Friday, August 31, 2018

Serena routs Venus in third round of U.S. Open

Serena Williams, playing at Indian Wells in March, overwhelmed Venus Williams
6-1, 6-2 tonight in the third round of the U.S. Open. Photo by Mal Taam
   Neither an ankle injury nor her older sister could stop Serena Williams tonight.
   No. 17 seed Serena Williams, showing no mercy, dominated No. 16 Venus Williams 6-1, 6-2 in 71 minutes in the third round of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   It equaled the most lopsided match in the head-to-head series, which Serena leads 18-12 with nine victories in the last 11 matches. Serena won by the same score in the Charleston semifinals on clay in 2013.
   Serena, a part-time resident of Silicon Valley who will turn 37 on Sept. 26, rolled her right ankle in the second game of the match and had it taped after holding serve for 2-1. The ankle never seemed to hinder during the match, her earliest against Venus, 38, since their first one 20 years ago in the second round of the Australian Open.
   Serena, whose serve is considered the best in women's history, pounded 10 aces and won 29 of 33 points (88 percent) on her first delivery versus only 19 of 40 (48 percent) for Venus.
   Serena has not lost more than four games in any of her three matches as she tries to win her seventh U.S. Open singles title and tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles championships.
   Next for Serena on Sunday is 33-year-old Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi, a two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist. Kanepi, who ousted top-ranked Simona Halep in the opening round, defeated Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-3, 7-6 (3).
   Serena has not dropped a set in four career matches against Kanepi, who's ranked 44th after reaching a career-high 15th in 2012. Their last encounter also occurred in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, with Serena winning 6-3, 6-3 in 2014.
   Meanwhile, No. 3 seed and defending champion Sloane Stephens outclassed two-time U.S. Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-4. Azarenka, 29, has plummeted from a career-high No. 1 to No. 79 after having her first child in December 2016 and missing tournaments last year because of a child custody dispute.
   Stephens, who grew up in Fresno and still has relatives there, is scheduled to play No. 15 seed Elise Mertens, a 22-year-old Belgian who beat No. 23 seed Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (4), on Sunday.
   Mertens defeated Stephens 7-6 (8), 6-2 two weeks ago in the third round in Cincinnati in their first only previous matchup.
   No. 8 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic got past Sofia Kenin, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 6-4, 7-6 (2).
   Pliskova reached the final of the 2016 U.S. Open and 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, losing to Angelique Kerber each time. Kenin has won a Northern California Challenger for the past three years, including last month's $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge.
   Last year's U.S. Open men's finalists, champion Rafael Nadal and Kevin Anderson, survived stern tests from rising stars.
   The top-seeded Nadal, who seeks his fourth title in Flushing Meadows, held off 27th-seeded Karen Khachanov, 22, of Russia, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (3) in four hours, 23 minutes.
   Anderson, seeded fifth, outlasted 28th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, 19, of Canada 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in three hours, 43 minutes.
   No. 25 Milos Raonic of Canada eliminated Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3. Wawrinka had two operations on his left knee last August, returned too soon and sat out again from February to May.
   In the second round of women's doubles, No. 2 seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France crushed U.S. wild cards Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) and Sabrina Santamaria, both former NCAA doubles champions, 6-0, 6-2 in 51 minutes. Babos and Mladenovic won the Australian Open this year and reached the 2014 Wimbledon final.
   Alicja Rosolska of Poland and Nikola Mektic of Croatia nipped Makoto Ninomiya and Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan 4-6, 6-2 [10-6] in the first round of mixed doubles. McLachlan was born and raised in New Zealand but plays for his mother's native country.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Wozniacki upset in second round of U.S. Open

Caroline Wozniacki, right, shakes hands after losing to Varvara Lepchenko
in the second round of the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
Photo by Mal Taam 
   Like Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki won her first Grand Slam title this year.
   And like Halep, Wozniacki lost early in the U.S. Open.
   The No. 2 seed and two-time runner-up fell to Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-2 tonight in the second round in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Halep on Monday became the first top-seeded woman to lose her opening match in the 50-year history of the U.S. Open, losing to 44th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-4 in 76 minutes.
   After the second round, the highest seed among remaining women is No. 3 and defending champion Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno and still has relatives there.
   Since winning the Australian Open in January, Wozniacki has failed to reach a major quarterfinal. She lost in the fourth round of the French Open to 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina of Russia and in the second round at Wimbledon to Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.
   Wozniacki, 28, had won only one match in three tournaments after capturing the Eastbourne title on grass in June. She retired from her second-round match in Cincinnati two weeks ago with a knee injury after receiving a first-round bye.
   The 29-year-old Tsurenko, meanwhile, upset seventh-seeded Garbine Muguruza en route to the quarterfinals in Cincinnati.
   Both Tsurenko and Wozniacki have played one tournament in Northern California. Tsurenko reached the quarterfinals of last year's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, losing to eventual champion Madison Keys. Wozniacki was seeded first in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic and fell to Uzbekistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko in the second round after receiving a first-round bye. The tournament moved to San Jose this year under a new sponsor.
   In the U.S. Open men's draw, former Aptos Challenger finalists John Millman of Australia and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan will meet for the first time on Saturday after upsetting seeds.
   Millman, the 2015 Aptos champion, toppled 14th-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Kukushkin, the 2014 Aptos runner-up to Marcos Baghdatis, surprised 23rd-seeded Hyeon Chung, an Australian Open semifinalist this year, 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-3.
   With a victory, the 29-year-old Millman can reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. The 30-year-old Kukushkin, meanwhile, can equal his best showing in a major. The winner will play either second-seeded Roger Federer or 30th-seeded Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
   In first-round doubles matches today:
   --No. 3 seeds Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock of the United States overwhelmed Italians Daniele Bracciali and Marco Cecchinato 6-1, 6-1 in 38 minutes. Bryan and Sock won Wimbledon last month.
   --No. 12 seeds Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany lost to Italians Matteo Berrettini and Andreas Seppi 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-4.
   --Wild cards Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) and Sabrina Santamaria of the United States defeated Alexa Guarachi of Chile and Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.
   Gibbs and former USC star Santamaria, both former NCAA doubles champions, are scheduled to face No. 2 seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France on Friday.
   Babos and Mladenovic won the Australian Open this year and reached the 2014 Wimbledon final.
   --Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico beat Raquel Atawo of Sacramento and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan 6-3, 6-2 in mixed doubles. Atawo and Groenefield are seeded 14th in women's doubles.
   --Raluca Olaru of Romania and Franko Sugor of Croatia downed U.S. wild cards Danielle Collins and Tom Fawcett (Stanford, 2015-18) 3-6, 6-4 [10-3] in mixed doubles.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Serena, Venus to meet in third round of U.S. Open

