Thursday, May 31, 2018

Serena rallies to beat 17th seed Barty in French Open

   Motherhood hasn't diminished Serena Williams' competitiveness.
   Pumping her fists and yelling her trademark "C'mon!," Williams survived the first big test of her Grand Slam comeback today.
   The unseeded Williams topped 17th-seeded Ashleigh Barty of Australia 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the French Open. Williams, a three-time French Open champion (2002, 2013 and 2015), trailed by an early service break in the second set.
   It was Williams' first major tournament since beating older sister Venus Williams for the 2017 Australian Open title and her first tournament on clay since losing to Garbine Muguruza in the final of the 2016 French Open.
   "I have definitely always had that will to win," Williams, who delivered her first child last Sept. 1, told reporters. "It was something I was born with, thank goodness. You know, this is a Grand Slam. This is my first one back. I want to do the best that I can. I want to be able to one day tell my daughter that I tried my best. When I was out there, that's all I was just trying to do."
   Williams, 36, is scheduled to play in Northern California for the first time in four years in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State. She won the old Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
   Williams, who needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Court's record of 24, next will play 11th-seeded Julia Goerges of Germany.
   Goerges, the doubles runner-up with Darija Jurak of Croatia at Stanford in 2013, beat Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 7-5, 7-6 (5). Van Uytvanck swept the singles and doubles titles in the $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger in 2016. She played doubles with Kristyna Pliskova, the twin sister of former singles world No. 1 Karolina.
   Williams is 2-0 against Goerges, winning 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the 2010 French Open and 6-1, 7-6 (7) in the second round at Toronto on a hard court in 2011.
   Other former French Open champions advancing today, all in straight sets, were No. 3 seed Muguruza, No. 28 Maria Sharapova (2012 and 2014) and No. 1 Rafael Nadal (2005-08, 2010-14 and 2017).
   Top-seeded Simona Halep, a two-time French Open finalist, dominated U.S. wild card Taylor Townsend 6-3, 6-1.
   Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine eliminated 15th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, a two-time Bank of the West runner-up, 3-6, 6-4, 6-0.
   Maximilian Marterer, a 22-year-old left-hander from Germany, surprised 24th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, 19, of Canada 5-7, 7-6 (4), 7-5, 6-4. Marterer reached the 2017 semifinals and 2016 quarterfinals in the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger.
   In the first round of women's doubles at Roland Garros, 11th-seeded Raquel Atawo of Sacramento and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan and Zheng Saisai of China 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

No. 12 Querrey falls, No. 10 Stephens rolling in French

   Sam Querrey now can focus on his wedding.
   The 12th-seeded Querrey lost to Gilles Simon of France 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-1 today in the second round of the French Open in Paris.
   Querrey, ranked 15th, fell to 4-12 lifetime in singles at Roland Garros with four losses in his last five matches there.
   The 30-year-old San Francisco native -- who swept the singles titles on the three-week Northern California Challenger swing in 2014 -- also lost in the first round of doubles with Mike Bryan on Tuesday. Querrey, who is not playing mixed doubles, is scheduled to marry Abigail Dixon in Florida on June 9.
   The 33-year-old Simon is ranked 65th after climbing to a career-high sixth in 2009. He reached the final last week in Lyon, losing to Dominic Thiem.
   In the French Open women's draw, 10th-seeded Sloane Stephens dismissed 20-year-old Magdalena Frech of Poland 6-2, 6-2 in the second round. Stephens, the reigning U.S. Open champion who grew up in Fresno, has lost only six games in two matches.
   Stephens, ranked 10th, is scheduled to play Italy's Camila Giorgi, ranked 57th, on Friday. Giorgi, who routed Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia 6-0, 6-3, has lost only eight games in two matches.
   Giorgi, 26, is 2-1 against Stephens, 25, all on hard courts.
   In doubles, former collegiate stars Ben McLachlan (Cal), Florian Lakat (Cal) and Scott Lipsky (Stanford) lost in the opening round.
   Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador and Jamie Cerretani of Reading, Mass., defeated 14th-seeded McLachlan, a New Zealand native who plays for his mother's native Japan, and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 6-3. McLachlan and Struff reached the Australian Open semifinals in January in their first tournament together.
   Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and John Millman of Australia beat wild cards Lakat and Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Millman has won two singles titles in NorCal Challengers (Sacramento in 2010 and Aptos in 2015) and was the runner-up in another (Tiburon in 2014).
   Wild cards Benjamin Bonzi and Gregoire Jacq of France downed Americans Lipsky and Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-4. Sandgren played for the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis in 2015, the franchise's only year of existence, and advanced to the singles final in the Tiburon Challenger last fall.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mike Bryan plays, loses without his twin brother

   It was supposed to be the Battle of the Brothers.
   Bob and Mike Bryan, two-time French Open champions and ex-Stanford stars (1997-98), would have played Ken and Neal Skupski of Great Britain today in the first round in Paris.
   But Bob Bryan was forced to withdraw because of a hip injury after landing awkwardly on his right foot while serving in the first set of the Madrid final this month. Then, for the first time in 1,408 career matches, one of the twins retired.
   Consequently, Mike Bryan played with another partner for the first time in 76 career Grand Slam tournaments. Seeded 16th, Bryan and his longtime friend Sam Querrey, both from the Los Angeles area, lost to the Skupskis 7-5, 6-4 at Roland Garros.
   "It just feels like you're missing half of yourself," Mike Bryan lamented to reporters.
   Bob gave Mike permission to play without him.
   "He felt a little guilty that I was kind of waiting for him, so he said, 'Go out there and play with Sam or whoever you get, and then I'll meet you in Europe.' " Mike said.
   Bob hopes to return for the grass-court season after the French Open. If he can't return at all, Mike might not keep playing, The New York Times reported.
   Mike Bryan has had his own troubles. He got divorced last year, undoubtedly contributing to the brothers' prolonged slump. The last of their record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles came in the 2014 U.S. Open.
   But Mike has a new girlfriend, 30-year-old model Nadia Murgasova of Slovakia, and the twins, who turned 40 last month, were rebounding when Bob got hurt. They reached the final of the year's first four Masters 1000 events, winning in Miami and Monte Carlo. 
   Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, is scheduled to get married in 11 days. He would have postponed the wedding if he and Mike Bryan had made the doubles final.
   "Outside of him, I probably would have said no to everyone," Querrey said.
   Ironically, Neal Skupski and the Bryans were teammates on the Sacramento-based California Dream of World TeamTennis in 2015, the franchise's only year of existence. Skupski played full-time and the Bryans part-time.
   The Bryans' father, Wayne, coached the Sacramento Capitals of WTT from 2002 through their final year in 2013, winning the Coach of the Year award from 2004 through 2006.
   Neal Skupski, 28, is seven years younger than Ken. Both starred at LSU, with Ken reaching the 2005 NCAA doubles final with Mark Growcott. They lost to Stanford's KC Corkery and Sam Warburg, a Sacramento native and member of the Capitals' 2007 WTT championship team. 

