Saturday, December 15, 2018

Quan reaches boys 12 quarters in Junior Orange Bowl

   For the first time in this year's Junior Orange Bowl, Rudy Quan lost more than two games in a match.
   Still, the Sacramento-area resident had little trouble reaching the boys 12 quarterfinals.
   Quan, seeded first, dispatched qualifier Danial Rakhmatullayev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-2 today in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Quan -- who has won gold balls this year in the Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts -- lost only four total games in his first three matches in the Junior Orange Bowl. He will meet ninth-seeded Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand.
   Boosarawongse beat unseeded Tianhui Zhang of China 6-4, 6-1.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Quan coasts, but four others fall in Junior Orange Bowl

   Rudy Quan rolled into the round of 16 in the boys 12s today at the Junior Orange Bowl.
   But the other four remaining Northern Californians lost in the third round of their respective age groups in Coral Gables, Fla.
   The top-seeded Quan, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, demolished unseeded Matthew Yang of Canada 6-0, 6-0. Quan -- who has won gold balls this year in the Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts -- has lost only four games in his three matches.
   Quan will play Danial Rakhmatullayev, a qualifier from Kazakhstan who surprised ninth-seeded Maxwell Exsted of Savage, Minn., 6-3, 7-6 (1).
   Meanwhile, No. 9 seed Jaden Weekes of Canada beat No. 17 seed Herrick Thomas Legaspi of Sacramento 6-3, 6-4 in the boys 14s.
   No. 5 seed Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose and unseeded Ria Bhakta of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area lost in the girls 14s. No. 17 seed Gracie Epps of Norman, Okla., topped Ovrootsky 4-6, 7-5, 6-1, and No. 2 seed Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, eliminated Bhakta 6-1, 6-4.
   In a matchup of unseeded players in the girls 12s, Shanice Roignot of France outplayed Esther Vyrlan of Sacramento 6-3, 6-3.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NorCal seeds advance in Junior Orange Bowl

   Northern California seeds Rudy Quan, Vivian Ovrootsky and Herrick Thomas Legaspi won in straight sets today in the second round of the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Quan, from Roseville in the Sacramento area, is seeded first in the boys 12s. He has won gold balls this year in the Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts.
   Ovrootsky, from San Jose, is seeded fifth in the girls 14s, and Legaspi, from Sacramento, is seeded 17th in the boys 14s.
   Also advancing in straight sets were Ria Bhakta of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area in the girls 14s and Esther Vyrlan of Sacramento in the girls 12s. Bhakta will face second-seeded Elena Yu of Mason, Ohio.
   Losing were fifth-seeded Mitchell Lee of Oakland and Mason Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the boys 12s, Madison Weekley of Alamo in the girls 14s and Alexis Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the girls 12s.
   All draws consist of 128 players.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bay Area's Bhakta upsets seed in Junior Orange Bowl

   Ria Bhakta of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area surprised 17th-seeded Kateryna Lazarenko of Ukraine 6-1, 6-3 today in the first round of the girls 14s at the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Bhakta will meet Mexico's Claudia Sofia Martinez Solis, who defeated Valentina Silva of Brazil 6-3, 6-4 in the 128-player draw.
   Other Northern Californians advancing in singles were:
   --No. 5 seed Vivan Ovrootsky of San Jose and Madison Weekley of Alamo in the girls 14s.
   --No. 17 seed Herrick Thomas Legaspi of Sacramento in the boys 14s.
   --No. 1 seed Rudy Quan of Roseville, No. 5 seed Mitchell Lee of Oakland and Mason Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the boys 12s.
   --Esther Vyrlan of Sacramento and Alexis Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the girls 12s.
   No. 17 seed Kurt Miller of Los Gatos lost to Gianluca Ballotta of Peru 6-2, 6-2 in the boys 14s. Also falling was Avery Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the girls 12s.
   Quan reached the semifinals of the Eddie Herr, his first international tournament, two weeks ago in Bradenton, Fla. He has won gold balls this year in the Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Houghton falls short in Orange Bowl girls 16 final

   Fourth-seeded Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn., outlasted unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 today in the Orange Bowl girls 16 final in Plantation, Fla.
   Sieg, the runner-up in last week's Eddie Herr International Championship on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla., broke serve in the final game of the final in the prestigious clay court tournament. Houghton survived two championship points in the game.
   Houghton had not dropped more than four games in a set in five matches before the final. Sieg had lost only one, having beaten unseeded Elise Wagle of Niskayuna, N.Y., by the bizarre score of 0-6, 6-0, 6-0 in the third round.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hard courts 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 hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).

Friday, December 7, 2018

Houghton rolls into Orange Bowl girls 16 final

   Unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area beat wild card Jaleesa Leslie of Apopka, Fla., 6-2, 6-4 today to reach the girls 16 final in the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla.
   Houghton has not lost more than four games in a set in five matches in the prestigious clay-court tournament. She knocked off third-seeded Tara Malik of Secaucus, N.J., 6-2, 6-3 in the third round.
   Houghton is scheduled to face fourth-seeded Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn., on Saturday. Sieg topped eighth-seeded Yelizaveta Karlova of Kazakhstan 7-6 (2), 6-3.
   Sieg, the runner-up in last week's Eddie Herr International Championship on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla., has lost one set in five matches in the Orange Bowl. She beat unseeded Elise Wagle of Niskayuna, N.Y., by the bizarre score of 0-6, 6-0, 6-0 in the third round.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Houghton reaches girls 16 semis in Orange Bowl

   India Houghton isn't just winning in the Orange Bowl.
   She's dominating.
   Houghton, from Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area, routed Carson Tanguilig of Alpharetta, Ga., 6-3, 6-1 today in a matchup of unseeded players to reach the girls 16 semifinals in Plantation, Fla.
   In the boys 16 quarterfinals, second-seeded Alexander Bernard of Bonita Springs, Fla., eliminated 12th-seeded Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, 6-4, 6-2.
   The toughest of Houghton's four matches in the prestigious clay-court tournament came in the first round, a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kristen Borland of Canada. Houghton dismissed third-seeded Tara Malik of Secaucus, N.J., 6-2, 6-3 in the third round.
   Houghton is scheduled to play wild card Jaleesa Leslie of Apopka, Fla., on Friday. Leslie overwhelmed unseeded Lara Schneider of Mount Pleasant, S.C., 6-2, 6-1 after ousting second-seeded Jada Bui of Canada 6-4, 6-3 on Wednesday.
   In the other semifinal, fourth-seeded Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn., will meet eighth-seeded Yelizaveta Karlova of Kazakhstan. Sieg reached the final of last week's Eddie Herr International Championship on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Houghton, Mayo advance to Orange Bowl quarters

   India Houghton and Aidan Mayo today reached the girls and boys 16 quarterfinals, respectively, in the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla.
   The unseeded Houghton, from Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area, toppled No. 3 seed Tara Malik of Secaucus, N.J., 6-2, 6-3 in the prestigious clay-court tournament.
   Houghton will meet Carson Tanguilig, a wild card from Alpharetta, Ga., who dismissed Avery Durham of Hilton Head Island, S.C., 6-3, 6-1.
   The 12th-seeded Mayo, a Sacramento-area product who trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson, outlasted unseeded American Joshua Miller 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4.
   Mayo will face No. 2 seed Alexander Bernard, a resident of Bonita Springs, Fla., who eliminated unseeded Andrew Chang of Trophy Club, Texas, 6-3, 6-3.
   In the boys 16 doubles quarterfinals, unseeded Bohua Dong and Haoyuan Huang of China topped No. 4 seeds Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., and Mayo 7-5, 7-6 (3).
   Also losing in doubles were unseeded Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area and Jordyn McBride of Valencia in the Los Angeles region.
   Main and McBride fell to unseeded Ava Catanzarite of Franklin Park, Pa., and Allie Gretkowski of Mount Pleasant, S.C., 6-2, 6-2 after ousting No. 1 seeds Elaine Chervinsky and Madison Sieg in the second round on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Mayo, Houghton reach third round in Orange Bowl

   Aidan Mayo and India Houghton reached the third round of singles and Tomi Main helped pull off a big upset in doubles today, all in the 16s, at the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla.
   The 12th-seeded Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, beat Samir Banerjee of Basking Ridge, N.J., 7-6 (7), 6-2 in the prestigious clay-court tournament.
   Mayo, who trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson, will meet unseeded American Joshua Miller.
   Third-seeded Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain outplayed Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-3, 6-3.
   Mayo also advanced to the doubles quarterfinals with Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y. Seeded fourth, they eliminated Fardanesh and Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J., 6-4, 6-3.
   The unseeded Houghton, from Belvedere Tiburon in the Bay Area, routed Whitney King of Grosse Ile, Mich., 6-0, 6-2 to set up a match against third-seeded Tara Malik of Secaucus, N.J.
   Elise Wagle of Niskayuna, N.Y., downed Main, from Seaside in the Monterey area, 6-4, 6-3.
   Main and Jordyn McBride of Valencia in the Los Angeles region ousted top-seeded Elaine Chervinsky of Boca Raton, Fla., and Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn., 6-4, 6-2 to reach the doubles quarterfinals.
   Ava Catanzarite of Franklin Park, Pa., and Allie Gretkowski of Mount Pleasant, S.C., surprised seventh-seeded Leena Bennetto of Canada and Houghton 6-4, 6-4.
   Main and McBride are scheduled to play Catanzarite and Gretkowski on Wednesday.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mayo, Fardanesh win openers in Orange Bowl 16s