Serena Williams leads her sister Venus 17-12 in their head-to-
head series. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Let the hype begin.
   The Williams sisters will meet for the 30th time on Friday night in the third round of the U.S. Open, the earliest they have faced each other in a Grand Slam tournament in 20 years.
   Serena Williams, seeded 17th after having her first child last Sept. 1, dismissed Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-2, 6-2 in 67 minutes tonight at 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   During the day session, 16th-seeded Venus Williams topped Camila Giorgi of Italy 6-4, 7-5 in stifling heat and humidity in rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium. 
   Serena, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, leads Venus 17-12 in a less-than-scintillating series. This will be their earliest meeting in a Slam since their first one overall, a 7-6 (4), 6-1 victory by Venus in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open.
   Serena, 36, owns six U.S. Open singles titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012-14) and Venus, 38, has two (2000-01).   
   Also today, third seed and defending champion Sloane Stephens held off qualifier Anhelina Kalinina of Ukraine 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours, 46 minutes. Kalinina won the 2015 Sacramento Challenger at age 18.
Venus Williams beat Serena in their first meeting
20 years ago. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, will face wild card Victoria Azarenka, a two-time U.S. Open runner-up who drubbed 25th-seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia 6-1, 6-2 in one hour, 22 minutes.
   Sofia Kenin, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., outlasted 32nd-seeded Maria Sakkari of Greece 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year.
   Kenin, who won last month's $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge, will take on eighth-seeded Karolina Pliskova, the 2016 U.S. Open runner-up to Angelique Kerber.
   Sakkari reached the final of the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose early this month, losing to Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
   In a men's matchup of former San Jose champions, 31st-seeded Fernando Verdasco, 34, of Spain eliminated Andy Murray, who had hip surgery in January, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4. The San Jose tournament folded after the 2013 edition.
   In first-round doubles matches:
   --Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan defeated Mirza Basic and Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-3, 6-2.
   McDonald and Nishioka likely will face third-seeded Mike Bryan (Stanford, 1997-98) and Jack Sock, the reigning Wimbledon champions, in the second round.
   --Brothers Christian and Ryan Harrison outclassed left-handers Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, and Daniel Nestor, a 45-year-old Canadian, 6-3, 6-3.
   Nestor plans to retire after Canada hosts the Netherlands in the World Group playoffs of the Davis Cup on Sept. 14-16. He has won eight Grand Slam men's doubles titles, including the 2004 U.S. Open with Mark Knowles.
   --No. 14 seeds Raquel Atawo, 35, of Sacramento and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany beat Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Pauline Parmentier of France 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Gibbs, McDonald, Brooksby fall in U.S. Open

Nicole Gibbs serves in the final of last month's $60,000 Berkeley
Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   One of Nicole Gibbs' U.S. Open streaks ended today against a formidable opponent.
   No. 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain topped the ex-Stanford star 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round at Flushing Meadows.
   Gibbs, a 25-year-old qualifier, was trying to reach at least the second round of the U.S. Open for the fifth consecutive year. Still, she managed to play in the main draw at Flushing Meadows for the seventh straight year.
   Suarez Navarro is scheduled to play Kristina Mladenovic of France on Thursday in a matchup of former U.S. Open quarterfinalists.
   Mladenovic, who has slumped from a career-high No. 10 last October to No. 53, routed Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia 6-0, 6-3 in 59 minutes. Mladenovic, 25, owns four Grand Slam doubles titles, two women's and two mixed, but none at the U.S. Open.
   Gibbs, from Venice in the Los Angeles area, had reached the second round at Flushing Meadows for three consecutive years and advanced to the third round in 2014.
   Suarez Navarro, who will turn 30 on Monday, has reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the past two years and advanced to the quarterfinals five years ago. She won the doubles title in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford with countrywoman Garbine Muguruza. The tournament moved to San Jose this year under a new sponsor.
   Both Suarez Navarro and Gibbs are undersized players who have tumbled from career-high rankings in 2016 and lost to promising players in recent finals.
   Suarez Navarro, only 5-foot-4 (1.62 meters) and one of the few women with a one-handed backhand, has plunged from No. 6 to No. 30. She fell to 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in the final of last week's Connecticut Open in New Haven.
   The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Gibbs has dropped from No. 68 to No. 115. She succumbed to 19-year-old Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., in the title match of last month's $60,000 Berkeley Challenger.
   In U.S. Open men's action today, Dutch veteran Robin Haase eliminated San Francisco Bay Area product Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-1, 6-3.
   McDonald, 23, advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon last month and won his first Challenger singles title last October in Fairfield, Calif., 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of his childhood home in Piedmont.
   Meanwhile, John Millman of Australia dominated Jenson Brooksby, a 17-year-old wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, 6-4, 6-2, 6-0.
   Millman has won two Northern California Challengers (Sacramento in 2010 and Aptos in 2015) and reached the final of another (Tiburon in 2014).
   Brooksby received an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open for winning the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., this month. He plans to enroll at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Halep suffers historic loss; Stephens, Serena advance

Simona Halep, playing in 2015, became
the first top-seeded woman to lose her
opening match in the 50-year history of
the U.S. Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Defending champion Sloane Stephens and six-time winner Serena Williams, both of whom have strong Northern California ties, won't have to worry about facing Simona Halep before the U.S. Open final.
   Halep today became the first top-seeded woman to lose her opening match in the tournament's 50-year history. In the first match in rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium, she was overpowered by 44th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 6-2, 6-4 in 76 minutes.
   The 5-foot-11 (1.81-meter) Kanepi, a quarterfinalist last year in Flushing Meadows, is five inches (12.7 centimeters) taller than Halep.
   Halep also lost in the first round of last year's U.S. Open, to 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, after reaching the quarterfinals in 2016 and semifinals in 2015.
   "I never play my best tennis here, even if I've done quarterfinals, semifinals," Halep moaned to reporters. "I feel like my game is not at its best, but always I fight for every match.
   "Maybe it's the noise in the crowd; the city is busy. It's everything together. I'm a quiet person, so maybe I like the smaller places."
   Like Paris? Halep won her first Grand Slam title in the French Open in June and tuned up for the U.S. Open by winning Montreal and holding championship point before losing to Kiki Bertens the following week in Cincinnati.
   "I was tired (today), but positive tired because I played so many matches in Montreal and Cincinnati," said Halep, who withdrew from last week's Connecticut Open with an Achilles injury. " ... Today was not my day; the balance was not there. I couldn't feel myself strong on the court to win this match. I was actually practicing OK yesterday and two days ago, but that's it. It's just a day, and it's a bad day for me. She deserved to win because she was playing better than me today." 
   Five other times, a woman has lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament since professionals were admitted in 1968. Also owning that dubious distinction are Martina Hingis (twice) and Steffi Graf at Wimbledon, Angelique Kerber at the French Open and Virginia Ruzici at the Australian Open. Ruzici, like Halep, is Romanian.
   Halep could have faced Williams, seeded 17th, in the fourth round and Stephens, seeded third, in the semifinals.
   Williams, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, defeated Magda Linette of Poland 6-4, 6-0 in 69 minutes in a featured night match. Stephens, a Fresno product, beat Evgeniya Rodina of Russia 6-1, 7-5. Rodina, a mother like Williams, reached the fourth round at Wimbledon as a qualifier last month.
   On Wednesday, Williams is scheduled to play No. 101 Carina Witthoeft of Germany, and Stephens is set to meet No. 134 Anhelina Kalinina, a qualifier from Ukraine. Kalinina won the 2015 Sacramento Challenger at age 18.
   Meanwhile, all three men with NorCal connections who played today lost.
   Andreas Seppi, a 34-year-old Italian, topped 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Sam Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2, 2-1, retired on a hot, humid day. David Ferrer of Spain and qualifiers Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada and Kathinka Von Deichmann of Liechtenstein also quit in their matches.
   No. 11 seed John Isner, 6-foot-10 (2.08 meters), pounded 20 aces in a 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-4 victory over fellow American Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate. Isner, 33, is having the best year of his career, winning his first Masters 1000 title in Miami and reaching his first major semifinal at Wimbledon.
   Red-hot Ugo Humbert of France outclassed fellow qualifier Collin Altamirano, 22, of Sacramento 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Humbert, 20, has reached the final of his last three tournaments, all hardcourt Challengers. He lost to Klahn in Gatineau, Canada, and to Canadian Peter Polansky in Granby, Canada, but defeated Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in Segovia, Spain.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