Altamirano likely to crack top 500 for first time

Collin Altamirano of Sacramento slugs a forehand during his victory over
Ecuador's Emilio Gomez, the son of 1990 French Open champion Andres
Gomez, in the final of the $25,000 Long Beach (Calif.) Futures in January.
Photo courtesy of Steve Pratt
   Collin Altamirano of Sacramento likely will crack the top 500 in the world for the first time after winning a $15,000 Futures tournament in Singapore last week.
   Altamirano, 22, will rise from No. 562 to an estimated No. 491 on June 11, when the next rankings are released. Seeded eighth, he beat unseeded Takuto Niki of Japan 7-6 (5), 6-3 for his second Futures title.
   Niki defeated Altamirano's former teammate at the University of Virginia, 2017 NCAA singles champion Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlotte, N.C., 7-6 (3), 2-1, retired in the semifinals.
   Altamirano also won the Singapore doubles title with Francis Casey Alcantara of the Philippines. The unseeded pair surprised top-seeded Shintaro Imai of Japan and Niki 6-1, 6-4. It was Altamirano's third Futures doubles crown and the 26-year-old Alcantara's seventh.
   Altamirano will leap from No. 754 in doubles to an undetermined spot. At the end of 2017, he was ranked No. 762 in singles and No. 1,551 in doubles.
   Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the USTA boys 18 title in 2013 and turned pro last June, forgoing a chance to join Stanford's Paul Goldstein and USC's Steve Johnson as the only men to win four NCAA team titles. Without Kwiatkowski, Altamirano and J.C. Aragone, the Cavaliers lost in the second round of the NCAAs this month.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Querrey tops Tiafoe to end clay-court skids

   Sam Querrey ended two clay-court skids today with his victory in the French Open. 
   In an all-American matchup, the 12th-seeded Querrey dispatched 20-year-old prospect Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-2, 7-6 (6) in Paris.
   It was Querrey's first triumph of the year on clay after three losses and his first win at Roland Garros since 2014 after three consecutive first-round losses. 
   Tiafoe reached his second ATP World Tour final of the year last month, losing to Joao Sousa of Portugal on clay in Estoril, Portugal. Tiafoe won his first ATP title in Delray Beach on hard courts in February.
   Querrie, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, will try to match his best French Open showing (2013) when he meets 33-year-old Frenchman Gilles Simon, who beat Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 6-4, 6-0, 6-7 (4), 6-4. 
   Simon, the runner-up to Dominic Thiem on Saturday in Lyon, has reached the fourth round of the French Open three times (2011, 2013 and 2015) for his best showings in 12 appearances.
   The 15th-ranked Querrey is 3-4 against Simon, who's ranked 65th after climbing to a career-high No. 6 in 2009. They are 1-1 on clay, including Simon's five-set victory in the third round of the 2013 French Open.
   Meanwhile, 34-year-old Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain eliminated 23rd-seeded Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion and 2017 runner-up who's rebounding from knee surgery, 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3. 
   Garcia-Lopez also beat Wawrinka in the opening round of the 2014 French Open. Wawrinka was bidding for his second consecutive Grand Slam title after breaking through in the Australian Open.
   In all-Spanish battle, 21-year-old Jaume Munar outlasted 36-year-old David Ferrer, the 2013 runner-up to -- surprise! -- Rafael Nadal, 3-6, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 7-5 in 4 hours, 15 minutes. 
   The top-seeded Nadal, seeking his 11th French Open crown, led lucky loser Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-4, 6-3, 0-3 when rain suspended play.
   No. 20 seed Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion and a three-time runner-up at Roland Garros, dismissed 34-year-old Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. Djokovic said he has been pain-free for the past two weeks after struggling with a right elbow injury for more than two years.
   On the women's side, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki, No. 13 Madison Keys and No. 15 CoCo Vandeweghe triumphed in straight sets.
   Keys defeated Vandeweghe to win the Bank of West Classic at Stanford last August. The tournament will be replaced by the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State.

Wake, Ole Miss players claim NCAA singles titles

   The Wake Forest men made the most of their homecourt advantage in the NCAA Championships.
   After the Demon Deacons won the team title at home in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Tuesday, two of their players met in today's singles final. No. 4 seed Petros Chrysochos, a junior from Cyprus, defeated No. 7 Borna Gojo, a sophomore from Croatia, 6-3, 6-3.
   It was the first time in 20 years and fourth time in history that two men from the same school played for the NCAA title. In 1998, Stanford's Bob Bryan defeated Paul Goldstein in Athens, Ga.
   In today's women's final, No. 6 Arianne Hartono, a Mississippi senior from the Netherlands, beat No. 9-16 Ashley Lahey, a Pepperdine sophomore from Hawthorne in the Los Angeles area, 6-4, 6-2. Lahey was Hartono's third straight Pepperdine opponent.
   International players swept the singles titles for the first time since Cal's Suzi Babos (Hungary) and UCLA's Benjamin Kohllhoeffel (Germany) in 2006. Americans had won four consecutive men's titles and six straight women's crowns.
   Today's doubles finals featured four unseeded teams.
   UCLA's Martin Redlicki and Evan Zhu saved a match point in their 6-7 (8), 7-6 (4) [11-9] victory over Ohio State's Martin Joyce and Mikael Torpegaard.
   Redlicki, a senior from Boca Raton, Fla., also won the 2016 NCAA doubles title with Mackenzie McDonald, from Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   As for Torpegaard, you have to feel for the guy. The senior from Denmark also lost to McDonald 6-3, 6-3 in the 2016 NCAA singles final and fell to Chrysochos in last week's singles quarterfinals in a third-set tiebreaker. Furthermore, Ohio State lost to Wake Forest 4-2 in last week's team final.
   LSU's Jessica Golovin and Eden Richardson outclassed Vladica Babic and Sofia Blanco of Oklahoma State 6-3, 6-2.
   All finals were moved indoors because of rain.

Defending champ falls in first round of French Open

A forlorn Jelena Ostapenko talks to the media after losing
to local favorite CiCi Bellis in the first round of the 2016
Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Ostapenko was 19
and Bellis 17 at the time. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Jelena Ostapenko couldn't handle the pressure of defending her French Open title.
   Kateryna Kozlova of Ukraine ousted Ostapenko, seeded fifth, 7-5, 6-3 on Sunday in the first round at Roland Garros.
   "Terrible day at the office today for me," Ostapenko, who committed 48 unforced errors and 13 double faults, told reporters. "I mean, in general, I played maybe, like, 20 percent of what I can play. Made like 50 unforced errors and so many double faults. Like, couldn't serve today. I had this unbelievable pressure. I felt that I'm not myself."
   Ostapenko, a Latvian who will turn 21 on June 8, became only the second defending champ to lose in the opening round of the French Open, joining 2005 champion Anastasia Myskina of Russia, and the sixth at any major tournament in the Open era.
   Last year, the 47th-ranked Ostapenko became the first woman since 1979 to win her first tour-level title in a Grand Slam tournament.
   The 24-year-old Kozlova, ranked 66th, improved to 3-0 against Ostapenko with only her second main-draw victory in a Grand Slam tournament.
   "I didn't expect anything from this match," conceded Kozlova, who wasn't sure two months ago whether she could play in the French Open because of damaged knee cartilage.
   Meanwhile, 91st-ranked Wang Qiang of China upended ninth seed and 2002 runner-up Venus Williams, who will turn 38 on June 17, 6-4, 7-5. It's the first time in Williams' career that she has lost in the first round of two consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. She fell to Belinda Bencic of Switzerland 6-3, 7-5 in the Australian Open.
   Also losing in the bottom half of the draw were qualifier Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 champion who will turn 38 on June 23, and Sara Errani, the 2012 runner-up. That already means there will be at least one first-time French Open finalist.
   The highest remaining seeds in the bottom half are No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 4 Elina Svitolina, No. 8 Petra Kvitova and No. 10 Sloane Stephens.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, crushed lucky loser Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-0 in 49 minutes. Rus, a 27-year-old left-hander ranked 106th, had only two winners and 25 unforced errors.
   Stephens, who won her first major title in last year's U.S. Open in her fifth tournament back from foot surgery, will play qualifier Magdalena Frech of Poland for the first time in the second round.
   The 20-year-old Frech, ranked 137th, defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
   Note -- After reaching the semifinals in Lyon last week, Cameron Norrie of Great Britain cracked the top 100 for the first time at No. 85. The 22-year-old left-hander turned pro only one year ago after his junior year at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
   Norrie, who stunned No. 10 John Isner in the Lyon quarterfinals, swept the $100,000 Tiburon and Stockton Challengers in consecutive weeks in Northern California last fall.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Wake Forest men repeat 20-year-old Stanford feat