   No. 12 seed Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, and unseeded Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area won their first-round matches in the boys 16s today at the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla.
   The 15-year-old Mayo, who trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson, defeated qualifier Samuel Paquette of Canada 6-4, 6-4 in the clay-court tournament.
   Fardanesh, a doubles finalist in last week's Eddie Herr International Championship in Bradenton, Fla., beat Diego Navarro of Mexico 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Fardanesh is scheduled to face No. 3 seed Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain on Tuesday.
   Luke Casper of Santa Cruz lost to wild card Mark Lajal of Estonia 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Sunday. Casper also fell in the first round of doubles with Esteban Penagos of Colombia.
   In the second round of doubles, No. 4 seeds Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., and Mayo will meet Fardanesh and Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J.
   In girls 16 singles, unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the Bay Area defeated qualifier Kristen Borland of Canada 6-3, 6-4. Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area surprised No. 16 seed Gabriella Broadfoot, a 14-year-old South African, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 on Sunday.
   No. 7 doubles seeds Leena Bennetto of Canada and Houghton advanced in straight sets, as did unseeded Main and Jordyn McBride of Valencia in the Los Angeles area. Main and McBride will take on No. 1 seeds Elaine Chervinsky of Boca Raton, Fla., and Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn.
   No Northern Californians are entered in boys or girls 18 singles or doubles.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It has played on clay until 1998, then on hard courts until 2011. It was 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 hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Greenwald's streak in National 40 Hard Courts ends

Stuart "Ross" Duncan of Laguna Beach poses after winning the
USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships in the San Diego
suburb of La Jolla. Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Jeff Greenwald's reign in the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships ended today.
   Second-seeded Stuart "Ross" Duncan of Laguna Beach beat Greenwald, the top seed and two-time defending champion from San Anselmo in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 for the title in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla.
   Duncan, 42, led 4-1 in the third set. Greenwald, 52, broke serve to cut the lead to 4-3, but Duncan broke back in the next game and held serve for the match.
   Two years ago, Duncan lost a tough three-setter to Greenwald in the semifinals that took over three hours.
   "It totally came to my mind," Duncan said. "In that match, I was up 4-1 in the third, and I lost the match. I said, 'Oh my gosh, this is deja vu.' Fortunately, things went my way in those last two games, and I was able to pull it out."
   Top-seeded Hiromi Sasano of San Diego overcame second-seeded Amanda Parson Siegel of Henderson, Nev., 6-2, 7-5 on Saturday for the women's singles title.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

San Jose's Hashimoto earns big doubles title in boys 16s

   Sixth-seeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose and Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md., edged second-seeded Jack Anthrop of Orlando, Fla., and Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area 3-6, 7-6 (2) [10-8] today to win the boys 16 doubles title at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship in Bradenton, Fla.
   Hashimoto and Kittay won a match tiebreaker for the second consecutive day. They topped unseeded Aleksandr Kalinin of Belarus and Mark Lajal of Estonia 7-6 (3), 6-7 (5) [10-5] in Friday's semifinals.
   Four of Anthrop and Fardanesh's five matches went to match tiebreakers.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr include former world No. 1 players Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Herr, the father of international junior tennis, died in 2000 at 93.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Brooksby, 18, loses; NorCal juniors in Herr doubles final

Amateur Jenson (J.T.) Brooksby, practicing in May, lost
 in his first semifinal in a professional tournament. Photo
by Paul Bauman
   Jenson (J.T.) Brooksby, an 18-year-old wild card and amateur from the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael, lost today in his first semifinal in a professional tournament.
   Brooksby, the reigning USTA boys 18 national champion, fell to unseeded Maxime Cressy of France 6-3, 6-4 in the $25,000 Waco (Texas) Futures. Brooksby, who's headed to Texas Christian, stunned top-seeded Michael Redlicki in the second round.
   Cressy, a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) senior at UCLA, will meet unseeded Michael Geerts of Belgium in Saturday's final. Geerts, who completed his eligibility at Arizona State in May, dismissed unseeded Jacob Dunbar, a former University of Richmond star from Medina, Ohio, 6-3, 6-3.
   Eddie Herr -- A Northern Californian will win the boys 16 doubles title in the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship in Bradenton, Fla.
   Second-seeded Jack Anthrop of Orlando, Fla., and Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area will play sixth-seeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose and Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md. Both teams advanced to the final by winning match tiebreakers 10-5.
   In the boys 12 singles semifinals, sixth-seeded Maximus Dussault of Leesburg, Va., edged top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento area 5-7, 6-2 [10-6].
   Quan also lost in the doubles quarterfinals with Andrew Rundle of Simpsonville, S.C. Seeded first, they fell to sixth-seeded Asror Ismoilov of Omaha, Neb., and Atakan Karahan of Turkey 7-6 (3), 2-6 [10-3].

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Brooksby, 18, advances to semis in $25,000 Waco

Jenson (J.T.) Brooksby practices at the JMG Tennis Academy
in Sacramento in May. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson (J.T.) Brooksby reached his first semifinal in a professional tournament today.
   The 18-year-old amateur and wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area beat unseeded American Nick Chappell 6-2, 6-4 in the $25,000 Waco (Texas) Futures.
   Chappell, 26, starred at Texas Christian, and Brooksby plans to play at the Fort Worth school.
   Brooksby, who won the USTA boys 18 national championship in August, is scheduled to face unseeded Maxime Cressy of France on Friday. Cressy, a 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) senior at UCLA, topped former Bruins teammate Martin Redlicki, seeded seventh, 6-4, 6-4.
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Brooksby ousted Redlicki's 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) brother, top-seeded Michael, in the second round.
   Eddie Herr -- Top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento region breezed past eighth-seeded Thomas Faurel of Aliso Viejo in Southern California 6-2, 6-1 in the boys 12 quarterfinals at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship in Bradenton, Fla.
   Quan, ranked first nationally in the 12s, has lost only seven games in his four tournament matches. He is the last remaining Northern Californian in singles in any age group.
   Two San Jose players lost in the third round. Unseeded Hugo Hashimoto fell to Arda Azkara of Turkey 7-5, 0-6, 6-2 in the boys 16s. Seventh-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky, who won the 14s last year, bowed out to 11th-seeded Abigail Rencheli of Sarasota, Fla., 6-4, 6-3.
   Second-seeded Jack Anthrop of Orlando, Fla., and Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area moved into the boys 16 doubles semifinals with sixth-seeded Hashimoto and Benjamin Kittay of Potomac, Md. The teams could meet in the final.
   Top-seeded Quan and Andrew Rundle of Simpsonville, S.C., advanced to the boys 12 doubles quarterfinals. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Brooksby ($25K), Hashimoto (Herr) score big upsets

   Jenson Brooksby is already feeling at home in Texas.
   The 18-year-old wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, who's headed to Texas Christian in Fort Worth, shocked top-seeded Michael Redlicki of Fayetteville, Ark., 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 today to reach the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Waco (Texas) Futures.
   Redlicki, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) left-hander, is the second-highest-ranked player, at No. 426, and fourth in the top 500 whom Brooksby has beaten. He surprised No. 408 Joao Souza of Brazil in the first round of qualifying for the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in September.
   Brooksby, who won the USTA boys 18 national championship in August, advanced to a Futures quarterfinal for the second time. He lost to Redlicki's younger brother, Martin, in the $15,000 Claremont (Calif.) quarters in September last year.
   Brooksby is scheduled to play Nick Chappell, a 26-year-old former Texas Christian star, on Thursday. Chappell surprised eighth-seeded Hady Habib of Lebanon 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
   Eddie Herr -- Unseeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose upended second-seeded Juan Dominguez of Guatemala 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the second round of the boys 16s at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship in Bradenton, Fla..
   Hashimoto will meet unseeded Arda Azkara of Turkey on Thursday. Azkara eliminated 13th-seeded Alvin Tudorica of Canada 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
   In the second round of the boys 18s, 14th-seeded Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan beat Aidan Mayo, a 15-year-old qualifier who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, 7-5, 6-2.
   Mayo, the younger brother of Illinois freshman Keenan Mayo, trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson.
   Top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville routed unseeded Changmin Ryu of South Korea 6-3, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals in the boys 12s. Quan has lost only four games in three matches.
    In the second round of the girls 16s, seventh-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose dominated unseeded Alexa Karatantcheva of Bradenton 6-3, 6-1, but unseeded Tomi Main of Seaside lost to 10th-seeded Allie Gretkowski of Mount Pleasant, S.C., 6-2, 7-6 (3).
   Ovrootsky, who won the 14s last year, will face 11th-seeded Abigail Rencheli of Sarasota, Fla. Rencheli beat unseeded Isabelle Kouzmanov of Novi, Mich., 6-3, 6-1.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Qualifier Mayo advances in Eddie Herr boys 18s