U.S. Open TV schedule

(All times in California)
   ESPN3 and ESPN+ will provide coverage of all courts daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Live streaming is available on WatchESPN.
Monday
   First round, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., ESPN.
   First round, 3-4 p.m., ESPN2.
   First round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Tuesday
   First round, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN.
   First round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN.
Wednesday
   Second round, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN.
   Second round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN.
Thursday
   Second round, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., ESPN.
   Second round, 3-4 p.m., ESPN2.
   Second round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Friday
   Third round, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., ESPN2.
   Third round, 3-4 p.m., ESPN2.
   Third round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Saturday
   Third round, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN2.
   Third round, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Sunday
   Round of 16, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN.
   Round of 16, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Monday, Sept. 3
   Round of 16, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN2.
   Round of 16, 4-8 p.m., ESPN2.
Tuesday, Sept. 4
   Quarterfinals, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., ESPN.
   Quarterfinals, 4-8 p.m., ESPN.
Wednesday, Sept. 5
   Quarterfinals, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., ESPN.
   Quarterfinals, 4-8 p.m., ESPN.
Thursday, Sept. 6
   Doubles/juniors/wheelchair, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN3 & ESPN+.
   Women's singles semifinals, 4-8 p.m., ESPN.
Friday, Sept. 7
   Juniors/wheelchair, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN3 & ESPN+.
   Men's doubles final, 9-11 a.m., ESPN2.
   Men's singles semifinals, 1-8 p.m., ESPN.
Saturday, Sept. 8
   Juniors/wheelchair, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., ESPN3 & ESPN+.
   Mixed doubles final, 9-11 a.m., ESPN3.
   Women's singles final, 1-4 p.m., ESPN.
Sunday, Sept. 9
   Juniors/wheelchair, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., ESPN3 & ESPN+.
   Women's doubles final, ESPN2.
   Men's singles final, 1-4 p.m., ESPN.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Players to watch in U.S. Open

   Here are eight men and eight women to watch in the 50th U.S. Open, Monday through Sept. 9 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. (seeding in parentheses):
RAFAEL NADAL
Photo by Paul Bauman
MEN
   Rafael Nadal (1) -- Defending and three-time champion is coming off fourth Rogers Cup title in Toronto. Northern California connection: None.
   Roger Federer (2) -- Shortly after turning 37, looked his age in 6-4, 6-4 loss to Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati final last week. Hasn't won U.S. Open in 10 years after capturing title five straight times. NorCal connection: Beat Jack Sock in March exhibition before sellout crowd of 17,496 at SAP Arena in San Jose.
   Juan Martin del Potro (3) -- U.S. Open champion in 2009 has rebounded from four wrist operations to reach a career-high No. 3 in world. Has lost to Nadal in last two majors. NorCal connection: As second seed in 2009 SAP Open in San Jose, reached quarterfinals in only tournament appearance.
   Alexander Zverev (4) -- Considered future Grand Slam champion, 21-year-old German gained first major quarterfinal in French Open in June. Has not advanced past second round of U.S. Open in three appearances. Won Washington title three weeks ago but lost Cincinnati opener. NorCal connection: None.
   Kevin Anderson (5) -- South African, 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), has reached two of last four major finals, losing in straight sets to Nadal in 2017 U.S. Open and to Djokovic at Wimbledon last month. NorCal connection: Won 2006 NCAA doubles title at Stanford as Illinois junior. Following year, reached final of $15,000 Futures tournament in Sacramento suburb of Loomis, losing to since-retired Scoville Jenkins. In 2012, advanced to quarterfinals of SAP Open in only San Jose appearance and played part-time for Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis. SAP Open and Capitals folded after 2013 season.
   Novak Djokovic (6) -- Won first Grand Slam title in more than two years at Wimbledon last month and backed it up with Cincinnati crown. Can tie Pete Sampras for third place on all-time list with 14 Grand Slam singles titles. NorCal connection: None.
   Marin Cilic (7) -- U.S. Open winner in 2014 has reached two of last five major finals, losing to Federer in three sets at Wimbledon last year while hampered by foot blister and in five sets in Australian Open this year. Stunned by No. 82 Guido Pella in second round at Wimbledon last month. NorCal connection: None.
   John Isner (11) -- American, 6-foot-10 (2.08 meters), reached first major semifinal at Wimbledon at age 33, losing to Anderson 26-24 in fifth set in fourth-longest match in history (six hours, 36 minutes). Has gone 1-3 since winning fifth Atlanta title last month. NorCal connection: Won first pro title in Shingle Springs Futures in Sacramento area in 2007 and reached Chico Futures final in 2006. Ten years ago, advanced to quarterfinals of SAP Open and doubles final of $50,000 Sacramento Challenger with countryman Rajeev Ram.
SIMONA HALEP
Photo by Paul Bauman
WOMEN
   Simona Halep (1) -- Won first Grand Slam title in French Open in June after going 0-3 in major finals. In consecutive weeks this month, captured Montreal title and held championship point in Cincinnati before losing to Kiki Bertens. Lost to Maria Sharapova in first round of last year's U.S. Open after reaching 2016 quarterfinals and 2015 semifinals. NorCal connection: Lost in first round of 2011 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in only tournament appearance.
   Caroline Wozniacki (2) -- Two-time U.S. Open runner-up (2009, 2014) won first major crown in Australian Open this year. Has won one match in three tournaments since capturing Eastbourne title on grass in June. Retired from second-round match in Cincinnati with knee injury after receiving first-round bye. NorCal connection: As top seed in 2015 Bank of the West Classic, lost to Varvara Lepchenko in second round after receiving first-round bye in only tournament appearance.
   Sloane Stephens (3) -- Has reached two of last four major finals, winning U.S. Open nine months after undergoing foot surgery and losing to Halep in French Open after leading by set and early service break. NorCal connection: Fresno product lost in first round at Stanford in 2012 in only tournament appearance.
   Angelique Kerber (4) -- Has gone 1-2 since winning Wimbledon for third Grand Slam singles title. Won Australian Open and U.S. Open and advanced to Wimbledon final in 2016 before inevitable letdown last year. NorCal connection: Won Bank of the West Classic in 2015 and advanced to 2014 final.
   Garbine Muguruza (12) -- Two-time Grand Slam singles champion, 24, has never advanced past fourth round of U.S. Open. Lost Cincinnati opener in only tournament since losing to No. 47 Alison Van Uytvanck in second round at Wimbledon. NorCal connection: As top seed in inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, right-hander withdrew with right arm injury hours before Aug. 1 opener. In her only two Stanford appearances, reached singles semifinals last year and quarterfinals in 2014 and won 2014 doubles title with fellow Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.
   Kiki Bertens (13) -- Dutchwoman, 26, has gone 8-0 against top-10 players on grass and hardcourts this summer. Hardcourt final in Cincinnati was first for former clay-court specialist. NorCal connection: In only Bank of the West appearance, lost to wild card Nicole Gibbs in first round in 2013. Gibbs had just turned pro after winning her second consecutive NCAA singles title as a Stanford junior.
   Madison Keys (14) -- Succumbed to nerves in first major final, losing to Stephens 6-3, 6-0 in 61 minutes in last year's U.S. Open. Advanced to Cincinnati quarterfinals, upsetting Kerber, in only tournament since losing to qualifier Evgeniya Rodina, ranked No. 120, in third round at Wimbledon last month. NorCal connection: As second seed in Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, right-hander withdrew with right wrist injury shortly before Aug. 2 opener. Won 2017 Bank of the West Classic before tournament moved to San Jose under new sponsor.
   Serena Williams (17) -- Can tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Seeks sixth U.S. Open crown but first since 2014. NorCal connection: Lives in San Francisco with husband Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news website Reddit, and daughter Olympia, who will turn 1 on Sept. 1. Distracted by parole of sister's killer, suffered worst loss of her career -- 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes to Johanna Konta -- in first round of Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic on July 31. Won Bank of the West Classic in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Altamirano, Gibbs advance to main draw of U.S. Open

Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card
from Sacramento, beat 10th-seeded Lorenzo
Sonego today in the final round of U.S. Open
qualifying. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby won't be the only player from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento to appear in the main draw of U.S. Open men's singles next week.
   Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card, beat 10th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (3) today in the final round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Sonego, 23, also advanced as a lucky loser. He reached the second round of the Australian Open and lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year, qualifying both times.
   Brooksby, 17, received an automatic wild card into the main draw of the 50th U.S. Open after winning the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., this month. He will face 54th-ranked John Millman of Australia on Tuesday. Millman has won two Northern California Challengers (Sacramento in 2010 and Aptos in 2015) and reached the final of another (Tiburon in 2014).
   Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the USTA boys 18 nationals five years ago and lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of the U.S. Open.
   Meanwhile, 25-year-old ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs will play in the main draw of the U.S. Open for the seventh consecutive year. Gibbs, seeded 10th in qualifying, beat Olga Govortsova, a former top-35 player from Belarus, 6-4, 6-1 to advance.
   Gibbs has reached the second round of the U.S. Open main draw for the past three years and advanced to the third round in 2014. Ranked No. 115, she is scheduled to face No. 30 seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain for the first time on Tuesday. Suarez Navarro, who will turn 30 on Sept. 3, has dropped from a career-high No. 6 in February 2016 to No. 30.
   Altamirano, ranked No. 345, did not lose a set in his three qualifying matches. He toppled No. 22 seed Ivo Karlovic, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Croat and the all-time leader in aces by more than 2,000, in the second round.
   Altamirano will make his first appearance in the U.S. Open main draw since he won the USTA boys 18s title. He will meet Ugo Humbert, a 20-year-old qualifier from France ranked No. 139, on Monday. The winner will take on either eighth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria or wild card Stan Wawrinka, the 2016 U.S. Open champion who's rebounding from knee surgery.
   Altamirano turned pro in June 2017, forgoing his senior year at Virginia after helping the Cavaliers win the NCAA title in all three of his years on the team.
   This year, Altamirano has won his first two Futures singles titles ($25,000 Long Beach in January and $15,000 Singapore in May) and reached his first Challenger semifinal ($75,000 Winnetka, Ill., last month). In his last three tournaments, Altamirano has advanced to the Winnetka semis, the semifinals of the $25,000 Iowa City Futures and the quarterfinals of the $75,000 Lexington, Ky., Challenger.
   Humbert can top that. He has reached the final of his last three tournaments, all hard-court Challengers. Humbert lost to Stanford graduate Bradley Klahn in Gatineau, Canada, and to Canadian Peter Polansky in Granby, Canada, but defeated Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras in Segovia, Spain. Klahn (wild card) and Polansky (lucky loser) also will play in the U.S. Open main draw.
   First-round losers in the singles main draws in Flushing Meadows will receive $54,000. Brooksby, however, can't accept prize money unless he turns pro, which is very unlikely, instead of enrolling at Texas Christian University in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020 as planned.
   The U.S. Open men's and women's singles champions will pocket $3.8 million each.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Top three women's favorites in same half of Open draw

Serena Williams, playing at Indian Wells in March, could face Simona Halep
in the fourth round of the U.S. Open and defending champion Sloane Stephens
in the semifinals. Photo by Mal Taam
   Serena Williams has a tough draw as she tries to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
   Both of the other women's favorites in the U.S. Open, Simona Halep and Sloane Stephens, are in Williams' half of the draw.
   The women's and men's singles draw ceremony was held today in Manhattan. The tournament is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 9 in Flushing Meadows.
   Williams, a 36-year-old San Francisco resident, has won the U.S. Open six times. She missed last year's tournament while giving birth to her first child.
   The 17th-seeded Williams could face her 16th-seeded sister Venus or wild card Svetlana Kuznetsova, both former U.S. Open champions, in the third round, the top-ranked Halep in the fourth round and third seed and defending champion Sloane Stephens in the semifinals.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, could play 25th-seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia or wild card Victoria Azarenka in the third round.
   In first-round men's matchups featuring players with Northern California ties:
   --Sam Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, will meet Andreas Seppi, a 34-year-old Italian, in a clash of former top-20 players. The winner likely will play 28th-seeded Denis Shapovalov, a 19-year-old Canadian, in the second round. Fifth-seeded Kevin Anderson, last year's U.S. Open runner-up, looms in the third round.
   --Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, will play Robin Haase, 31, of the Netherlands. The survivor probably will meet 10th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) McDonald won his first Challenger title last October in Fairfield, 40 miles (64 kilometers) northeast of Piedmont, and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last month.
   --Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old wild card and Stanford graduate, will take on 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner, seeded 11th.
   Klahn, who underwent his second back operation in 2015, will appear in the main draw of the U.S. Open for the first time in four years. Isner, 33, advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon, losing to Anderson 26-24 in the fifth set in the fourth-longest match in tennis history at six hours, 36 minutes.
   --Jenson Brooksby, a 17-year-old wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, will face 54th-ranked John Millman of Australia.
   Brooksby earned his wild card by winning the USTA Boys 18 National Championships this month in Kalamazoo, Mich. Millman has won two Northern California Challengers (Sacramento in 2010 and Aptos in 2015) and reached the final of another (Tiburon in 2014).