   For the first time in 20 years and fourth time in history, two men from the same school will play for the NCAA title.
   No. 4 seed Petros Chrysochos and No. 7 Borna Gojo of NCAA champion Wake Forest are scheduled to meet on Monday at 10:30 a.m. PDT on their home courts in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Chrysochos, a junior from Cyprus, beat No. 1 Martin Redlicki of UCLA 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 early today. Then Gojo, a sophomore from Croatia, downed No. 3 Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.
   Chrysochos and Gojo became the first men from the same school to reach the NCAA final since Stanford's Bob Bryan defeated Paul Goldstein in Athens, Ga., in 1998.
   Bryan has gone on to a professional doubles career that will land him and twin brother Mike, who also starred at Stanford, in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Goldstein is now Stanford's coach.
   In Monday's women's final, No. 6 Arianne Hartono of Mississippi will face her third straight Pepperdine player, No. 9-16 Ashley Lahey, at 9 a.m.
   Hartono, a senior from the Netherlands, edged Mayar Sherif of Pepperdine 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2). Sherif, a senior from Egypt who transferred from Fresno State two years ago, served for the match twice in the second set and had match points at 5-4.
   Lahey, a sophomore from Hawthorne in the Los Angeles area, outplayed No. 8 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt 6-3, 6-3. Stanford nipped the Commodores 4-3 on Tuesday for its second NCAA team title in three years and record 19th overall.
   Monday's NCAA doubles finals will feature four unseeded teams. Redlicki and Evan Zhu will meet Martin Joyce and Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State at 1 p.m., and Jessica Golovin and Eden Richardson of LSU will play Vladica Babic and Sofia Blanco of Oklahoma State at a time to be announced.
   All finals will be streamed live.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Wake men, Waves women dominate NCAA singles

   It's unlikely, but the NCAA Championships could feature all-Wake Forest and all-Pepperdine singles finals.
   Today, No. 4 seed Petros Chrysochos and No. 7 Borna Gojo of host and NCAA champion Wake Forest reached the men's semifinals, and No. 9-16 Ashley Lahey and unseeded Mayar Sherif of Pepperdine advanced to the women's semis.
   Chrysochos, a junior from Cyprus, edged No. 6 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (2). Torpegaard, a senior from Denmark, reached the NCAA final two years ago.
   Chrysochos will meet No. 1 Martin Redlicki of UCLA.
   Gojo, a sophomore from Croatia, topped No. 2 William Blumberg of North Carolina 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Blumberg, a sophomore from Greenwich, Conn., advanced to last year's final.
   Gojo will face No. 3 Nuno Borges, a Mississippi State junior from Portugal who reached the semis for the second consecutive year.
   Lahey, a sophomore from Hawthorne in the Los Angeles region, beat No. 9-16 Andrea Lazaro of Florida International 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
   Lahey will play No. 8 Fernanda Contreras, a Vanderbilt junior from Austin, Texas. Stanford edged Vanderbilt 4-3 in the NCAA final on Tuesday.
   Sherif, a senior from Egypt, nipped No. 9-16 Astra Sharma of Vanderbilt 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (5).
   Sherif, who transferred from Fresno State two years ago, will take on No. 6 Arianne Hartono, a Mississippi senior from the Netherlands who defeated another Pepperdine player, 2016 semifinalist Luisa Stefani of Brazil, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3. Stefani ousted top-seeded Bianca Turati of Texas in the first round.
   The women's semifinals are scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT, and the men's semis are set for 10:30 a.m. Both matches, as well as the doubles semis beginning at noon, will be streamed live.
   Both of the top seeds in doubles lost to unseeded teams 10-7 in match tiebreakers.
   Redlicki and Evan Zhu outlasted Borges and Strahinja Rakic 4-6, 6-3 [10-7], and Sara Daavettila and Alle Sanford of North Carolina nipped Paige Hourigan and Kenya Jones of Georgia Tech 6-4, 1-6 [10-7].

Friday, May 25, 2018

Last NorCal players eliminated from NCAA tourney

   Northern California players are done in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
   Emily Arbuthnott, a Stanford sophomore from England, and Cameron Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, lost today in the singles round of 16 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   No. 9-16 seed Astra Sharma, a Vanderbilt senior from Australia, defeated Arbuthnott 6-2, 6-4. Stanford edged Vanderbilt 4-3 on Tuesday for its second NCAA team title in three years. Sharma beat Arbuthnott in doubles; they did not meet in singles.
   No. 2 seed William Blumberg of North Carolina beat Klinger 6-4, 6-1. Blumberg reached last year's final as a freshman, losing to senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Virginia.
   By reaching the round of 16, Arbuthnott and Klinger earned All-America status.
   Sharma will meet Mayar Sherif, a Pepperdine senior who transferred from Fresno State two years ago, on Friday. The other women's quarterfinal matchups are No. 6 seed Arianne Hartono of Mississippi against Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine, No. 9-16 Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine versus No. 9-16 Andrea Lazaro of Florida International and No. 8 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt against No. 9-16 Anna Danilina of Florida.
   Blumberg will face No. 7 Borna Gojo of host and NCAA champion Wake Forest. The other men's quarterfinal matchups are No. 1 Martin Redlicki of UCLA against No. 9-16 Mazen Osama of Alabama, No. 4 Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest versus No. 6 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State and No. 3 Nuno Borges of Mississippi State against No. 9-16 Timo Stodder of Tennessee.
   Only two women, Contreras and Lahey, and two men, Redlicki and Blumberg, in the quarterfinals are American.

Querrey to face fellow Yank Tiafoe in French Open

   No. 12 seed Sam Querrey will play fellow American and rising star Frances Tiafoe in the first round of the French Open.
   The draw for the year's second Grand Slam tournament was held on Thursday in Paris. The main draw begins Sunday at 2 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel).
   Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, is 1-0 against Tiafoe, 20. Querrey won 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the second round at Shanghai last October.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey is 4-11 in the French Open with three consecutive first-round losses. His best result was a third-round appearance in 2013. Tiafoe is 0-2 at Roland Garros.
   Querrey is ranked 13th and Tiafoe 61st.
   On the women's side, 10th-seeded Sloane Stephens will play a qualifier to be determined.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, missed last year's French Open while recovering from foot surgery. In her fifth tournament back, she won the U.S. Open for her first Grand Slam title.
   Stephens reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for four consecutive years (2012-15), her best showings there.
   Querrey and the 10th-ranked Stephens are situated in the bottom quarter of their respective draws. Also in those quarters are No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Dominic Thiem among the men, and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 8 Petra Kvitova among the women.
   Another San Francisco native, 19-year-old CiCi Bellis, remains out with a right elbow injury. She has not played since losing to Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-0 in the first round at Miami in late March.
   Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, seeded eighth in French Open qualifying, lost to Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 in the second round.

Klinger, Arbuthnott reach NCAA singles round of 16

   Only Cameron Klinger and Emily Arbuthnott survived a brutal day for Northern California players on Thursday in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, and Arbuthnott, a Stanford sophomore from England, reached today's singles round of 16.
   Klinger dismissed Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech 6-3, 6-2, and Arbuthnott held off Josie Kuhlman of Florida 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 two days after helping the Cardinal win the NCAA title. Kuhlman reached the 2015 semifinals as a freshman.
   Klinger, who upset 9-16 seed Alex Knight of Michigan 6-4, 6-0 in the first round, is scheduled to face second-seeded William Blumberg, a North Carolina sophomore who advanced to last year's final. Arbuthnott will take on Astra Sharma, a 9-16 seed from NCAA runner-up Vanderbilt. Both matches are scheduled for 7 a.m. PDT and will be streamed live.
   Sharma, a redshirt senior from Australia, has lost only two games in two matches.
   No. 9-16 seed Michaela Gordon, a Stanford freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the second round.
   Billy Griffith, a Cal senior from Fresno, bowed out to Jose Salazar of Arkansas 6-1, 7-5 after ousting eighth-seeded Ryotaro Matsumura of Kentucky in the first round on Wednesday.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon, seeded third in doubles, fell to Chandler Carter and Emma Davis of Wake Forest 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round.
   Other results of matches involving NorCal players:
   Alfredo Perez (9-16), Florida, def. Victor Pham (Saratoga), Columbia, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.
   Fernanda Contreras (8), Vanderbilt, def. Felicity Maltby (Sunnyvale), Texas Tech, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round.
   Johannes Ingildsen and Perez (4), Florida, def. Tom Fawcett and Axel Geller, Stanford, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 10-4 in the first round.
   Blumberg and Robert Kelly (2), North Carolina, def. Griffith and J.T. Nishimura (San Jose), Cal, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.
   Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith, UCLA, def. Klinger and Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.
   Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono (5-8), Mississippi, def. Georgia Lawson and Emma Wilson, Fresno State, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cal's Griffith stuns No. 8 seed in NCAA singles

