiliana Arango of Colombia.
   Anisimova, 16, won the $60,000 Sacramento Challenger in July for her first professional title.
   Men's Collegiate Invitational  -- Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior, routed Alfredo Perez, a Florida junior, 6-1, 6-2 to reach the final of the eight-player event.
   Fawcett will face Michael Redlicki, who completed his eligibility at Arkansas in the spring. Redlicki topped Brandon Holt, a USC sophomore and the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3.

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