Altamirano shocks Karlovic in U.S. Open qualifying

Sacramento's Collin Altamirano, shown in 2014, beat No. 22 seed
Ivo Karlovic, 6-foot-11 (2.11 meters), 7-5, 6-4 today to reach the
final round of U.S. Open qualifying. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Collin Altamirano recorded the biggest win, literally and figuratively, of his blossoming career today.
   The 22-year-old wild card from Sacramento knocked off 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic, seeded 22nd, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the final round of U.S. Open qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Karlovic, 39, of Croatia is ranked No. 137 after reaching a career-high No. 14 in 2008. The highest-ranked player Altamirano, who's in his first full year as a professional, had beaten was No. 160 Darian King of Barbados.
   Karlovic, the all-time leader in aces by more than 2,000, had 15 against Altamirano with four double faults. Both players won more than 80 percent of the points on their first serve, but the 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Altamirano won 65 percent of the points on his second delivery (17 of 26) to Karlovic's 42 percent (11 of 26). Altamirano converted two of six break points and saved all four against him.
   Altamirano, ranked a career-high No. 345 after beginning the year at No. 761, will face 10th-seeded Lorenzo Sonego, a 23-year-old Italian, for the first time on Friday not before 11 a.m. California time (Tennis Channel). Sonego, ranked No. 117, outlasted Guilherme Clezar of Brazil 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in two hours, 58 minutes.
   Altamirano seeks his second berth in the main draw of the U.S. Open. He won the USTA boys 18 national title in 2013 to earn a wild card into the Open and lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
   Altamirano's fellow pupil at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento, Jenson Brooksby, repeated Altamirano's USTA feat this year and drew John Millman of Australia in the first round of the U.S. Open.
   Altamirano turned pro in June 2017, forgoing his senior year at Virginia after helping the Cavaliers win the NCAA title in all three of his years on the team.
   This year, Altamirano has won his first two Futures singles titles ($25,000 Long Beach in January and $15,000 Singapore in May) and reached his first Challenger semifinal ($75,000 Winnetka, Ill., last month). In his last three tournaments, he has advanced to the quarterfinals of the $75,000 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger, the semifinals of the $25,000 Iowa City Futures and the Winnetka semis.
    Sonego reached the second round of the Australian Open and lost in the first round at Wimbledon this year, qualifying in both tournaments. Last fall, he played in five consecutive Challenger or Futures finals, winning two (one on clay and one on hard court).
   Advancing to the final round of women's qualifying today was 10th-seeded Nicole Gibbs, a 25-year-old ex-Stanford star who beat Tamara Korpatsch of Germany 6-4, 7-6 (6).
   Gibbs, ranked No. 115, will meet Belarus' Olga Govortsova, a former top-35 player rebounding from injuries, for the first time on Friday at 8 a.m. Govortsova, playing on her 30th birthday, topped 21st-seeded Fiona Ferro of France 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after eliminating 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 7-5 in the first round.
   Gibbs has reached the second round of the main draw in the U.S. Open for the past three years, and she advanced to the third round at Flushing Meadows in 2014.
   Gibbs' former Stanford teammate, Kristie Ahn, lost to ninth-seeded Ons Jabeur of Tunisia 6-1, 6-2 in 45 minutes. Ahn, who's based in Boca Raton, Fla., grew up near New York in Upper Saddle River, N.J. Jabeur won the French Open girls singles title in 2011.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Altamirano rolls, will face Karlovic in U.S. Open qualies

Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card from Sacramento, will face 6-foot-11
2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic, the all-time leader in aces, on Thursday in the second
round of U.S. Open qualifying. Photo courtesy of Steve Pratt
   The good news for Collin Altamirano is that he won his first-round match in U.S. Open qualifying in 48 minutes today.
   The bad news for the 22-year-old wild card from Sacramento is that he will face 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic, the all-time leader in aces, on Thursday.
   Tennis Channel's coverage of the second round will begin at 8 a.m. California time, and Altamirano and Karlovic will meet for the first time at about 2 p.m.
   Altamirano crushed Tomislav Brkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-2, 6-0 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. The 22nd-seeded Karlovic, from Croatia, beat Illya Marchenko, a former top-50 player from Ukraine rebounding from shoulder surgery, 6-3, 7-6 (7).
   Karlovic, 39, has blasted 12,936 aces in his career, over 2,000 more than anyone else. Roger Federer, 37, ranks second with 10,645, and 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner, 33, is third with 10,617.
   Karlovic is ranked No. 137 after reaching a career-high No. 14 in 2008. He reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open two years ago for his best result at Flushing Meadows. Karlovic has won eight career ATP titles in singles and two in doubles.
   Altamirano has soared from No. 761 at the beginning of 2018 to a career-high No. 345 in his first full year as a professional. In his last three tournaments, the former University of Virginia standout has reached the quarterfinals of the  $75,000 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger, the semifinals of the $25,000 Iowa City Futures and the semifinals of the $75,000 Winnetka (Ill.) Challenger. Earlier this year, Altamirano won his first two Futures singles titles.
   Altamirano seeks his second berth in the main draw of the U.S. Open. He won the USTA boys 18 national title in 2013 to earn a wild card into the Open and lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Stephens seeded third, Serena 17th in U.S. Open

   Defending champion Sloane Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, is seeded third in the U.S. Open behind Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.
   All three have won one Grand Slam title, with each coming in the past year. Wozniacki and Halep broke through this year in the Australian Open and French Open, respectively. Halep defeated Stephens in the final at Roland Garros.
   The U.S. Open seedings were announced today. The draw will be held Thursday, and the tournament is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 9.
   Serena Williams, a 36-year-old San Francisco resident, is seeded 17th. Williams, who missed last year's U.S. Open while having her first child, can tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
   The finalists of this month's inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, champion Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and Maria Sakkari of Greece, are seeded 21st and 32nd, respectively.
   Here are the complete women's and men's seedings:
WOMEN
1. Simona Halep, Romania
2. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
3. Sloane Stephens, United States
4. Angelique Kerber, Germany
5. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
6. Caroline Garcia, France
7. Elina Svitolina, Ukraine
8. Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic
9. Julia Goerges, Germany
10. Jelena Ostapenko, Latvia
11. Daria Kasatkina, Russia
12. Garbine Muguruza, Spain
13. Kiki Bertens, Netherlands
14. Madison Keys, United States
15. Elise Mertens, Belgium
16. Venus Williams, United States
17. Serena Williams, United States
18. Ashleigh Barty, Australia
19. Anastasija Sevastova, Latvia
20. Naomi Osaka, Japan
21. Mihaela Buzarnescu, Romania
22. Maria Sharapova, Russia
23. Barboa Strycova, Czech Republic
24. CoCo Vandeweghe, United States
25. Daria Gavrilova, Australia
26. Aryna Sabalenka, Belarus
27. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia
28. Anett Kontaveit, Estonia
29. Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia
30. Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain
31. Magdalena Rybarikova, Slovakia
32. Maria Sakkari, Greece
MEN
1. Rafael Nadal, Spain
2. Roger Federer, Switzerland
3. Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina
4. Alexander Zverev, Germany
5. Kevin Anderson, South Africa
6. Novak Djokovic, Serbia
7. Marin Cilic, Croatia
8. Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria
9. Dominic Thiem, Austria
10. David Goffin, Belgium
11. John Isner, United States
12. Pablo Carreno Busta, Spain
13. Diego Schwartzman, Argentina
14. Fabio Fognini, Italy
15. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece
16. Kyle Edmund, Great Britain
17. Lucas Pouille, France
18. Jack Sock, United States
19. Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain
20. Borna Coric, Croatia
21. Kei Nishikori, Japan
22. Marco Cecchinato, Italy
23. Hyeon Chung, South Korea
24. Damir Dzumhur, Bosnia and Herzegovina
25. Milos Raonic, Canada
26. Richard Gasquet, France
27. Karen Khachanov, Russia
28. Denis Shapovalov, Canada
29. Adrian Mannarino, France
30. Nick Kyrgios, Australia
31. Fernando Verdasco, Spain
32. Filip Krajinovic, Serbia