   Billy Griffith, a Cal senior from Fresno, ousted No. 8 seed Ryotaro Matsumura of Kentucky 6-4, 6-3 today in the first round of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Griffith, ranked No. 54, is scheduled to play No. 18 Jose Salazar of Arkansas on Thursday at 6 a.m. PDT. All matches are being streamed live.
   Cameron Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, knocked off No. 9-16 seed Alex Knight of Michigan 6-4, 6-0. Klinger, ranked No. 26, will take on No. 29 Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech at 5 a.m.
  Victor Pham of Columbia and Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area topped Jordi Arconada of Texas A&M 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3. Pham, a junior, will meet 9-16 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida at 8:30 a.m.
   No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior and 2017 semifinalist, lost to Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Top-seeded Martin Redlicki of UCLA beat Tim Sandkaulen of Mississippi 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
   On the women's side, Stanford's Michaela Gordon and Emily Arbuthnott advanced one day after the Cardinal won its second NCAA crown in three years.
   Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga seeded 9-16, dismissed Fatima Bizhukova of Wichita State 6-2, 6-3. Arbuthnott beat Ingrid Gamarra Martins of South Carolina 6-3, 7-5. Gamarra Martins replaced fourth-seeded Samantha Harris of Duke after Harris withdrew.
   Gordon, ranked 15th, is scheduled to face No. 21 Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech on Thursday. The 43rd-ranked Arbuthnott will play No. 52 Josie Kuhlman of Florida. Both matches are scheduled for 8 a.m.
   Melissa Lord, who won the deciding match in Stanford's 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt in the NCAA final, lost to No. 9-16 seed Andrea Lazaro of Florida International 6-4, 6-1.
   Alternate Felicity Maltby of Texas Tech and Sunnyvale in the Bay Area routed Maria Kononova of North Texas 6-1, 6-1. Maltby, a junior ranked No. 58, will face Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras, ranked and seeded 10th, at 7:30 a.m.
   Top-seeded Bianca Turati of Texas fell to Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani, a semifinalist two years ago as a freshman, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3.
   All three Cal women in NCAA singles -- junior Olivia Hauger and freshmen Anna Bright and Julia Rosenqvist -- lost in the opening round.
   In the first round of doubles on Thursday:
   --Griffith and J.T. Nishimura, a senior from San Jose, will take on second-seeded William Blumberg and Robert Kelly of North Carolina at 11:30 a.m.
   --Klinger and Billy Rowe will face Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith of UCLA at 12:30 p.m.
   --Arbuthnott and Gordon will meet Chandler Carter and Emma Davis of host Wake Forest at 1:30 p.m.
   --And Fawcett and Axel Geller will play fourth-seeded Johannes Ingildsen and Perez at 2 p.m.

Ex-Stanford teammates fall in French Open qualifying

   Former Stanford teammates Carol Zhao and Kristie Ahn each lost 6-3 in the third set today in the first round of French Open qualifying in Paris.
   Zhao, a 22-year-old Canadian, fell to 37-year-old Italian Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 champion at Roland Garros, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The match had been suspended by rain at one set apiece on Tuesday.
   Ahn, 25, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., bowed out to Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-3.
   U.S. women went 6-4 in the first round of French Open qualifying, including Caroline Dolehide's victory over fellow American Irina Falconi. U.S. men, meanwhile, went 2-9.
   Nicole Gibbs, who won two NCAA titles in singles (2012 and 2013) and one in doubles (2012) before leaving Stanford one year early, is scheduled to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia for the first time on Thursday in the second round of qualifying.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Good Lord! Stanford women win another NCAA title

   Naturally, it came down to Melissa Lord.
   And naturally, she came through.
   That's how it works for the Stanford women.
   Lord, a junior All-American from Bloomfield, Conn., lifted the 15th-seeded Cardinal to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Vanderbilt today in the final of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Stanford won its second NCAA championship in three years and record 19th overall. Florida ranks second with seven.
   Lord, ranked 40th after missing the first half of the spring season with a shoulder injury, outlasted No. 10 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 on Court 2 in Stanford's third consecutive NCAA final. The Cardinal lost to Florida 4-1 last year in Athens, Ga.
   It was the first clincher of the season for Lord, who improved to 15-0 over her career in NCAA team matches.
   Without Lord, Stanford fell to Vanderbilt 7-0 on Feb. 3 in Nashville, Tenn. In the first week of March, the Cardinal was ranked 46th, its lowest position ever, at 4-3 with losses to the Commodores, Texas and Florida.
   Stanford, however, finished the year with 20 straight victories and matched its 2016 record as the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA championship. The Cardinal also won the title in 2013 as the 12th seed and in 2010 as the eighth seed.
   Having ousted, in succession, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 7 Georgia, No. 3 Duke and Vanderbilt in this year's tournament, Stanford has won 20 of its last 23 NCAA Tournament matches when seeded lower than its opponent.
   With its 117th NCAA title in all men's and women's sports, Stanford moved one spot ahead of UCLA for the all-time lead.
    Stanford lost the doubles point against Vanderbilt, as it did against North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and Duke in the Final Four. The Cardinal has won 15 of its last 20 matches, spanning three years, when dropping the doubles point.
   Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles against Vanderbilt.
   No. 11 Contreras and Astra Sharma defeated No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon 6-3, and No. 11 Sharma beat No. 15 Gordon 7-6 (3), 6-3.
   In the men's final, top seed and host Wake Forest beat third-seeded Ohio State 4-2 for its first NCAA title. The Demon Deacons became the first team other than USC or Virginia to win the men's crown since Georgia in 2008.
   The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships begin Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in Winston-Salem. The matches will be streamed live.
   No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior and 2017 semifinalist, is scheduled to play Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State at 8 a.m. PDT.
   Here's the schedule of other matches featuring Northern California competitors in the 64-player singles draws and 32-team doubles draws:
Men's singles (Wednesday)
   Cameron Klinger (San Jose), Vanderbilt, vs. Alex Knight (9-16), Michigan, 6 a.m.
   Billy Griffith (Fresno), Cal, vs. Ryotaro Matsumura (8), Kentucky, 8 a.m.
   Victor Pham (Saratoga), Columbia, vs. Jordi Arconada, Texas A&M, 11:30 a.m.
Men's doubles (Thursday)
   Fawcett-Axel Geller, Stanford, vs. Johannes Ingildsen-Alfredo Perez (4), Florida.
   Klinger (San Jose)-Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt vs. Austin Rapp-Keegan Smith, UCLA.
   Griffith (Fresno)-J.T. Nishimura (San Jose), Cal, vs. William Blumberg-Robert Kelly (2), North Carolina.
Women's singles (Wednesday)
   Olivia Hauger, Cal, vs. Anna Danilina (9-16), Florida, 5 a.m.
   Julia Rosenqvist, Cal, vs. Megan McCray, Oklahoma State, 10 a.m.
   Felicity Maltby (Sunnyvale), Texas Tech, vs. Maria Kononova, North Texas, 10:30 a.m.
   Anna Bright, Cal, vs. Julia O'Loughlin, Denver, 11 a.m.
   Melissa Lord, Stanford, vs. Andrea Lazaro (9-16), Florida International, 12:30 p.m.
   Michaela Gordon (9-16, Saratoga), Stanford, vs. Fatima Bizhukova, Wichita State, 1 p.m.
   Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford, vs. Samantha Harris (4), Duke, 1 p.m.
 Women's doubles (Thursday)
   Arbuthnott-Gordon (3), Stanford, vs. Chandler Carter-Emma Davis, Wake Forest.