   Aidan Mayo, a 15-year-old qualifier who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, beat Santiago De La Fuente of Argentina 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 today in the first round of the boys 18s at the Eddie Herr International Junior Championship in Bradenton, Fla.
   De la Fuente, 16, won a Grade A tournament in Yucatan, Mexico, on Sunday.
   Mayo, who trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson, is scheduled to meet 14th-seeded Sergey Fomin of Uzbekistan on Wednesday.
   In the boys 16s, Luke Garner of Arnold, Md., eliminated No. 12 seed Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area 0-6, 7-5, 7-5.
   Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Ekansh Kumar of Vienna, Va. Hashimoto will face second-seeded Juan Dominguez of Guatemala.
   Meanwhile, No. 1 seed Rudy Quan of Roseville dropped only one game in two matches to reach the round of 16 in the boys 12s.
   No. 7 seed Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose and unseeded Tomi Main of Seaside triumphed in straight sets in the first round of the girls 16s. Ovrootsky won the 14s last year.
   Ria Bhakta of Saratoga in the Bay Area lost in the second round of the girls 14s, and Esther Vyrlan of Sacramento fell in the opening round of the girls 12s. Both were unseeded.
   Past competitors in the Eddie Herr include former world No. 1 players Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. Herr, the father of international junior tennis, died in 2000 at 93.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Chaudhary coasts to boys 16 national title; Legaspi falls

   Top-seeded Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara beat 16th-seeded Quinn Vandecasteele of Murray, Utah, 6-3, 6-2 today to win the boys 16 singles title in the USTA National Indoor Championships in Wayland, Mass.
   Chaudhary, ranked fourth nationally in the 16s, survived a harrowing trek to the title. He won three consecutive three-setters, including 7-6 (3) in the third set in the quarterfinals, to reach the final.
   In the boys 14 singles final in Chicago, eighth-seeded Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J., dominated unseeded Herrick Thomas Legaspi of Sacramento 6-2, 6-2.
   Wen encountered little resistance in the tournament, except in his 7-5, 7-6 (5) semifinal victory over sixth-seeded Sebastian Gorzny of Irvine in the Los Angeles area.
   No Northern California boys or girls played in a doubles final in the 18s, 16s, 14s or 12s at various sites.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

NorCal juniors to play for National Indoor singles titles

   Top-seeded Aryan Chaudhary and unseeded Herrick Thomas Legaspi will play for singles titles in their age groups in the USTA National Indoor Championships.
   Chaudhary, from Santa Clara, beat unseeded Liam Krall of Bronxville, N.Y., 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 in the boys 16s in Wayland, Mass.
   Chaudhary, ranked fourth nationally in the 16s, is scheduled to play 16th-seeded Quinn Vandecasteele of Murray, Utah, on Monday. Vandecasteele surprised fifth-seeded Thomas Paulsell of Seattle 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
   Legaspi, from Sacramento, ousted second-seeded Grant Lothringer of The Woodlands, Texas, 6-2, 6-2 in the boys 14s in Chicago.
   Legaspi will face eighth-seeded Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J. Wen topped sixth-seeded Sebastian Gorzny of Irvine in the Los Angeles area 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Two NorCal juniors move into National Indoor semis

   Two Northern California boys will play in the semifinals of their age groups in the USTA National Indoor Championships on Sunday.
   Aryan Chaudhary, seeded first in the boys 16s in Wayland, Mass., and Herrick Thomas Legaspi, unseeded in the boys 14s in Chicago, each won two matches today.
   Chaudhary, ranked fourth nationally in the 16s, beat Gavin Young of Apple Valley, Minn., 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 and Baylor Sai of Nashville, Tenn., 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (3). Both Young and Sai were unseeded.
   Chaudhary will face unseeded Liam Krall, a Bronxville, N.Y., resident who ousted eighth-seeded Saiprakash Goli of Mason, Ohio, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
   Legaspi eliminated unseeded Dylan Charlap of Palos Verdes Estates in the Los Angeles area 6-0, 7-5 and seventh-seeded Ritesh Patil of Katy, Texas, 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4.
   Legaspi will take on second-seeded Grant Lothringer of The Woodlands, Texas. Lothringer topped unseeded Alex Cairo of Dallas 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
   In the girls 18s in Memphis, Tenn., seventh-seeded Ashley Yeah of Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area beat 14th-seeded Carly Briggs of Calhoun, Ga., 6-3, 6-1 in the round of 16 but lost to top-seeded Andrea Cerdan of Bloomfield, N.J., 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-4 in the quarters.
   NorCal players losing in the round of 16 were:
   --Seventh-seeded Ryder Jackson of Nicasio, 13th-seeded Zachery Lim of Fairfield and unseeded Stevie Gould of Corte Madera in the boys 18s in Overland Park, Kan.
   --Unseeded Makenna Thiel of Piedmont in the girls 16s in Minneapolis.
   --Eleventh-seeded Mason Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the boys 12s in Flushing, N.Y.

Friday, November 23, 2018

NorCal juniors reach round of 16 in National Indoors

   Three Northern California boys won their opening two matches in the 18s today in the USTA National Indoor Championships in Overland Park, Kan.
   Advancing to the round of 16 were No. 7 seed Ryder Jackson of Nicasio, No. 13 seed Zachary Lim of Fairfield and unseeded Stevie Gould of Corte Madera.
   Lim, a high school junior who has verbally committed to Penn, lost only five games total. Jackson, a senior headed to USC, also won twice in straight sets.
   Gould, a senior headed to Washington, barely survived. He edged 12th-seeded Daniel Milavsky of Needham, Mass., 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (8) and topped Christopher Li of Westford, Mass., 6-7 (tiebreaker score not available), 6-4, 6-2.
   Other NorCal players advancing to the round of 16 in the National Indoors were:
   --No. 7 seed Ashley Yeah of Los Gatos in the girls 18s in Memphis, Tenn. Yeah has signed to play at Illinois.
   --No. 1 seed Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara in the boys 16s in Wayland, Mass.
   --Unseeded Makenna Thiel of Piedmont in the girls 16s in Minneapolis.
   --Unseeded Herrick Legaspi of Sacramento in the boys 14s in Chicago.
   --No. 11 seed Mason Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the boys 12s in Flushing, N.Y.
   College signings -- Four players from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento have signed letters of intent.
   Eric Hadigian will play at Gonzaga, Ben Keyser at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Klara Kosan at Pacific and Jessi Muljat at San Diego.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Zverev stuns Djokovic for title; Bryan, 40, sets record

   Even though he's only 21, Alexander Zverev has long been touted as a future Grand Slam champion.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) German reached his first major quarterfinal this year and could go further in 2019, perhaps all the way.
   One day after beating second-seeded Roger Federer in straight sets, the third-seeded Zverev shocked top seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 today to win the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Zverev, who began working with International Tennis Hall of Famer Ivan Lendl in August in an effort to improve his Grand Slam results, became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Djokovic 10 years ago at 21.
   Zverev also became the first player to defeat Djokovic and Federer in the tournament, and the first to beat the top two seeds in the semifinals and final of the event since Andre Agassi in 1990.
   "This is the biggest title of my career so far," Zverev, who had lost to Djokovic 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday in a round-robin match, told reporters. "This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only. How I played today, how I won it, for me it's just amazing."
   Djokovic, who had won 35 of his previous 37 matches, was trying to tie Federer's record of six ATP Finals titles.
   "(Zverev) had big serves. I wasn't returning well," said Djokovic, who returned to No. 1 this month after undergoing right elbow surgery in February. "I wasn't making him move too much. I was making way too many unforced errors.
   "From 4-4 in the first set, my game fell apart. But if we put things in perspective, it has been an amazing year and a great comeback."
   Zverev pocketed $2,509,000, and Djokovic collected $1,432,000.
   ATP Finals doubles -- Since pairing for the first time in June, Mike Bryan and Jack Sock have won three titles.
   And we're not talking Umag, Winston-Salem and Chengdu.
   We're talking Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Nitto ATP Finals.
   Bryan (Stanford, 2017-18) and Sock of the United States completed a dream half-season with a 5-7, 6-1 [13-11] victory over Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the title match of the ATP Finals.
   Bryan and Sock, seeded fifth, saved a championship point at 10-11 in the match tiebreaker and converted their sixth championship point when Herbert double-faulted. Herbert and Mahut, the eighth seeds and this year's French Open champions, had routed Bryan and Sock 6-2, 6-2 in 53 minutes on Friday in round-robin play.
   Bryan, 40, became the oldest champion in the history of the ATP Finals and the sixth player to win the title with at least two partners. It was the fifth crown in the tournament for Bryan, who won the others with twin Bob Bryan, and first for Sock, the singles champion in the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2012 and the doubles runner-up in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2011 with countryman Nicholas Monroe.
   Bob, who's recovering from August hip surgery, and Mike plan to reunite next year. They have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles together but none since the 2014 U.S. Open.
   "I've had a magical partnership with Jack, but his No. 1 focus has always been singles," Mike said in a New York Times story published Tuesday. "He knows he was just filling in until Bob comes back."
   Mike Bryan and Sock became the first team to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same season since Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden and Todd Woodbridge of Australia in 2003.
   Herbert and Mahut were bidding to become the first French team to win the ATP Finals since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro in 2005.
   Bryan and Sock shared $479,000; Herbert and Mahut split $279,00.
   ATP Challenger Tour -- Second-seeded Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, beat wild card Roy Smith, a sophomore at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4) in a matchup of American left-handers to win the $150,000 Oracle Challenger Series -- Houston.
   The match was moved indoors because of rain.
   Klahn won his seventh Challenger singles title, his second this year and the biggest of his career. He rose 20 places to No. 77, 14 spots below his career high in 2014. Klahn underwent his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in 2015.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Zverev booed after beating Fed; Bryan in doubles final