Gibbs romps in U.S. Open qualifying to end skid

Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, playing in last month's Berkeley
Challenger, routed Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia 6-1, 6-1 today in
the first round of U.S. Open qualifying. Photo by Paul Bauman
    All Nicole Gibbs needed was a trip back to Flushing Meadows to snap out of her funk.
    The 10th-seeded Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) routed Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia 6-1, 6-1 in 61 minutes today in the first round of U.S. Open qualifying.
   Gibbs, a 25-year-old resident of Venice in the Los Angeles area, ended a four-match losing streak that began with a 6-0, 6-4 loss to 19-year-old American Sofia Kenin in the final of last month's $60,000 Berkeley Challenger. Kenin was seeded first and Gibbs second.
   Gibbs has reached the second round of the main draw in the U.S. Open for the past three years, and she advanced to the third round at Flushing Meadows four years ago.
   The 115th-ranked Gibbs is scheduled to play No. 181 Tamara Korpatsch of Germany for the first time on Thursday. Korpatsch, 23, topped Deniz Khazaniuk of Israel 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Gibbs' former Stanford teammate, Kristie Ahn, also advanced to the second round of qualifying. Ahn, 26, defeated Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine 6-4, 6-3.
   Ahn, ranked No. 145, will face Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, seeded ninth with a world ranking of No. 114. Jabeur, the 2011 French Open girls singles champion, dismissed Katy Dunne of Great Britain 6-2, 6-1 in 49 minutes.
   Jabeur defeated Ahn 6-4, 6-4 on clay in the quarterfinals of an $80,000 tournament in Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., in April 2017 in their only previous meeting.
   Two other former Stanford players, one woman and one man, fell today. Carol Zhao, 23, lost to fellow Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, seeded 16th, 6-0, 6-1 in 54 minutes.
   Zhao, ranked No. 161, is 0-6 since reaching the second round of a $125,000 clay-court tournament in Bol, Croatia, in early June.
   Bouchard, the runner-up to Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon four years ago, has plummeted from a career-high No. 5 in October 2014 to No. 123. She suffered a head injury in a training room fall during the 2015 U.S. Open, sued the United States Tennis Association and reached a settlement last February.
   Tom Fawcett, 22, of Winnetka, Ill., lost to Alexey Vatutin of Russia 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
   Also in men's qualifying, 18-year-old Sebastian Korda upset 24-year-old San Jose product Dennis Novikov 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a matchup of 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) U.S. wild cards. Novikov, now based in Los Angeles, led by a set and an early service break.
   Korda won this year's Australian Open boys singles title 20 years after his father, Petr, captured the men's singles title in Melbourne.
   Novikov, ranked No. 258 after climbing to a career-high No. 119 two years ago, fell to 1-9 since April. He reached the second round of the main draw in the 2012 U.S. Open after receiving a wild card as the USTA boys 18 national champion.
   Collin Altamirano, a 22-year-old wild card from Sacramento, is scheduled to open against Tomislav Brkic, 28, of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday. Brkic is ranked No. 256, and Altamirano is at a career-high No. 345.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Six NorCal players entered in U.S. Open qualifying

   Six players with Northern California ties are set to compete in U.S. Open qualifying, which will begin on Tuesday at 8 a.m. California time (Tennis Channel).
   Four ex-Stanford stars will be in action on Tuesday. In the women's draw, No. 10 seed Nicole Gibbs (2011-13) of Venice in the Los Angeles area will face Tereza Mrdeza of Croatia. Gibbs reached the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open. Carol Zhao (2014-16) will take on No. 16 Eugenie Bouchard in an all-Canada matchup, and Kristie Ahn (2011-14) will meet Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine. On the men's side, Tom Fawcett (2015-18) of Winnetka, Ill., will play Alexey Vatutin of Russia.
   Also in the men's draw, San Jose product Dennis Novikov will face American Sebastian Korda, the 18-year-old son of former world No. 2 Petr Korda of the Czech Republic, on Tuesday, and Collin Altamirano of Sacramento will meet Tomislav Brkic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday.
   Fawcett, 22, Novikov, 24, and Altamirano, 22, are wild cards.
   The U.S. Open men's and women's draws will be held Thursday, and the tournament is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 9.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Tursunov, who reached No. 20, unofficially retires

Dmitry Tursunov, right, chats with former world No. 2 Petr Korda, the father
 of U.S. prospect Sebastian Korda, during the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last
October. It was the last tournament of Tursunov's career. The Moscow native
was based in Northern California from age 12 to 30. Photo by Paul Bauman 
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   The almost-nonstop injuries finally got to Dmitry Tursunov.
   The Moscow native, who was based in Northern California from age 12 to 30, has unofficially retired at 35.
   Fittingly, Tursunov's last match was in Northern California, and he was unable to complete it. As a qualifier in the $100,000 Stockton Challenger last October, he retired from his quarterfinal against U.S. prospect Michael Mmoh with leg problems after losing the first set 6-3.
   "It was going to take me three months to do rehab, which was going to be a little too long," Tursunov, who owns a townhouse in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom that he rents out, said this week. "There were too many uncertainties. At that stage, it wasn't worth the trouble to try to get back. It's muscular, tendon-related (in the quadriceps above both knees). I don't know the exact diagnosis."
   Then the irreverent Tursunov, who was perhaps the most colorful player in men's tennis, used one of his trademark analogies.
   "It's like a bad car alignment that starts affecting a lot of other things," he said. "Your tires wear, your springs and shocks get all weird, and your suspension goes bad. Then you say, it's time to get a new car instead of always trying to fix this one."
   Tursunov said his retirement "isn't official." But when asked if he's thinking of playing again, Tursunov replied: "Not so much really, no. A lot of people ask me that, but I think those days are over."
Dmitry Tursunov helped Russia win the Davis
Cup in 2006 and played in the 2008 and 2012
Olympics. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Tursunov spoke from Cincinnati, where he's coaching 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. She is scheduled to play top-ranked Simona Halep on Saturday in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
   "I'm enjoying helping a player," Tursunov said. "I like her; she's a nice person. She listens. She wants to get better. I feel like she has very good potential. I feel like I'm part of something a little bit bigger than trying to revive a career."
   Tursunov also coached fellow Russian Elena Vesnina, who reached career highs of No. 1 in doubles in June and No. 13 in singles in March 2017, early this year. Ironically, she has been sidelined with a knee injury since the French Open.
   Tursunov said nothing has been decided when Vesnina returns and he has no plans other than to continue coaching Sabalenka, who will crack the top 30 for the first time in Monday's updated rankings.
   The hard-hitting Tursunov, hobbled by injuries throughout his career, peaked at No. 20 in singles in 2006 and No. 36 in doubles in 2008. He won seven ATP titles in singles and seven in doubles, and collected $5.9 million in prize money.
   Tursunov helped Russia win the Davis Cup in 2006 and played in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. In the match of his life, he outlasted Andy Roddick 17-15 in the fifth set in four hours, 48 minutes on clay in Moscow to clinch Russia's victory over the United States in the 2006 Davis Cup semifinals.
   Off the court, Tursunov became the talk of the tour as the ATP's resident blogger in 2006 but gave it up because it took too much time.
   With his curly, blond hair, blue eyes and impeccable, accent-less English, Tursunov easily could be mistaken for a Southern California surfer. In fact, his countrymen called him "Surfer Dude."
  Tursunov doesn't consider his career in terms of whether he was happy with it. Characteristically, he has a more philosophical view.
   "I don't know. I don't know what to compare it to," he said. "If you compare it to someone who didn't get to 20, then I'm happy. If you compare to someone who got to No. 1, I guess I'm unhappy.
   "I look at it more as a set of experiences. Now that it's sort of, unofficially over, it's a question of, how can I use all of that knowledge and experience? I can't just frame it and post it on the wall. I found a logical use for it by trying to help somebody else correct some of the mistakes a little bit earlier and make her sailing a little bit smoother than mine was."
   Tursunov, who finished with a career record of 231-218, also was philosophical about what he'll miss most and least about playing.
   "When you have a good day at the office, it's always fun," he said. "I never really loved competing. There are some people who love competing, and I wasn't one of them. Still, when you win, everything is good. You feel like your life is good, and you get used to your results (defining you). It's a bad day if you lose and a good day if you win.
   "But there's a lot of work behind the scenes that is not fun, and I'm definitely not missing that part --  working hard and sweating and forcing yourself to do something and setting limits for yourself in order to get better."
   Unlike many players, Tursunov seems to have made a smooth transition to retirement.
   "I'm happy," he said. "My life is a little bit more relaxed. It's a different type of responsibility. I'm out of the limelight, and I'm completely fine with it. I'm happy with my secondary role, not being the priority.
   "Some people can't get over the fact that their career is over, so they search for adrenaline rushes. I'm OK. I'm not trying to do that."