No. 15 STANFORD 4, No. 2 VANDERBILT 3
Doubles
1) No. 11 Contreras/Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 3 Arbuthnott/Gordon (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 69 Kurtz/Smith (VANDY) d. No. 84 Lampl/Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-4
3) Lord/Shin (STAN) d. Meyer/Rosca (VANDY) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
Singles
1) No. 11 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 15 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 7-6 (3), 6-3
2) No. 40 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. No. 10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3) No. 93 Caroline Lampl (STAN) d. No. 44 Chris Rosca (VANDY) 6-4, 6-2
4) Amanda Meyer (VANDY) d. No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5) No. 96 Janice Shin (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-3, 6-3
6) No. 102 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4, 2

Gibbs, who battles depression, wins in French qualies

Nicole Gibbs, playing in the Indian Wells Challenger in late February, defeated
Han Xinyun 6-1, 6-4 today in the first round of French Open qualifying. Photo
courtesy of JFS Communications
   Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, who revealed in January that she struggles with clinical depression, defeated Han Xinyun of China 6-1, 6-4 today in the first round of French Open qualifying in Paris.
   Han, a 27-year-old left-hander, had only three winners and 25 errors.
   Gibbs, seeded eighth, is scheduled to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia on Thursday. Ranked as high as No. 68 in 2016, the 5-foot-6 (1.67-meter) Gibbs has dropped to No. 114.
   "When you're not inside the top 50, tennis is a constant identity crisis," Gibbs, who turned 25 in March, told the Telegraph of Great Britain in January. "You ask yourself questions all the time. What can I be doing to do better? Am I doing everything I can? How do I get to that next level where I really want to be? There were times when the up-and-down elements of tennis made things almost unbearable for me."
   Gibbs, who won two NCAA titles in singles (2012 and 2013) and one in doubles (2012) before turning pro one year early, seeks her third main-draw berth at Roland Garros. She lost in the opening round to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania in 2015 and to Heather Watson of Great Britain in 2016.
   Canada's Carol Zhao, the 2015 NCAA runner-up, was tied with 37-year-old Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, at one set apiece today when their match was suspended by rain.
   Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion from Stanford, lost to 28th-seeded Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in 2 hours, 15 minutes in the opening round of qualifying.
   Only two of 11 U.S. men, Denis Kudla and 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka, survived the first round of French Open qualifying.
   Opelka, 20, won the $125,000 Bordeaux Challenger on Sunday for the biggest title of his career and his first on clay. He became the first American in the 11-year history of the tournament to take the crown.

Monday, May 21, 2018

U.S. men flop in French Open qualifying

Denis Kudla was the only American man out of
seven to win today in the first round of French
Open qualifying. File photo by Paul Bauman
   American men went 1-6 today in the first round of qualifying for the French Open in Paris.
   No. 7 seed Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and Tampa, Fla., topped Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 6-3, 6-7 (1), 7-5 in 2 hours, 23 minutes.
   Losing were No. 11 Tim Smyczek, San Jose product Dennis Novikov, Ernesto Escobedo, Donald Young, Evan King and Christopher Eubanks.
   Duckhee Lee of South Korea beat Novikov, a 24-year-old former UCLA standout who lives in Los Angeles, 6-2, 6-2.
   Four more U.S. men will play their qualifying openers on Tuesday: ex-Stanford All-American Bradley Klahn, 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka, Stefan Kozlov and Kevin King.
   Women's qualifying will begin Tuesday, with two other former Stanford stars scheduled to play. No. 8 Nicole Gibbs of Venice in the Los Angeles area will face Han Xinyun of China, and No. 23 Carol Zhao of Canada will take on 37-year-old Italian Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 champion.

Stanford women reach third straight NCAA final

   This is looking a lot like 2016 for the Stanford women.
   Then, the Cardinal became the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA championship at No. 15.
   Stanford (23-3) can match that feat when it faces Vanderbilt (27-3), seeded first and ranked second, on Tuesday at 10 a.m. PDT in Winston-Salem, N.C. The match will be streamed live.
   The Cardinal, which has overcome early-season injuries, beat third-ranked Duke, playing near home, 4-2 today. The Commodores defeated fourth-ranked Georgia Tech 4-2.
   Stanford extended its winning streak to 19 matches and reached the NCAA final for the third consecutive year. The Cardinal lost to Florida 4-1 last year in Athens, Ga.
   Stanford also won the NCAA title as the No. 12 seed in 2013 and No. 8 seed in 2010. Overall, the Cardinal has won 19 of its last 22 NCAA matches when seeded lower than its opponent.
   Stanford's Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles against Duke.
   No. 9 Ellyse Hamlin and Kaitlyn McCarthy beat No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon 6-3 as the Blue Devils won the doubles point.
   No. 6 Samantha Harris topped No. 15 Gordon 6-2, 7-6 (3) to cut Stanford's lead to 3-2 before No. 93 Caroline Lampl topped No. 116 McCarthy 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   In Tuesday's men's final, No. 1 Wake Forest (30-2) will meet No. 3 Ohio State (34-2). The Buckeyes defeated No. 2 UCLA 4-1 in a nearly seven-hour match featuring two lightning delays.
   On Court 4, No. 96 Kyle Seelig of Ohio State beat No. 103 Logan Staggs, a senior from Tracy in Northern California, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Staggs did not play doubles.

Ex-Stanford star takes 125K Bordeaux doubles title

Bradley Klahn, shown in January, won his sixth career Challenger
doubles title on Sunday. Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Bradley Klahn, a former Stanford star from Poway in the San Diego area, and Peter Polansky of Canada defeated Guillermo Duran and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-3, 3-6 [10-7] on Sunday to win the $125,000 BNP Paribas Primrose 2018 on clay in Bordeaux, France.
   Both teams were unseeded.
   Klahn, a 27-year-old left-hander, won his sixth Challenger doubles title and first with Polansky. Klahn reached the singles quarterfinals in Bordeaux, losing to unseeded Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-3.
   Unseeded Reilly Opelka, 20, won the singles title. The 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) American outlasted wild card Gregoire Barrere of France 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5.
   It was the biggest title of Opelka's career and his first on clay.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Staggs, UCLA men advance to NCAA semifinals

   The No. 2 UCLA men, with senior Logan Staggs of Tracy in Northern California, edged No. 10 USC 4-3 today to reach the semifinals of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   The Bruins (30-2) improved to 4-0 against their crosstown rival this season. Top-ranked Martin Redlicki clinched the victory by topping No. 11 Brandon Holt, the son of International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Court 1.
   USC's Laurens Verboven defeated No. 103 Staggs, a senior left-hander, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 on Court 4. Staggs did not play doubles.
   UCLA will play No. 3 Ohio State (33-2) on Monday. The Buckeyes nipped No. 7 Mississippi State 4-3 to reach the NCAA semis for the second consecutive year.
   Also, No. 1 Wake Forest (29-2) and No. 5 Texas A&M (26-5) reached the semis for the first time.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Stanford women upset Georgia to reach NCAA semis

   The Stanford women beat another higher-seeded team in the NCAA Championships today, and it wasn't even close.
   The No. 15 Cardinal routed No. 7 Georgia 4-0 to reach the semifinals in Winston-Salem, N.C. Stanford (22-3) has won 18 matches in a row and 18 of its last 21 NCAA matches as the lower seed.
   Stanford received singles wins from, in chronological order, No. 40 Melissa Lord on Court 2, No. 93 Caroline Lampl on Court 3 and No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott on Court 4.
   The Cardinal's Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, did not finish her matches at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles. She is ranked third in doubles with Arbuthnott and 15th in singles.
   Stanford will seek its third consecutive berth in the final when it faces No. 3 Duke (27-3) on Monday at 9 a.m. PDT. The Cardinal lost to Florida 4-1 last year in Athens, Ga., and beat Oklahoma State 4-3 in 2016 in Tulsa, Okla. Stanford has won a record 18 NCAA team titles, 11 more than second-place Florida.
   Duke beat No. 11 Texas Tech, with junior Felicity Maltby of Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, 4-1. Maltby won at No. 2 doubles to help the Red Raiders lead 1-0 but lost to Meible Chi at No. 2 singles 2-6, 6-2, 6-4. Chi and Maltby are ranked No. 55 and No. 58, respectively, in singles.
   In the other semifinal, No. 2 Vanderbilt (26-3) is scheduled to meet No. 4 Georgia Tech (25-5) on Monday, also at 9 a.m. PDT.
   The Yellow Jackets nipped No. 14 UCLA, with junior Alaina Miller of Saratoga, 4-3 after trailing 3-1. Miller won at No. 3 doubles as the Bruins won the point and at No. 6 singles. Miller, ranked No. 121 in singles, defeated Victoria Flores 6-3, 6-4 on Court 6.