Alexander Zverev, shown in 2016, said he was "really upset"
by the London crowd's reaction after he beat Roger Federer
in the semifinals of the ATP Finals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   For the second time in less than three months, a young player was booed after defeating an icon in a big tournament.
   Third-seeded Alexander Zverev toppled second-seeded Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (5) today to reach the final of the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Zverev, a 21-year-old German, halted play after hitting a second serve at 4-4 in the tiebreaker when a ballboy accidentally dropped a ball during the point. According to the rules, the point must be replayed. With another first serve, the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Zverev fired an ace.
   The pro-Federer crowd at O2 Arena thought Zverev, the son of the former Soviet pro with the same name, was using gamesmanship.
   "I was a little bit sad at the end with the booing and reaction of the crowd," Zverev, the first German since Boris Becker in 1996 to reach the title match of the ATP Finals, told reporters. "I was very emotional afterwards. The booing went into cheering kind of afterwards, which kind of helped me.
   "I was really upset afterwards in the locker room -- I'm not going to lie. I had to take a few minutes for myself."
   Federer, who made his Northern California debut in a March exhibition in San Jose, supported Zverev afterward.
   "It's unfortunate that this happened," said the 37-year-old Federer, who fell to 3-3 against Zverev. "Sascha doesn't deserve it."
   The controversy was reminiscent of the U.S. Open final in September, when the crowd booed 20-year-old winner Naomi Osaka during the award ceremony after Serena Williams had been assessed a game penalty for her third code violation.
   Zverev is scheduled to face top-seeded Novak Djokovic on Sunday not before 10 a.m. PST (ESPN2). Djokovic, seeking his sixth crown in the tournament, dismissed fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-2 to improve to 35-2 since the start of Wimbledon.
   This is the first time Djokovic has reached the title match in the ATP Finals without dropping a set.
   Djokovic beat Zverev 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday in the round-robin phase of the ATP Finals to improve to 2-1 (2-0 on hardcourts) in the head-to-head series.
   In Sunday's doubles final at 7:30 a.m. (Tennis Channel), fifth-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 2017-18) and Jack Sock will meet eighth-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France.
    Bryan and Sock, this year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open champions, topped fourth-seeded Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-3, 4-6 [10-4]. Herbert and Mahut, who won the French Open in June, edged second-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia 6-3, 5-7 [10-5].
   Herbert and Mahut routed Bryan and Sock 6-2, 6-2 in 53 minutes on Friday in round-robin play.
   Bryan, 40, hopes to become the oldest doubles champion in ATP Finals history. He is 4-2 in finals in the tournament, all with twin Bob.
   WTA Tour -- Unseeded Maegan Manasse (Cal, 2014-17) and Jessica Pegula of the United States nipped third-seeded Desirae Krawczyk of the U.S. and Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area who plays for Mexico, 1-6, 6-4 [10-8] to win the $150,000 Oracle Challenger Series -- Houston.
   It's by far the biggest title of the 23-year-old Manasse's career and her first with Pegula, the daughter of Buffalo Bills and Sabres owners Terrence and Kim Pegula.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Bryan, Sock lose but reach doubles semis in ATP Finals

   Mike Bryan and Jack Sock didn't exactly end the round-robin phase of the Nitto ATP Finals on a high note.
   But the fifth seeds reached Saturday's doubles semifinals anyway.
   Eighth-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut dominated Bryan (Stanford, 2017-18) and Sock 6-2, 6-2 in 53 minutes today in London to win Group Knowles Nestor. Both teams finished 2-1. Top-seeded Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic (1-2) and third-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo (1-2) were eliminated.
   Fourth-seeded Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares (3-0) and second-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (2-1) advanced in Group Llodra Santoro on Thursday. Sixth-seeded Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus (1-2), seventh-seeded Nikola Mektic and Alexander Peya (0-2), and ninth-seeded Henri Kontinen and John Peers (0-1) were ousted.
   Kontinen and Peers, the two-time defending champions, replaced Mektic and Peya after the 37-year-old Peya suffered an elbow injury.
   In singles today, top seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic beat fifth-seeded Marin Cilic 7-6 (7), 6-2 to improve to 34-2 since the start of Wimbledon. Also, third-seeded Alexander Zverev downed eighth-seeded John Isner 7-6 (5), 6-3. Isner replaced two-time runner-up Rafael Nadal, who withdrew on Nov. 5 with ankle and abdominal injuries.
   Djokovic (3-0) and Zverev (2-1) advanced to the semifinals in Group Guga Kuerten, while Cilic (1-2) and Isner (0-3) were eliminated. Second seed and six-time champion Roger Federer (2-1) and fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson (2-1) moved into the semis in Group Lleyton Hewitt, while sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem (1-2) and seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori (1-2) fell short.
   In Saturday's semis on Tennis Channel, Bryan and Sock are scheduled to face Murray and Soares at 4 a.m. PST, followed by Federer against Zverev not before 6 a.m., Cabal and Farah versus Herbert and Mahut not before 10 a.m., and Djokovic against Anderson not before noon.
   Federer, 37, is 3-2 against the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Zverev, 21. Federer won their last meeting, 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-1 in the round-robin portion of last year's ATP Finals.
   Djokovic defeated the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (3) to win his fourth Wimbledon singles title in July. Djokovic leads the head-to-head series 7-1 and owns a seven-match winning streak against Anderson.
   WTA tour -- Third-seeded Desirae Krawczyk and Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, will play unseeded Maegan Manasse (Cal, 2014-17) and Jessica Pegula for the doubles title in the $150,000 Oracle Challenger Series -- Houston.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Federer beats Anderson; both advance in ATP Finals

Roger Federer, playing in a March exhibition in San Jose, reached the semifinals
of the ATP Finals for the 15th time. Photo by Mal Taam
   Roger Federer avenged a loss to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon, defeating the 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) South African 6-4, 6-3 today in the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Both the second-seeded Federer, who made his Northern California debut in a March exhibition in San Jose, and the fourth-seeded Anderson, a quarterfinalist in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose in 2012, finished 2-1 in Group Lleyton Hewitt to reach Saturday's semifinals. Sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem and seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori were eliminated with 1-2 records.
   Federer, who has won a record six titles in the ATP Finals, advanced to the semis for the 15th time. Anderson, who rallied from two sets down and saved a match point to stun Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July, became the first South African to move into the semis of the elite tournament since it began in 1970.
   Federer will face the second-place finisher in Group Guga Kuerten, and Anderson will meet the group winner. In Friday's round-robin finales, third-seeded Alexander Zverev (1-1) is scheduled to meet eighth-seeded John Isner (0-2) not before 6 a.m. PST, and top-seeded Novak Djokovic (2-0) will play fifth-seeded Marin Cilic (1-1) not before noon.
   In a doubles round-robin finale, fifth-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock (2-0) will meet eighth-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (1-1) not before 9:45 a.m.
   Tennis Channel will televise all four of Friday's matches live beginning at 4 a.m.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Radwanska retires at 29; Bryan wins in ATP Finals