Serena learned of killer's parole before San Jose loss

Serena Williams lost to Johanna Konta 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes in the first round
of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose on July 31. Photo by Mal Taam
   As expected, the parole of the man who killed Serena Williams' sister led to the most lopsided loss of Williams' career on July 31.
   Williams told Time that she learned of Robert E. Maxfield's parole about 10 minutes before her first-round match in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
   "I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Williams said.
   After losing to Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-1, 6-0 in 51 minutes, Williams told reporters: "She played better in this match than she has in about 18 months, so that's great for her. I know I can play a zillion times better, but I have so many things on my mind, I don't have time to be shocked about a loss that clearly wasn't when I was at my best. I can only try to be there and fight, which is what I was doing out there. I moved a lot better, too, so I'll take the positives where I can."
   Maxfield was convicted of fatally shooting Yetunde Price, a 31-year-old mother of three, in 2003 and paroled three years short of his full sentence earlier this year, ESPN and The Associated Press reported. Williams said she received the news of the parole while checking Instagram on her phone before the match.
   "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," Williams told Time, "and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.
   "No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior. It's unfair that she'll never have an opportunity to hug me."
   Williams added that she wants to forgive but can't yet.
   Williams lives in San Francisco with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and their daughter Olympia, who will turn 1 on Sept. 1. Reddit is a social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Brooksby wins USTA boys 18s for U.S. Open wild card

Jenson Brooksby practices at the Arden Hills Athletic and
Social Club in Sacramento in May. Photo by Paul Bauman
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   Five years ago, Collin Altamirano and Jenson Brooksby from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento won USTA Boys National titles in the 18s and 12s, respectively.
   Today, Brooksby repeated Altamirano's feat to earn a wild card into the U.S. Open main draw later this month.
   The fourth-seeded Brooksby, 17, dominated third-seeded Brandon Nakashima of San Diego 6-4, 6-3, 6-1 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Brooksby, who's headed to Texas Christian in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020, did not lose a set in the tournament.
   The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 27 to Sept. 9 in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Altamirano lost to No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of the 2013 U.S. Open. He turned pro in June 2017 after his junior year at Virginia, which won the NCAA title in all three of his years there.
   Now 22, Altamirano has soared from No. 761 at the beginning of the year to a career-high No. 347.
   WTA tour -- In a rematch of the French Open final, top-ranked Simona Halep outlasted third-seeded Sloane Stephens 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4 in 2 hours, 41 minutes to win the Rogers Cup in Montreal.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, led 4-0 in the tiebreaker and had four set points in the first set.
   Halep defeated Stephens 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 at Roland Garros for her first Grand Slam title after going 0-3 in major finals. Stephens won her only Grand Slam title in last year's U.S. Open, beating countrywoman and close friend Madison Keys.
   ITF Pro Circuit -- No. 3 seed Madison Brengle defeated unseeded fellow American Kristie Ahn 6-4, 1-0, retired in the final of the Koser Jewelers $60,000 Tennis Challenge in Landisville, Pa.
   Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, suffered a heat-related illness.
   USTA NorCal -- No. 1 seeds Karue Sell of Los Angeles and Chanel Simmonds of South Africa defeated the No. 2 seeds to win the men's and women's singles titles, respectively, in the $25,000 Heritage Bank of Commerce Open Tennis Championships at the Moraga Country Club in the San Francisco Bay Area suburb of Moraga.
   Sell, a former UCLA standout from Brazil, routed Jianhui Li of West Harrison, N.Y., 6-1, 6-1 to repeat as the champion. Simmonds beat Jacqueline Cako of Brier, Wash., 6-0, 6-4.
   The top seeds also won the titles in men's doubles (Austin Rapp and Sell), women's doubles (Cako and Simmonds) and mixed doubles (Cako and Joel Kielbowicz of Scottsdale, Ariz.).

Kokkinakis ends title drought, Harris streak

Fourth-seeded Thanasi Kokkinakis, serving in the
first round on Tuesday, beat unseeded Lloyd Harris
6-2, 6-3 today to win the $100,000 Nordic Naturals
Challenger in Aptos, Calif. Photo by Paul Bauman
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   It's only a Challenger title, but Thanasi Kokkinakis will take it.
   Kokkinakis, who was on his way to stardom three years ago before injuries derailed his career, dominated Lloyd Harris 6-2, 6-3 in 67 minutes today to win the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger at the Seascape Sports Club in Aptos, Calif.
   It was Kokkinakis' first title since he won the 85,000 euro ($96,781) Bordeaux Challenger on clay as a qualifier in May 2015. The following month, he reached a career-high No. 69 in the world at age 19.
   Later that year, the right-hander hurt his right shoulder lifting weights -- not to improve his tennis but to look better in Nike's new sleeveless shirts -- and had surgery. Because of that and numerous other injuries, he played only one match in 2016 and seven tournaments last year.
   Kokkinakis reached his first ATP final last August in Los Cabos but lost to promising American Taylor Fritz 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) in the first round there last week. That dropped Kokkinakis' ranking 104 places to No. 268. He will rise to No. 201 on Monday.
   Before losing to Kokkinakis in Saturday's semifinals, top-seeded Thomas Fabbiano of Italy predicted the 22-year-old Australian, who stunned Roger Federer in the second round at Miami in March, eventually will crack the top 10.
   Kokkinakis, seeded fourth, emphatically ended the unseeded Harris' winning streak at nine matches. Harris, who won his first Challenger title last week in a $75,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., lost no more than four games in a set during his streak.
   Kokkinakis dropped only one set during the week. He trailed eighth-seeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India by a set and an early service break before prevailing 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 on Friday night in the quarterfinals.
   Against Harris, the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Kokkinakis had 12 aces and one double fault, lost only one point on his first serve (26 of 27) and did not face a break point.
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Harris finished with six aces and six double faults, and won only 8 of 27 points on his second serve (30 percent).
   Harris, appearing tight, lost his serve in the opening game when he netted a forehand putaway and for 1-4 on a double fault. Both players held serve for 3-3 in the second set before Kokkinakis broke twice on unforced errors.
   Harris, 21, of South Africa will crack the top 150 for the first time at No. 145. He was ranked No. 221 at the beginning of July.
   Kokkinakis also won the doubles title with countryman Matt Reid. Unseeded, they nipped top-seeded Jonny O'Mara and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 6-2, 4-6 [10-8].
   Kokkinakis became the first player to sweep the Aptos singles and doubles crowns since Chris Guccione of Australia in 2009 and the fourth in the tournament's 31-year history.
   Past competitors in the Aptos Challenger, the oldest in the United States, include International Tennis Hall of Famers Patrick Rafter and Michael Chang and future Hall of Famers Andy Murray, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The Bryan twins played at Stanford in 1997 and 1998, winning the NCAA doubles title as sophomores.
   Kokkinakis collected $14,400 for the singles title and $3,100 for the doubles crown. Harris, who lost in the first round of doubles, pocketed $8,480 for reaching the singles final.
   Both Kokkinakis and Harris are scheduled to play in next week's $100,000 Vancouver Challenger. Kokkinakis drew second seed and countryman Jordan Thompson, ranked No. 100, and Harris will play a qualifier to be determined.
   Here are the complete Aptos singles and doubles draws.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Brooksby reaches USTA boys 18 final; Quan wins 12s