Friday, May 18, 2018

NorCal's Staggs loses, but UCLA men advance

   The UCLA men, featuring senior Logan Staggs of Tracy, today reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA Championships for the 23rd time in 25 seasons under head coach Billy Martin.
   The No. 2-ranked Bruins defeated No. 15 Michigan 4-2 at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The match was delayed by rain and moved from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Mattias Siimar beat Staggs, a 5-foot-9 (1.74-meter) left-hander ranked 103rd, 6-2, 6-4 on Court 4 to cut UCLA's lead to 3-1. Staggs did not play doubles.
   The Bruins (29-2) will face crosstown rival USC, ranked No. 10, on Sunday. The Trojans (20-8) topped No. 6 North Carolina 4-2 in Winston-Salem.
   UCLA is 3-0 this year against USC, including a 4-1 victory in the final of the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif., last month.
   USC leads all schools with 21 NCAA team titles, and UCLA ranks third with 16, one behind Stanford. The Trojans last won the championship in 2014 and the Bruins in 2005.
   The last school besides Virginia or USC to win the NCAA crown was Georgia in 2008. The three-time defending champion Cavaliers lost to Columbia in the second round this year.
   No. 16 Columbia, with two players from Northern California, lost to No. 1 Wake Forest 4-1 today at Wake Forest.
   No. 7 Borna Gojo of the Demon Deacons defeated No. 27 Victor Pham, a junior from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 7-5, 6-3 on Court 1. Huang, a freshman from the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, topped Christian Seraphim, a 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) senior from Germany, 6-1, 6-4 on Court 5.
   In doubles, No. 21 Gojo and Skander Mansouri led No. 47 Pham and Jackie Tang 5-4 when the match was abandoned. Huang did not play doubles.
   Wake Forest (28-2) will play No. 9 Illinois, which eliminated No. 8 Texas Christian 4-1.
   Keenan Mayo of Roseville has signed a letter of intent at Illinois, and Jenson Brooksby of Carmichael has verbally committed to Texas Christian. Roseville and Carmichael are in the Sacramento area.
   Huang and Brooksby train at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento.

NorCal's Brooksby verbally commits to Texas Christian

Jenson Brooksby practices Wednesday at the Arden Hills
Resort and Spa in Sacramento. Photo by Paul Bauman
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Jenson (J.T.) Brooksby had scholarship offers from every big-time tennis university.
   Somewhat surprisingly, the Sacramento-area resident chose eighth-ranked Texas Christian.
   Brooksby verbally committed to the small, private school in Fort Worth shortly after winning the boys 18 singles title in the prestigious Easter Bowl on April 1.
   The 17-year-old high school junior from Carmichael said Wednesday that he will sign his binding National Letter of Intent "as soon as possible" -- Nov. 14 is signing day -- and enroll either in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020.
   "I felt the coaching was really good, the school fit itself was really good, I like the smaller school size, and they're really dedicated to (developing) pro players," Brooksby said after practice at the JMG Tennis Academy at the Arden Hills Resort and Spa. "I feel like their individual training for the players is really good as well. So I felt it was the best fit overall."
   Brooksby chose TCU and Fort Worth over UCLA and Los Angeles. TCU's undergraduate enrollment of 8,891 is almost one-fourth of UCLA's, and Fort Worth's population of 854,113 is almost one-fifth of Los Angeles'.
   Brooksby, a Sacramento native, has been home-schooled since the sixth grade and coached by Joseph Gilbert (no relation to renowned commentator and coach Brad Gilbert), JMG's founder and owner, since age 7.
   "It's a smaller bubble (at TCU), and that's very much what he has here," said Gilbert, who also has sent Collin Altamirano and Camille Favero to Virginia, Brandon Sutter to Stanford, Austen Huang to Columbia, Kassidy Jump to Arizona State and current pupil Eric Hadigian to Arizona.
   Altamirano, the USTA boys 18 champion in 2013, helped the Cavaliers win three NCAA team titles before turning pro last year. But Brooksby said Virginia is "too far away." Stanford and Cal are near Sacramento, but Brooksby added that they offered less than full scholarships. And Cal, like UCLA, has an undergraduate enrollment over 30,000.
   Brooksby, whose father is an anesthesiologist, said TCU and UCLA were among about 20 schools to offer him a rare full ride.
   Men's programs are allowed only 4.5 scholarships versus eight for women. Title IX requires equal opportunities, and women don't play football.
   TCU, under head coach David Roditi and assistant coach Devin Bowen, will try to reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year when it faces No. 9 Illinois today in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   The Horned Frogs (20-4) are led by Alex Rybakov, a junior from Coral Springs, Fla. He is ranked No. 21 in singles and No. 6 in doubles (with senior Guillermo Nunez of Chile) by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
   Cameron Norrie, a left-hander from Great Britain, is ranked No. 102 in the world only one year after turning pro following his junior season at TCU. He won the $100,000 Tiburon and Stockton Challengers in Northern California back-to-back last fall.
   College coaches are prohibited from discussing recruits until they sign letters of intent.
   Brooksby has played in tournaments on the USTA Pro Circuit since he was 14. He reached the singles quarterfinals and doubles semifinals (with Altamirano) in the Claremont (Calif.) Futures last September and advanced to the final round of qualifying in the $100,000 San Francisco Challenger in February.
   Brooksby, who plays few junior tournaments, is ranked 34th nationally in the 18s. His gold ball in the Easter Bowl was his second. He also won the national hard court 12s in 2013 in Little Rock, Ark.
   In 2016, Brooksby advanced to the 16s final of the national hard courts in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the national clay courts in Delray Beach, Fla.
Joseph Gilbert, the founder and owner
of the JMG Tennis Academy, observes
his players at Arden Hills on Wednes-
day. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter), 155-pound (70.3-kilogram) Brooksby's strengths are competitiveness and precise groundstrokes.
   "He doesn't have huge weapons," Gilbert conceded, "but he doesn't have a lot of holes. When he's able to get rallies going and keep (opponents) out there for two or three hours, (their games) break down over time. ... It's not easy to see because he doesn't do it by a huge serve or a big forehand winner. It's a process that he breaks guys down with. He does it very well."
   Brooksby is working to add power to his serve and curb his emotions.
   "His competitiveness is a blessing in some ways and hurts him in other ways," Gilbert said. "He has to constantly be working on controlling it so he can focus on the game plan. Sometimes the score and the emotions get the best of him. At the Easter Bowl, he was frustrated (in the final). You saw that. He was more focused on the win and the score than the game plan."
   In the Easter Bowl final at Indian Wells, the unseeded Brooksby beat top-seeded Tristan Boyer of Altadena in the Los Angeles area 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. Brooksby squandered a 5-2 lead in the first set and almost blew a 5-0 lead in the third set. He held on after serving at 5-3, 0-30.
   Brooksby also can become passive on the court.
   "Sometimes he relies on his consistency and gets too 'pushy' waiting for guys to miss," Gilbert said. "That's when he gets in the most trouble instead of having a plan with every shot. Once he's doing that, he's really strong."
   Off the court, the sports-loving Brooksby is polite and down-to-earth.
   "He has a very good heart," Gilbert said. "He means well. He wants to do the right thing. He's grown up in a small town. He has an innocent mindset. I like that about him."