Agnieszka Radwanska reached the
final at Wimbledon in 2012 and Stan-
ford in 2013. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Agnieszka Radwanska, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2012 and the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2013, announced her retirement today at age 29.
   "Unfortunately, I am no longer able to train and play the way I used to, and recently my body can't live up to my expectations," Radwanska, a petite 5-foot-8 (1.73 meters), said in a statement. "Taking into consideration my health and the heavy burdens of professional tennis, I have to concede that I'm not able to push my body to the limits required."
   Radwanska became the first Pole to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open era, catapulting her to a career-high No. 2, and the first to win the WTA Finals (2015 in Singapore). She reached two Australian Open semifinals and one French Open quarterfinal, won 20 WTA singles titles and earned more than $27.6 million in prize money, seventh all time.
   Known as "the Magician" for her crafty play, Radwanska was voted the WTA Fan Favorite for six consecutive years.
   Radwanska lost to Dominika Cibulkova 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the 2013 Bank of the West final after thrashing the Slovakian 6-0, 6-0 in the Sydney final six months earlier. Radwanska also reached the Stanford semifinals in 2010 and the quarterfinals in 2011 and 2015, the last of her six appearances in the tournament.
   The Bank of the West Classic moved to San Jose this year as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic after a 21-year run at Stanford.
   ATP Finals -- Fifth-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock of the United States beat top-seeded Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (4) in London to improve to 2-0 in Group Knowles Nestor.
   Bryan and Sock, this year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open champions, are scheduled to play Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut (1-1) on Friday in a round-robin finale.
   In singles, top-seeded Novak Djokovic outplayed third-seeded Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-1 and clinched a semifinal berth as he seeks a record-tying sixth title in the ATP Finals.
   Fifth-seeded Marin Cilic topped eighth-seeded John Isner 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4 to improve to 1-1 in Group Guga Kuerten. Isner fell to 0-2.
   Isner won his first pro title in the Shingle Springs Futures in the Sacramento area in 2007 and reach the Chico Futures final in 2006. Ten years ago, he advanced to the singles quarterfinals of the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose and the doubles final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger with countryman Rajeev Ram.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Federer bounces back; Mayo loses Challenger debut

Roger Federer, playing in a March exhibition in San Jose,
remains alive in his quest for a seventh title in the ATP
Finals. Photo by Mal Taam
   Second-seeded Roger Federer rebounded from a straight-sets loss to Kei Nishikori on Sunday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem today in the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Federer, who made his Northern California debut in a March exhibition in San Jose, stayed alive in his quest for a seventh ATP Finals title with a 1-1 record.
   Federer is scheduled to play fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson, who demolished the seventh-seeded Nishikori 6-0, 6-1 in 64 minutes to improve to 2-0, on Thursday in a round-robin finale.
   Anderson, 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), saved a match point and stunned eight-time champion Federer 2-6, 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 in the Wimbledon quarterfinals in July en route to the final. Federer had won all eight sets in four previous matches against Anderson, never even needing a tiebreaker.
   Anderson won a $15,000 Futures tournament in the Sacramento suburb of Loomis in 2007. He also reached the quarterfinals of the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose and played part-time for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2012.
   Nishikori lost in the second round in all three of his appearances in the SAP Open (2008, 2009 and 2011). Brad Gilbert of San Rafael in the San Francisco Bay Area coached Nishikori in 2011.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Keenan Mayo, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Illinois freshman who grew up in Roseville in the Sacramento area, lost to fellow qualifier Ryan Shane, the 2015 NCAA singles champion from Virginia, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the $75,000 JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana (Ill.). Mayo, playing on his home courts, made his Challenger main-draw debut.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Bryan, Sock win ATP Finals opener; Mayo to debut

   Fifth-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock of the United States beat third seeds and 2017 runners-up Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil 6-3, 7-6 (5) today in a round-robin opener at the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Bryan and Sock, this year's Wimbledon and U.S. Open champions, saved a set point with Sock serving at 4-5 in the second set. Kubot double-faulted on match point.
   Mike Bryan's 40-year-old twin, Bob, is recovering from hip surgery in August. They have won a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles championships and captured four ATP Finals titles (2003, 2004, 2009 and 2014).
   The ATP Finals consists of the top eight singles players and best eight doubles teams of 2018. The four singles players and four doubles teams with the best records after three round-robin matches each advance to Saturday's semifinals.
   Also in Group Knowles/Nestor, top-seeded Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia downed eighth-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 7-6 (3). Bryan and Sock are scheduled to play Marach and Pavic on Wednesday at 4 a.m. PST (Tennis Channel).
   In Group Llodra/Santoro, second-seeded Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah of Colombia are 1-0 with fourth-seeded Jamie Murray of Great Britain and Bruno Soares of Brazil. Sixth-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Michael Venus of New Zealand are 0-1 with seventh-seeded Nikola Mektic of Croatia and Alexander Peya of Austria.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Keenan Mayo, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Illinois freshman who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, is scheduled to make his Challenger main-draw debut on his home courts in Champaign, Ill., on Tuesday.
   Mayo, 18, will play fellow qualifier Ryan Shane, the 2015 NCAA singles champion from Virginia, in the first round of the $75,000 JSM Challenger of Champaign-Urbana.
   Mayo defeated Sem Verbeek, a 24-year-old Dutch left-hander who starred at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) on Sunday in the final round of qualifying.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Kenin loses Fed Cup epic; Gibbs falls in $80K Vegas final

American Sofia Kenin, shown en route to the Berkeley title in July,
lost to Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 in 3
 hours, 44 minutes today in the clinching match of the Fed Cup final
in Prague. Photo by Paul Bauman
   For a player who lost both of her matches, Sofia Kenin had an impressive Fed Cup debut.
   The 19-year-old American's fighting spirit was on full display in the defending champion United States' 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic this weekend on an indoor hardcourt in Prague.
   "I've always had that," said Kenin, who held two match points in a 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 loss to Katerina Siniakova, 22, that lasted 3 hours, 44 minutes today. "Captain Kathy (Rinaldi) knows me, that I'll fight to the end no matter what. It doesn't matter how long I have to stay there, as long as I'm fighting."
   Kenin, who will turn 20 on Wednesday, battled back from 4-5 on Siniakova's serve in the second set and 1-4 in the third set in her first match against Siniakova. On Saturday, Kenin fell to 32-year-old Barbora Strycova 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 in 2 hours, 43 minutes.
   Kenin has won a Northern California Challenger in each of the past three years, including the inaugural $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge in July.
   The Czechs were missing their top two singles players, No. 7 Petra Kvitova (fever) and No. 8 Karolina Pliskova (calf, wrist), but won their fourth Fed Cup title in five years and sixth in eight years.
   The United States, meanwhile, competed without four of its top five singles players. Absent were No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Serena Williams, No. 17 Madison Keys and No. 40 Venus Williams. No. 36 Danielle Collins made the trip but was scheduled to play only doubles.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland beat eighth-seeded Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) 7-5, 6-1 to win the $80,000 Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas.
   Bencic, 21, reached a career-high No. 7 in February 2016. Gibbs, 25, lost to Kenin in the Berkeley final.
   In the doubles final, second-seeded Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Maria Sanchez, a Modesto product, outclassed unseeded Americans Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller 6-3, 6-4.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

U.S. trails 2-0 in Fed Cup; Gibbs reaches Las Vegas final

Sofia Kenin, shown in July, narrowly lost in her Fed
Cup debut today. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Czech Republic almost certainly will win the Fed Cup title for the fourth time in five years and sixth time in eight years on Sunday.
   The Czechs' "B" team leads the defending champion United States' "C" team 2-0 in the best-of-five competition in Prague.
   It's very unlikely that the Americans will win both reverse singles matches to tie the final, and even if they do, the Czechs will send the No. 1 doubles team in the world against two players debuting in the Fed Cup in the deciding match.
   Barbora Stycova, ranked 33rd, topped 52nd-ranked Sofia Kenin 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4 in the opening rubber today on an indoor hardcourt. Kenin, who will turn 20 on Wednesday, also debuted in the Fed Cup.
   "It's funny because it's her first tie and my last one," the 32-year-old Strycova, who improved to 11-7 in Fed Cup singles (she's 11-4 in doubles), told reporters. "On one hand it's sad, but on the other, I experienced so many amazing moments with this team. I played with so many different players, both opponents and teammates. I will never forget this, because it was really special."
   Katerina Siniakova, ranked 31st, then defeated 63rd-ranked Alison Riske 6-3, 7-6 (2). Siniakova, 22, is now 2-1 in Fed Cup singles (she's 1-2 in doubles).
   Eighth-ranked Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic withdrew from the final with calf and wrist injuries. Seventh-ranked Petra Kvitova sat out today with a fever but could play on Sunday. The left-hander won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 before suffering severe injuries to her left hand in a December 2016 knife attack,
   Kenin and Riske are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, in singles in the United States. Absent are No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Serena Williams, No. 17 Madison Keys and No. 40 Venus Williams. No. 36 Danielle Collins is scheduled to play doubles only.
   Siniakova and Kenin will meet for the first time on Sunday at 3 a.m. PST (Tennis Channel), followed by Strycova against Riske. Strycova leads the head-to-head series 2-0. Then Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova are set to play Collins and Nicole Melichar, a Czech native.
   Pliskova reached the final of the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, losing to Angelique Kerber, and Siniakova was the doubles runner-up at Stanford in 2014 with Paula Kania of Poland. The tournament moved to San Jose this year under a new sponsor.
   Riske advanced to the 2016 semifinals and 2015 quarterfinals at Stanford.
   Collins, who won the 2014 and 2016 NCAA singles titles while attending Virginia, reached the semifinals of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in August.
   Kenin has won a Northern California Challenger in each of the past three years, including the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge in July.
   The United States and the Czech Republic lead all nations with 18 and 10 Fed Cup titles, respectively.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Eighth-seeded Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) of Venice in the Los Angeles area beat qualifier Giuliana Olmos, a San Francisco Bay Area product who plays for Mexico, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $80,000 Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas.
   Gibbs, 25, will face top-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland for the title. The 21-year-old Bencic, who reached a career-high No. 7 in February 2016, outplayed unseeded Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-1, 6-4.
   In the doubles final, second-seeded Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Maria Sanchez, a Modesto product, will play unseeded Americans Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller.
   College -- Bjorn Thomson and Parker Wynn of Texas Tech defeated Yuta Kikuchi and Jacob Brumm of Cal 6-3, 6-4 in a matchup of unseeded teams in the semifinals of the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise, Ariz.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Roundup: Fed Cup, $80K Las Vegas, ITA Fall Nationals

Petra Kvitova will miss the opening day of the
Fed Cup with a fever. File photo by Paul Bauman
   The Czech Republic, which already had lost No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, also will be without No. 7 Petra Kvitova on Saturday in the Fed Cup final against the defending champion United States in Prague.
   Two days after Pliskova withdrew with calf and wrist injuries, the Czechs announced that Kvitova will miss at least the first day with a fever.
   Kvitova, 28, hopes to play in Sunday's reverse singles. The left-hander won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 before suffering severe injuries to her left hand in a December 2016 knife attack and undergoing surgery.
   The Czechs remain heavy favorites against the United States, which is missing four of its top five singles players. Absent are No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Serena Williams, No. 17 Madison Keys and No. 40 Venus Williams.
   No. 33 Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic will face No. 52 Sofia Kenin in the opening rubber, followed by No. 31 Katerina Siniakova against No. 63 Alison Riske, a member of last year's team that beat host Belarus in the Fed Cup final.
   The top-ranked player on the U.S. team, No. 36 Danielle Collins, apparently will sit out Saturday. Three of the United States' four players -- Kenin, Collins and doubles No. 15 Nicole Melichar, a Czech native -- have never competed in the Fed Cup.
   Pliskova reached the final of the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, losing to Angelique Kerber, and Siniakova was the doubles runner-up at Stanford in 2014 at age 18 with Paula Kania of Poland. The tournament moved to San Jose under a new sponsor this year.
   Collins advanced to the semifinals of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in August.
   Kenin, who will turn 20 on Wednesday, has won a Northern California Challenger in each of the past three years, including the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge in July.
   Riske reached the 2016 semifinals and 2015 quarterfinals at Stanford.
   The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup titles. The Czech Republic is next with 10, including five in the last seven years.
   Tennis Channel will televise the best-of-five-match series on an indoor hardcourt beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Saturday.
   USTA Pro Circuit -- Nicole Gibbs and Giuliana Olmos, 25-year-old former Pacific-12 Conference stars with strong Northern California ties, are scheduled to meet for the first time in the semifinals of the $80,000 Red Rock Pro Open in Las Vegas.
   The eighth-seeded Gibbs, who won three NCAA titles (two in singles and one in doubles) at Stanford, beat fellow Los Angeles-area resident Danielle Lao 6-7 (2), 6-4, 6-3.
   Olmos, a qualifier and former USC All-American, was born in Austria, grew up in Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays for Mexico. She eliminated third-seeded Fanni Stollar of Hungary 6-4, 6-2 to reach her first semifinal in a tournament larger than $15,000.
   In the other semifinal, top seed and former world No. 7 Belinda Bencic of Switzerland will meet sixth-seeded Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.
   Second-seeded Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Maria Sanchez, a Modesto product, will play unseeded Americans Sophie Chang and Alexandra Mueller in Sunday's doubles final.
   College -- Jacob Brumm and Yuta Kikuchi of Cal defeated Brian Berdusco and Johannes Ingildsen of Florida 7-5, 6-4 in a matchup of unseeded teams in the quarterfinals of the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise, Ariz.
   In the women's doubles quarterfinals, second-seeded Makenna Jones and Cameron Morra of North Carolina beat Cal's Anna Bright and Jasie Dunk 6-1, 6-4.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Volynets, 16, falls in quarters of $25K Kansas tourney

Katie Volynets, playing in last month's Stockton Wom-
en's 60K, squandered a big lead and lost to Catherine
Harrison today in the quarterfinals of a $25,000 tour-
nament in Lawrence, Kan. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Lucky loser Catherine Harrison from Germantown, Tenn., overcame a big deficit to defeat Katie Volynets, a 16-year-old qualifier from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1-6, 6-4, 6-4 today in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Harold A. Miller Women's Tennis Tournament in Lawrence, Kan.
   Volynets, an amateur playing in her fifth professional tournament, led 6-1, 4-1. She reached the semifinals of her previous tourney, a $25,000 event in Florence, S.C., last month.
   Harrison, a 24-year-old former UCLA All-American, will play qualifier Ena Shibahara, a UCLA junior who's taking the fall off to play on the USTA Pro Circuit, on Friday.
   Shibahara, who won the doubles title in the Stockton (Calif.) Women's 60K last month with former North Carolina All-American Hayler Carter, beat Chieh-Yu Hsu of Chinese Taipei 6-4, 6-2.
   In the doubles semifinals, Vladica Babic of Montenegro and Shibahara crushed Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 16-year-old twins from Saint Helena in the Napa area, 6-0, 6-1 in 42 minutes.
   Babic advanced to the NCAA doubles final in May as an Oklahoma State senior with Sofia Blanco. They fell to LSU's Jessica Golovin and Eden Richardson.
   College -- Two Cal doubles teams, one men's and one women's, reached the quarterfinals of the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise, Ariz.
   On the men's side, Yuta Kikuchi and Jacob Brumm downed identical twins Igor and Ivan Saveljic of North Carolina State 7-6 (2), 6-3. Also, Anna Bright and Jasie Dunk beat Maria Kononova and Tamuna Kutubidze of North Texas 7-5, 6-3.
   However, third-seeded Caroline Lampl and Kimberly Yee of Stanford lost to Ashley Lahey and Evgeniya Levashova of Pepperdine 7-5, 7-6 (5).

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Roundup: Fed Cup, Volynets, Zamarripas, ITA tourney

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic withdrew from
this weekend's Fed Cup final against the United States
with calf and wrist injuries. 2015 photo by Mal Taam
   World No. 8 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic will miss this weekend's Fed Cup final with calf and wrist injuries, and No. 7 Petra Kvitova sat out of practice today with a fever.
   Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon champion, is expected to play against the United States on Saturday and Sunday on an indoor hardcourt in Prague. But even if she doesn't, the Czechs will be strong favorites at home with No. 31 Katerina Siniakova and No. 33 Barbora Strycova in singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Siniakova and Barbora Krejcikova.
   Pliskova reached the final of the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, losing to Angelique Kerber, and Siniakova was the doubles runner-up at Stanford in 2014 at age 18 with Paula Kania of Poland. The tournament moved to San Jose under a new sponsor this year.
   The defending champion United States will be missing four of its top five singles players against the Czechs: No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Serena Williams, No. 17 Madison Keys and No. 40 Venus Williams.
   Three of the four Americans on the team will make their Fed Cup debuts: No. 36 Danielle Collins, No. 52 Sofia Kenin and doubles No. 15 Nicole Melichar, a Czech native. Joining them will be Alison Riske, a member of last year's team that beat host Belarus in the final. She is ranked 63rd in singles.
   Collins reached the semifinals of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in August. Kenin, who will turn 20 next Wednesday, has won a Northern California Challenger in each of the past three years, including the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge in July. Riske advanced to the 2016 semifinals and 2015 quarterfinals at Stanford.
   The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup titles. The Czech Republic is next with 10, including five in the last seven years.
   Tennis Channel will televise the best-of-five-match series beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Saturday.
    USTA Pro Circuit -- Katie Volynets, a 16-year-old qualifier from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, demolished sixth-seeded Anna Danilina, a 23-year-old Moscow native who plays for Kazakhstan, 6-1, 6-0 to reach the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Harold A. Miller Women's Tennis Tournament in Lawrence, Kan.
   Volynets is scheduled to play Catherine Harrison, a 24-year-old lucky loser from Germantown, Tenn., on Thursday. Harrison, a former UCLA All-American, defeated Italy's Bianca Turati, a Texas junior ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division I, 6-3, 6-3.
   In the doubles quarterfinals, wild cards Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 16-year-old twins from Saint Helena in the Napa area, surprised second-seeded Chieh-Yu Hsu of Chinese Taipei and Romy Koelzer of Germany 3-6, 6-1 [10-4].
   College -- All eight Stanford and Cal singles players, six women and two men, lost in the first round of the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships in Surprise, Ariz.
   Falling were eighth-seeded Melissa Lord, 14th-seeded Michaela Gordon, Emily Arbuthnott and Caroline Lampl of the NCAA defending champion Stanford, Olivia Hauger and Julia Rosenqvist of Cal, and William Genesen and Sameer Kumar of the Cardinal.
   Also bowing out in the opening round was South Carolina's Paige Cline, from Kentfield in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Three teams from Stanford or Cal won in the first round of doubles. Advancing were third-seeded Kimberly Yee and Lampl of Stanford, Anna Bright and Jasie Dunk of Cal, and Yuta Kikuchi and Jacob Brumm of the Bears.
   However, top-seeded Arbuthnott and Gordon lost to Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart of UCLA 6-4, 6-2.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ma subdued, Jackson 'excited' after winning Sectionals