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Stanford women oust No. 1 N. Carolina in NCAAs

   The North Carolina women were ranked No. 1.
   They were playing only 90 minutes from home.
   And they won the double point.
   As usual, though, none of it mattered to Stanford.
   The No. 15-ranked Cardinal ousted the Tar Heels 4-1 today to reach the Elite Eight in the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C. It was the Cardinal's 17th consecutive victory.
   Stanford (21-3) has won 17 of its last 20 NCAA matches when seeded lower than its opponent, according to gostanford.com. The stretch dates to 2010 and has produced three national championships (2010, 2013 and 2016).
   The Cardinal has won a record 18 NCAA team titles, 11 more than second-place Florida.
   Stanford's Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, won at No. 1 doubles and trailed at No. 1 singles when the match was abandoned.
   No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon defeated No. 4 Jessie Aney and Alexa Graham 6-4, and No. 2 Makenna Jones led No. 15 Gordon 7-6 (2), 1-2.
   The Cardinal will play No. 7 Georgia (18-6) on Saturday. The Bulldogs edged South Carolina, featuring two Bay Area players, 4-3 in Winston-Salem.
   No. 63 Paige Cline, a junior from Kentfield, and Hadley Berg, a senior from Greenbrae, won on Court 1 as the Gamecocks (21-7) took the doubles point. Mariana Gould beat Cline 6-4, 6-1 on Court 4 to give Georgia a 2-1 lead before No. 34 Berg beat No. 75 Kennedy Shaffer 6-2, 6-4 on Court 2 for a 2-2 tie.
   Also advancing in Winston-Salem were No. 11 Texas Tech, with junior Felicity Maltby of Sunnyvale, and No. 14 UCLA, with junior Alaina Miller of Saratoga.
   The Red Raiders (23-6) surprised No. 6 Texas 4-1, ending the Longhorns' winning streak at 19 matches. Maltby and Gabriela Talaba triumphed 6-1 on Court 2 to help Texas Tech earn the doubles point. No. 30 Anna Turati led No. 58 Maltby 2-6, 7-5, 3-2 on Court 2 when their match was halted.
   Texas Tech will face No. 3 Duke (26-3), also playing near home, on Saturday.
   UCLA knocked off No. 6 Mississippi 4-1 for the Bruins' 14th win in their last 15 matches. Miller clinched the victory with a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-3 decision over Alexa Bortles on Court 6. Miller also won with Ena Shibahara on Court 3 as UCLA swept the doubles matches.
   The Bruins (23-5) will play No. 4 Georgia Tech (24-5) on Saturday. In the other quarterfinal, No. 2 Vanderbilt (25-3) will meet No. 21 Florida State (21-8).

Sunday, May 13, 2018

No. 4 Stanford men stunned at home in NCAA thriller

   William Genesen had three match points to send the Stanford men to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   But Mississippi's Finn Reynolds, a freshman from New Zealand, survived the predicament and went on to beat Genesen, a sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 on Court 6 and give the No. 38 Rebels a 4-3 victory over the No. 4 Cardinal today at Stanford. Genesen led 2-0 in the third set.
  Mississippi (16-12) went ahead 2-0, but the Cardinal (22-4) rallied for a 3-2 advantage. No. 33 Tim Sandkaulen defeated No. 83 Axel Geller, a freshman from Argentina who reached No. 1 in the world junior rankings last November, 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Court 2 to tie the score before Reynolds' heroics.
   No. 16 Columbia, with three Northern California players, beat three-time defending champion Virginia 4-2 in New York on Saturday to reach the last 16.
   No. 27 Victor Pham, a junior from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to No. 24 Carl Soderlund 6-1, 7-6 (5) on Court 1. Austen Huang, a freshman from Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, defeated Matthew Lord 6-4, 6-1 on Court 5. Alex Keyser, a sophomore from Danville in the Bay Area, did not play.
   Columbia (19-4) will face top-ranked Wake Forest (27-2) on Friday in Winston-Salem.  
   No. 2 UCLA, with senior Logan Staggs of Tracy (near San Francisco), dominated No. 39 San Diego 4-0 today.
   No. 22 Vanderbilt, with junior Cameron Klinger of San Jose, lost to No. 9 Illinois 4-0 in Champaign, Ill. Klinger fell at No. 1 singles and doubles.
   On Saturday, No. 15 Stanford and three other women's teams with NorCal players advanced to the Sweet 16 in Winston-Salem.
   No. 10 South Carolina features senior Hadley Berg of Greenbrae and junior Paige Cline of Kentfield. Playing for No. 11 Texas Tech is junior Felicity Maltby of Sunnyvale. Also, No. 14 UCLA has junior Alaina Miller of Saratoga.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

No. 15 Stanford women coast into NCAA Sweet 16

   The 15th-ranked Stanford women rolled into the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Championships with a 4-0 victory over No. 17 Michigan today at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   It was the 16th consecutive victory for Stanford (20-3).
   On Court 1, No. 29 Kate Fahey of Michigan led No. 15 Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 7-5, 1-5 when their match was abandoned.
   No. 40 Melissa Lord of Stanford routed Brienne Minor, the defending NCAA singles champion, 6-1, 6-2 on Court 2 to improve to 11-0 in NCAA team matches.
   No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon lost to Fahey and Minor 6-4 in doubles on Court 1.
   Stanford improved to 40-5 in May since 2010, a stretch that has produced three of its record 18 NCAA team titles. The Cardinal will need every bit of its NCAA karma when it takes on No. 2 North Carolina (28-3) on Thursday in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   In Los Angeles, No. 12 UCLA blitzed No. 25 Baylor 4-0 to reach the last 16. The Bruins' Alaina Miller, a junior from Saratoga, coasted to victories at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.
   UCLA (22-5) will face No. 4 Mississippi (22-6) on Thursday in Winston-Salem.
   Also at Stanford today, the fourth-ranked Cardinal men routed New Mexico State 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
   Stanford (22-3) will face No. 38 Mississippi on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Stanford. The Rebels (15-12) edged No. 28 Duke 4-3.
   No. 34 Cal lost to No. 12 and host Texas 4-0 in Austin in the second round.
   Bears seniors Billy Griffith of Fresno and J.T. Nishimura of San Jose did not finish their matches at No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively. No. 110 Christian Sigsgaard led No. 54 Griffith 7-5, 5-2, and No. 52 Yuya Ito led Nishimura 4-6, 6-4, 1-0.
   Cal's Paul Barretto, a freshman from Tiburon in the Bay Area, lost to No. 104 Rodrigo Banzer 6-4, 6-0 on Court 5. The Bears' No. 3 through 6 singles players are freshmen.
   No. 2 UCLA, with senior Logan Staggs of Tracy, blanked Idaho 4-0 in Los Angeles in the first round. Staggs was tied with Guilherme Scarpelli at one set apiece on Court 4 when their match was halted. Staggs did not play doubles.
   The Bruins (27-2) will host No. 39 San Diego on Sunday. The Toreros (17-8) eliminated No. 30 Texas Tech 4-2 in Los Angeles.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Cal men upset N.C. State in first round of NCAAs

   The No. 34 Cal men defeated No. 24 North Carolina State 4-1 today in Austin, Texas, in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
   Paul Barretto, a freshman from Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area, clinched the victory with a 7-5, 6-4 decision over Robert Turzak on Court 5.
   Seniors Billy Griffith of Fresno and J.T. Nishimura of San Jose won at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively, for Cal, which had lost the doubles point.
   The Bears (12-9) will meet host Texas, ranked 12th, on Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT for the right to advance to the round of 16 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The Longhorns (18-6) dismissed Bryant of Smithfield, R.I., 4-0.
   In the first round of the NCAA women's tournament, No. 15 Stanford routed St. John's 4-0 at Stanford for its 15th consecutive victory. Michaela Gordon, a Cardinal freshman from Saratoga in the Bay Area, led at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles when her matches were abandoned.
   The Cardinal (19-3), last year's runner-up to Florida, will host No. 17 Michigan on Saturday at 4 p.m. for a berth in Winston-Salem. The Wolverines (18-9) dispatched Hawaii 4-0 at Stanford.
   No. 14 UCLA dominated Fresno State 4-0 in Los Angeles. The Bruins' Alaina Miller, a junior from Saratoga who uses two hands on both sides, won easily at No. 3 doubles and No. 6 singles.
   UCLA (21-5) will play No. 25 Baylor on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Los Angeles. The Bears topped No. 36 North Carolina State 4-3 to improve to 18-13.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Serena enters Mubadala Classic in San Jose

Serena Williams poses after beating Angelique Kerber in 2014
for her third title in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
    In March, the consensus greatest male player of all time made his first appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   This summer, probably the greatest female player ever plans to play in the Bay Area for the first time in four years.
   Serena Williams, attempting a comeback at 36 after having her first child last September, is scheduled to play in the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State. The tournament, which replaces the longtime Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, is set for July 30-Aug. 5.
   Roger Federer defeated Jack Sock 7-6 (9), 6-4 on March 5 in a lighthearted exhibition before a sellout crowd of 17,496 at SAP Arena in San Jose.
   Williams won the Bank of the West in 2011, 2012 and 2014. She owns 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of Margaret Court's record.
   Williams has played in only two tournament this year, reaching the third round at Indian Wells and losing in the first round at Miami, both in March. She withdrew from next week's Italian Open, saying she needs more time to be "100 percent ready to compete."
   CiCi Bellis, a 19-year-old product of Atherton in the Bay Area, will replace Williams in the Rome draw. Bellis has been sidelined since late March with an arm injury.
   Williams will join another former world No. 1, Maria Sharapova, in the San Jose field. Also entered are defending champion and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys and two-time Bank of the West finalist CoCo Vandeweghe.
   For Mubadala ticket information, go to MubadalaSVC.com or call (866) 982-8497.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Stanford, Cal players earn NCAA berths

   Stanford and Cal each will send three women to the NCAA Singles Championships this month in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Representing the 15th-ranked Cardinal will be No. 15 Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga; No. 40 Melissa Lord, a junior from Bloomfield, Conn.; and No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott, a sophomore from England. Gordon will be seeded 9-16.
   Heading to the NCAAs from unranked Cal will be No. 36 Julia Rosenqvist, a freshman from Sweden; No. 45 Anna Bright, a freshman from Boca Raton, Fla.; and No. 50 Olivia Hauger, a junior from Tulsa, Okla.
   On the men's side, No. 4 Stanford and No. 34 Cal each will have one player in NCAA singles. No. 9 Tom Fawcett, a Cardinal senior from Winnetka, Ill., will be seeded 9-16. No. 54 Billy Griffith, a Bears senior from Fresno, will be unseeded.
   NCAA subcommittees selected 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams for both the men and women. The singles and doubles tournaments are set for May 23-28 after the team competitions May 17-22 in Winston-Salem.
   In doubles, No. 3 Arbuthnott and Gordon will be seeded third. No. 32 Fawcett and freshman Axel Geller of Argentina will be unseeded, as will No. 33 Griffith and senior J.T. Nishimura of San Jose.
   Other players from Northern California picked for NCAA singles and/or doubles (with rankings):
Men's singles
   No. 26 Cameron Klinger, Vanderbilt junior from San Jose.
   No. 27 Victor Pham, Columbia junior from Saratoga.
Men's doubles
   No. 11 Klinger and Billy Rowe.
   No. 41 Pham and Jackie Tang (alternates).
Women's singles
   No. 34 Hadley Berg, South Carolina senior from Greenbrae.
   No. 58 Felicity Maltby (alternate), Texas Tech junior from Sunnyvale.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

McDonald wins Seoul Challenger, nears top 100

Mackenzie McDonald improved to No. 114
in the world by winning the $100,000 Seoul
Challenger. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Less than two years after turning pro, diminutive Mackenzie McDonald is on the verge of cracking the top 100 in the world.
   The fifth-seeded McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, topped third-seeded Jordan Thompson of Australia 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 today to win the $100,000 Seoul Challenger.
   McDonald, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 160 pounds (73 kilograms), jumped 32 places in the rankings to No. 114.
   He almost lost to 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Lloyd Harris, a 21-year-old South African, in the Seoul quarterfinals, surviving 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-3.
   McDonald, now based in Miami, earned his second career Challenger singles title. He defeated former Stanford star Bradley Klahn to win the $100,000 Northbay Healthcare Men's Pro Championships in Fairfield, 38 miles (61 kilometers) north of Piedmont, last October.
   McDonald turned pro in June 2016 after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior. He became the first man to accomplish the feat since Matias Boeker of Georgia in 2001.
   ATP Tour -- Unseeded Dominic Inglot of Great Britain and Robert Lindstedt of Sweden edged top-seeded Ben McLachlan of Japan and Nicholas Monroe of Austin, Texas, 3-6, 6-3 [10-8] to win the Istanbul Open on clay.
   Lindstedt, 41, played at Fresno State before transferring to Pepperdine and reaching the 1998 NCAA doubles final with Kelly Gullett. They lost to Bob and Mike Bryan of Stanford.
   McLachlan, a 25-year-old former Cal All-American, was born and raised in New Zealand but plays for his mother's native country. He and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open in January in their first tournament together.
   In the Istanbul singles final, 25-year-old Taro Daniel of Japan beat Malek Jaziri of Tunisia 7-6 (4), 6-4 for his first career ATP title. Both players were unseeded.
   Daniel was born in New York to an American father, Paul, and Japanese mother, Yasue. The family moved from New York to Japan when Taro was an infant and to Spain when he was 14.
   Paul Daniel grew up in Santa Cruz, 73 miles (117.5 kilometers) south of San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Stanford men, women could go far in NCAAs

   The Stanford men and women could make deep runs in this month's NCAA Tournament.
   The Cardinal men (21-3) are seeded fourth, and the 15th-seeded women (18-3) have a 14-match winning streak after struggling with injuries early in the season.
   In the first round on May 12 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium, the Cardinal men will meet New Mexico State at 1 p.m., and Duke will play Mississippi at 10 a.m.. The two winners will meet on May 13 at 2 p.m. at Stanford.
   The NCAA announced the 64-team men's and women's brackets today.
   Stanford completed its best regular season in 17 years under fourth-year coach Paul Goldstein. The fourth-ranked Cardinal has won 17 NCAA team titles, second to USC's 21 and one ahead of UCLA, but none since 2000. Stanford will face New Mexico State (16-8) for the first time.
   All first- and second-round men's and women's matches are played at campus sites. The final 16 men's and 16 women's teams advance to the NCAA Championships, May 17-22 in Winston-Salem, N.C. The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships are set for May 23-28 in Winston-Salem.
   The Cal men (11-9), ranked No. 32, will take on No. 22 North Carolina State (17-8) for the first time on May 11 at 11 a.m. PDT in Austin, Texas. Texas, seeded 11th and ranked 15th, will host Bryant at 2 p.m.
   Second-seeded UCLA (26-2), with senior Logan Staggs of Tracy at No. 4 singles, will host Idaho (15-7) on May 12 at noon.
   In the first round of the women's tournament, Stanford will host St. John's (17-5) on May 11 at 2 p.m. The Cardinal leads all schools with 18 NCAA team titles (Florida is next with seven). Stanford has reached the last two finals and five of the last eight, winning in 2010, 2013 and 2016.
   Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga, plays No. 1 singles and doubles for the Cardoma;. She is ranked 16th in singles and second in doubles with sophomore Emily Arburthnott of England.
   In another first-round match at Stanford on May 11, Michigan (17-9) will meet Hawaii (12-6) at 11 a.m. The winners of the two matches will meet on May 12 at 4 p.m.
   Twelfth-seeded UCLA (20-5), with junior Alaina Miller of Saratoga at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles, will host Fresno State (12-12) on May 11 at 1 p.m.
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