Second-seeded Connie Ma, left, beat fifth-seeded Katherine
Duong 6-2, 6-4 for the girls 18 title in the NorCal Junior Fall
Singles Sectional Championships. Photo by Paul Bauman
   FOLSOM, Calif. -- Connie Ma didn't so much as pump a fist after winning the girls 18 title in the NorCal Junior Fall Singles Sectional Championships.
   The tiny 15-year-old's subdued reaction today was understandable, considering that she excelled in low-level professional tournaments over the summer and helped the United States win the Junior Fed Cup in Budapest, Hungary, in late September.
   In comparison, Ma's march to the NorCal title was easy.
   "Maybe, but the competition was still pretty good from the quarters until the final," the second-seeded Ma, only 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters) and 95 pounds (43.1 kilograms), said diplomatically after beating fifth-seeded Katherine Duong 6-2, 6-4 in a matchup of San Francisco Bay Area players at the Broadstone Racquet Club. "The last set of the final was pretty tight."
   That was the only time in the tournament that Ma lost as many as four games in a set. She dismissed fifth-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky, ranked fifth nationally in the 14s, 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Amber Marie Lee 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.
   In contrast to Ma, winning the Sectional boys 18 title for the fourth consecutive time (in the summer and fall) was a big deal for Ryder Jackson. The second-seeded Jackson, a 17-year-old resident of Nicasio in the Bay Area, downed ninth-seeded Luke Casper, 15, of Santa Cruz 6-2, 6-4 in the final.
   "I think this is my last one, so I'm real excited to go out on top and play as well as I could," said Jackson, who will head to USC next year. "It's a lot of pressure to deal with because everybody wants to beat you. To handle the pressure and play as well as I did, I'm really happy about that."
   Casper, ranked 16th nationally in the 16s, sprained his left ankle when Jackson wrong-footed him while serving at 3-4, 30-15 in the second set. Casper favored the ankle the rest of the way.
Second-seeded Ryder Jackson, left, downed ninth-seeded
Luke Casper 6-2, 6-4 for his fourth consecutive NorCal
Sectional boys 18 title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Ma, from Dublin, reached the quarterfinals of a $25,000 hardcourt tournament in Baton Rouge, La., as a qualifier in June, stunning then-No. 373 Emiliana Arango of Colombia in the first round of the main draw.
   Ma then qualified for the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge before losing in the first round to eighth-seeded Mayo Hibi, then ranked No. 187, advanced to the final of a $15,000 event in Evansville, Ind., and won the Evansville doubles title.
   So why play in the NorCal Sectionals?
   "To keep playing tournaments," Ma explained. "I need to work on match play and get a feel for competing still."
   Duong, from Cupertino, almost had to hit a perfect shot to win a point against Ma. Sometimes, even that wasn't enough. Ma generally kept the ball in play until Duong, ranked third in the 16s and fifth in the 18s in Northern California, made a mistake.
   "Connie is probably one of the best movers out there, so it's really hard to hit winners against her," said the 16-year-old Duong, who eliminated top-seeded Ashley Yeah in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Klara Kosan in the semifinals. "She's also really consistent, so you have to out-rally her, which is one of the hardest things to do as a tennis player. That's what makes her one of the best players in the nation."
   Jackson also did not lose a set in the tournament, although third-seeded Daniel Baturyn of San Leandro extended him to a tiebreaker in the semifinals.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Jackson overpowered the 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) Casper in the first set, but Casper worked his way back into the match in the second set before his injury.
   "His serve was way more consistent than mine, and he got more balls back," lamented Casper, who demolished top-seeded Aryan Chaudhary 6-0, 6-1 in the round of 16.
   Third-seeded Brian Chong and fifth-seeded Rhea Rai, both of Cupertino, won the boys and girls 16 titles, respectively.
   Chong outlasted top-seeded Brian Bilsey of Belmont 1-6, 6-4, 7-5, and Rai beat unseeded Maryia Hrynashka of Rancho Cordova 6-4, 6-4.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Tiny 15-year-old reaches Fall Sectional girls 18 final

Connie Ma, playing in the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge
in July, will face Katherine Duong on Sunday in the NorCal Fall
Sectional girls 18 final. Photo by Paul Bauman
   FOLSOM, Calif. -- The most accomplished player in the NorCal 18s & 16s Fall Singles Sectional Championships is also one of the smallest.
   Fifteen-year-old Connie Ma, only 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters) and 95 pounds (43.1 kilograms), excelled in professional tournaments over the summer to earn a women's world ranking of No. 763.
   So it's no surprise that Ma, an amateur from Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, has coasted to the final in the NorCal 18s at the Broadstone Racquet Club. Seeded second, she dispatched fifth-seeded Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose 6-3, 6-3 this afternoon in the quarterfinals and fourth-seeded Amber Marie Lee of Orinda 6-3, 6-2 this evening in the semifinals.
   Ovrootsky, 14, is ranked fifth nationally in the 14s. Lee, a high school sophomore ranked fourth in Northern California in the 16s and seventh in the 18s, played two hours after holding off fifth-seeded Stephanie Nguyen of Fremont 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a three-hour quarterfinal. Nguyen will play at Boston University next year.
   Ma reached the quarterfinals of a $25,000 hardcourt tournament in Baton Rouge, La., as a qualifier in June, stunning then-No. 373 Emiliana Arango of Colombia in the first round of the main draw.
   Ma then qualified for the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge before losing in the first round to eighth-seeded Mayo Hibi, then ranked No. 187, advanced to the final of a $15,000 event in Evansville, Ind., and won the Evansville doubles title.
  How does Ma do it?
  "Using my movement, trying to set up correctly for every single ball and then hitting my targets," she replied.
   Ma is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Katherine Duong of Cupertino on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Duong, a high school junior ranked third in the NorCal 16s and fifth in the 18s, ousted top seed and defending champion Ashley Yeah of Los Gatos 7-6 (4), 6-1 and third-seeded Klara Kosan of Carmichael 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Yeah will head to the University of Illinois next year.
   Ma said she has played Duong seven times, winning the last two encounters.
Defending champion Ryder Jackson, a USC
commit, eyes a backhand during his win over
Daniel Baturyn today. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In Sunday's boys 18 final, also at 1:30 p.m., top seed and defending champion Ryder Jackson of Nicasio will meet ninth-seeded Luke Casper of Santa Cruz for the first time.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Jackson, who will play at USC, beat Rithik Sardana of Union City 6-4, 6-3 and third-seeded Daniel Baturyn, a Fresno State commit from San Leandro, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
   "I had a good game plan (against Baturyn) because I've seen him play many times," said Jackson, who always wears soccer jerseys for his matches. "It was definitely to play aggressive, come to the net and stay loose because I have a lot of pressure out here being a top-seeded player and having good results here in the past."
   The 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) Casper, ranked 16th nationally in the 16s, dismissed ninth-seeded Marshall Leung of Tiburon 6-3, 6-0 and topped fourth-seeded Andrei Volgin of Fremont 6-3, 6-2.
   Casper, who demolished top-seeded Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara last weekend in the round of 16, cramped in both calves and his left quadriceps against Volgin, who's headed to UC Davis.
   "It was a grind," said the 15-year-old Casper, adding that he should be OK for the final. "We had super long points. I got super tired."
   In the girls 16 semifinals, fifth-seeded Rhea Rai of Cupertino dominated top-seeded Mirabelle Brettkelly of San Francisco 6-3, 6-2 in the semifinals.
   On Sunday at 10:30 a.m., Rai will play unseeded Maryia Hrynashka of Rancho Cordova, and top-seeded Brian Bilsey of Belmont will meet third-seeded Brian Chong of Cupertino for the boys 16 title.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Collins, Kenin head U.S. team for Fed Cup final

Danielle Collins, playing at Indian Wells in March, and two other Americans
will make their Fed Cup debut in the Nov. 10-11 final against the Czech Republic
in Prague. Photo by Mal Taam
   Danielle Collins, a semifinalist at the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in August, will lead the defending champion United States against the Czech Republic in the Fed Cup final Nov. 10-11 in Prague.
   The 35th-ranked Collins and No. 48 Sofia Kenin will make their Fed Cup debuts, as will Nicole Melichar, a Czech native ranked 15th in doubles. Joining them will be Alison Riske, a member of last year's team that beat host Belarus in the final. She is ranked 63rd in singles.
   Absent will be the United States' top three singles players -- No. 6 Sloane Stephens, No. 15 Serena Williams and No. 16 Madison Keys -- as well as No. 40 Venus Williams and 2017 team members CoCo Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
   Kenin, the youngest player in the top 50, will turn 20 three days after the final. She has won a Northern California Challenger in each of the past three years, including the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge in July.
   Riske reached the semifinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2016 and the quarterfinals there in 2015.
   The Czech Republic will field a formidable team with No. 7 Petra Kvitova, No. 8 Karolina Pliskova, doubles No. 1 Katerina Siniakova and doubles No. 5 Barbora Strycova. All four played in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford before it moved to San Jose this year. Pliskova advanced to the 2015 final, losing to Angelique Kerber, and Siniakova was the doubles runner-up in 2014 at age 18 with Paula Kania of Poland.
   The United States leads all nations with 18 Fed Cup titles. The Czech Republic is next with 10, including five in the last seven years.
   Tennis Channel will televise the best-of-five-match series, on a hard court in Prague's 10,700-seat O2 Arena, beginning at 5 a.m. PST on Nov. 10.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Svitolina subdues Stephens for title in WTA Finals

   Five of the last seven women's Grand Slam singles champions have been first-time winners.
   Elina Svitolina could add to that list in 2019.
   The 24-year-old Ukrainian, seeded sixth, defeated 25-year-old Fresno product Sloane Stephens, seeded fifth, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 2 hours, 23 minutes today to win the WTA Finals in Singapore.
   "This is a very special moment for me in my career, and it will give me plenty of confidence for the season coming ahead," Svitolina said.
   Svitolina went 5-0, including four three-set victories, in the tournament for the biggest title of her career. She pocketed $2,209,000 and evened her career record against Stephens at 2-2 (1-1 in 2018). Stephens, who played in the tournament for the first time, collected $1,049,000.
   Svitolina finished the year with four singles titles, also winning Brisbane, Dubai and Rome. Stephens' only singles crown of 2018 came in Miami.
   Jelena Ostapenko began the run of first-time Grand Slam champions by winning last year's French Open two days after turning 20. Then came Stephens in the U.S. Open, Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open, Simona Halep in the French Open and Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open. The exceptions were Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
   Second-seeded Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France won the doubles title in the WTA Finals, beating top-seeded Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-5.
   Babos claimed her second consecutive title in the tournament after pairing with Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic last year in Singapore.
   Babos and Mladenovic shared $500,000, and Krejcikova and Siniakova split $260,000.
   The teams combined to capture three of this year's four Grand Slam titles. Babos and Mladenovic won the Australian Open for their first major crown together, and Krejcikova and Siniakova became the first pair in 15 years to sweep the French Open and Wimbledon.
   ATP World Tour in Vienna -- Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski of Great Britain won their first ATP title as a team, defeating Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France 7-6 (5), 6-3. Both teams were unseeded.
   Both Salisbury and Skupski won doubles titles with other partners in $100,000 Northern California Challengers last year. Salisbury and countryman Brydan Klein triumphed in Stockton, and Skupski and Jonathan Erlich of Israel prevailed in Aptos.
   Skupski also played for the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis in 2015, the squad's only year of existence.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Stephens stages huge rally to gain final in elite tourney

   Sloane Stephens overcame a terrible start today to reach the title match in her first WTA Finals.
   Seeded fifth, Stephens downed seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 0-6, 6-4, 6-1 after losing the first eight games in Singapore.
   "I came out here a little bit nervous, and I wasn't really feeling the ball," Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said on wtatennis.com. " ... I had a bit of an adrenaline dump after I finally won one game. I was really fired up, so I was like, 'OK, come on, let's do this. I can win one game; maybe I can win two, then three.' And I just started to feel the ball a little bit better. ... I just tried to stay in it and get as many balls back as I could. I'm just really proud of my fight today."
   Stephens, who won last year's U.S. Open and reached the French Open final in June, will meet sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine on Sunday not before 4:30 a.m. PDT. Svitolina, 24, outlasted eighth-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in 2 hours, 38 minutes.
   Stephens leads Svitolina 2-1 (2-0 on hardcourts) in their head-to-head series. Stephens won the last meeting 6-3, 6-3 in the Montreal semifinals in August before losing to Simona Halep 6-4 in the third set.
   ATP World Tour in Vienna -- Unseeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) of Wesley Chapel, Fla., and Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France edged top-seeded Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (2) [10-7] in the semifinals.
   Bryan and Roger-Vasselin, playing in their second tournament together, will meet unseeded Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski of Great Britain for the title on Sunday.
   Salisbury and Skupski ended the winning streak of second-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil at 10 matches with a 2-6, 6-3 [10-8] triumph on Friday.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Stephens stops Kerber to reach semis in WTA Finals

   Sloane Stephens continued her domination of Angelique Kerber today to reach the semifinals in her first WTA Finals.
   The fifth-seeded Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, dismissed the top-seeded Kerber, a 30-year-old German left-hander, 6-3, 6-3 to finish 3-0 in the Red Group in Singapore.
   After losing her first meeting against Kerber, at Indian Wells in 2012, Stephens has won their last five matches without dropping a set.
   Also today, eighth-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands led 6-3 when third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan retired with a hamstring injury. Bertens finished 2-1 in the Red Group, followed by Kerber at 1-2 and Osaka at 0-3.
   None of the top four seeds reached the semifinals. No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki (1-2), the defending champion from Denmark, and No. 4 Petra Kvitova (0-3) of the Czech Republic were eliminated Thursday in the White Group.
   In Saturday's semifinals, Bertens will meet sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina (3-0 in the White Group) of Ukraine not before 1 a.m. PDT, followed by Stephens against seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova (2-1 in the White Group) of the Czech Republic in the White Group) not before 4:30 a.m. PDT.
   Bertens and Svitolina have split two career matches, both on hardcourts. In their last meeting, Bertens won 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at Cincinnati en route to the title in August.
   Stephens is 2-1 against Pliskova, winning on a hardcourt and grass and losing on clay.
   It will be the fourth consecutive year in which the champion of the WTA Finals did not win a Grand Slam singles title. Dominika Cibulkova and Agnieszka Radwanska won the crown in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
   In fact, Stephens is the only semifinalist this year who has ever won a major singles championship. She broke through in last year's U.S. Open.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Stephens beats Bertens, improves to 2-0 in WTA Finals

   Sloane Stephens snapped Kiki Bertens' streak and improved to 2-0 with one round-robin match left in the WTA Finals.
   But Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, still hasn't clinched a berth in the semifinals of the tournament, featuring the top eight singles players and top eight doubles teams of the year, in Singapore.
   Stephens, seeded fifth and ranked sixth, defeated Bertens, seeded eighth and ranked ninth, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3 in a match that ended at almost 1 a.m. Thursday local time.
   Bertens, a 26-year-old Dutchwoman who replaced injured Simona Halep in the field, had beaten her last nine top-10 opponents. But Stephens needed to win in straight sets to advance.
   Earlier today, top-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany outlasted third-seeded Naomi Osaka of Japan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in 2 hours, 30 minutes. On Friday in the Red Group, Stephens will face Kerber (1-1), and Bertens (1-1) will take on Osaka (0-2).
   On Thursday in the White Group, fourth-seeded Petra Kvitova (0-2) will play seventh seed and fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova (1-1) not before 1 a.m. PDT, followed by second seed and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki (1-1) of Denmark against sixth-seeded Elina Svitolina (2-0) of Ukraine.
   Kerber defeated Pliskova to win the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. The tournament moved to San Jose this year under a new sponsor, Mubadala, after 21 years at Stanford.
   Osaka earned her first big win in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic. As a 16-year-old qualifier playing her first main-draw match on the WTA tour, Osaka ousted 2011 U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur 4-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 in the first round. Osaka saved a match point in the tiebreaker and overcame a 3-5 deficit in the third set.
   Osaka then fell to eighth-seeded Andrea Petkovic of Germany 6-2, 6-2. Petkovic reached a career-high No. 9 in 2011.
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