Jenson Brooksby practices at the Arden Hills Athletic and
Social Club in Sacramento in May. Photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 4 seed Jenson Brooksby of Carmichael in the Sacramento area crushed No. 6 Drew Baird of Holly Springs, N.C., 6-1, 6-0 in 45 minutes today in the semifinals of the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
   Brooksby, 17, has not lost a set in the tournament. He reached the 16s final two years ago.
   Brooksby, who's headed to Texas Christian in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020, will face No. 3 seed Brandon Nakashima of San Diego. The winner will earn a wild card into the U.S. Open men's main draw, and the loser will receive a berth in men's qualifying in Flushing Meadows.
   Nakashima, last year's champion in the 16s, beat No. 26 seed Stefan Dostanic of Irvine in the Los Angeles area 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
   Brooksby dominated Nakashima 6-2, 6-3 in the Easter Bowl quarterfinals and went on the win the title at Indian Wells in March.
   Meanwhile, No. 1 seed Rudy Quan from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville routed No. 5 Dylan Charlap of Palos Verdes Estates in the Los Angeles region 6-2, 6-1 to win the USTA Boys 12 National Championships in Mobile, Ala.
   Quan lost no more than five games in any of his seven matches. He also won the 12s title in the USTA National Winter Championships in Tucson, Ariz., in January, Easter Bowl and USTA Clay Court Championships in Orlando, Fla., last month.
   In the final of the USTA Girls 16 National Championships in San Diego, No. 3 seed Fiona Crawley of San Antonio defeated No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the Napa area 6-4, 6-0. Crawley will receive a wild card into the U.S. Open girls tournament next month.
   In the girls 18 doubles semifinals in San Diego, No. 1 seeds Caty McNally of Cincinnati and Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., outclassed No. 4 Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area and Natasha Subhash from the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax, Va., 6-1, 6-2.

Kokkinakis, Harris to meet for 100K Aptos title

Fourth-seeded Thanasi Kokkinakis, shown Tuesday, beat
top-seeded Thomas Fabbiano 7-5, 6-1 today in the semi-
finals in Aptos, Calif. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Thanasi Kokkinakis, who beat Roger Federer in March, and red-hot Lloyd Harris will meet for the first time Sunday in the final of the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger.
   The fourth-seeded Kokkinakis, a 22-year-old Australian, beat top-seeded Thomas Fabbiano, 29, of Italy 7-5, 6-1 today at the Seascape Sports Club.
   Harris, a 21-year-old South African, dismissed 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) Christopher Eubanks, 22, of Atlanta 6-2, 6-2 in only 46 minutes in a matchup of unseeded players.
   Harris' four matches in the tournament have averaged 55 minutes. His longest one, a 6-2, 6-2 decision over Liam Broady in the quarterfinals, lasted 64 minutes.
   Harris, who won his first Challenger title last week in a $75,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., extended his winning streak to nine matches. He has not lost more than four games in any of them.
   Kokkinakis, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters), is rebounding from multiple injuries. He had 11 aces and three double faults against the 5-foot-8 (1.73-meter) Fabbiano, ranked No. 105 after reaching a career-high No. 70 last September. Kokkinakis converted all four of his break points and saved six of seven against him.
   "He started playing really well, and I immediately felt I needed to raise my level and be a bit more switched-on," said Kokkinakis, who has plunged from a career-high No. 69 in June 2015 to No. 268. "I couldn't really sustain that at the start, but then I started to find my way into the match. I started to serve a lot better and played really well toward the end."
   Harris, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) finished with eight aces and one double fault. He won 73 percent of the points on both his first serve (22 of 30) and second delivery (11 of 15).
   "Really good performance once again," said Harris, ranked a career-high No. 161. "I felt I played tremendously well the whole match. I think I retrieved so many serves that he didn't expect. I was making him play every single point and really found my range to get the balls nice and deep and made it difficult for him to attack and play his game."
   Eubanks had no aces after hammering 10 in his 6-4, 7-6 (6) semifinal victory over former top-70 players Ernesto Escobedo. Eubanks, ranked No. 236, flexed his right wrist late in today's match.
   WTA tour -- No. 3 seed Sloane Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, beat No. 5 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-3 6-3 to reach the Rogers Cup final in Montreal.
   Stephens, now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will meet No. 1 seed Simona Halep in a rematch of the French Open final in June. Halep won that match 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 for her first Grand Slam title after going 0-3 in major finals.
   Halep advanced to the Montreal final with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over No. 15 seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia.
   Stephens won her only Grand Slam singles title in last year's U.S. Open, beating countrywoman and close friend Madison Keys.
   ITF Pro Circuit -- Unseeded Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, topped fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-7 (3), 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the semifinals of the Koser Jewelers $60,000 Tennis Challenge in Landisville, Pa.
   Ahn will play third-seeded Madison Brengle, a 28-year-old American who beat Priscilla Hon of Australia 7-5, 7-5.

Zamarripa, Quan to play for USTA National junior titles

   No. 4 seed Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the Napa area defeated No. 1 Gianna Pielet of El Paso, Texas, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Friday in the semifinals of the USTA Billie Jean King Girls 16 National Championships in San Diego.
   Zamarripa is scheduled to face No. 3 seed Fiona Crawley of San Antonio today. Crawley outplayed No. 17 Misa Malkin of Tucson, Ariz., 6-2, 6-3 after eliminating Zamarripa's twin, Maribella, 6-2, 6-2 in Thursday's quarterfinals.
   Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento area also will play for a gold ball. Quan, seeded No. 1, dominated No. 3 Alexander Razeghi of Humble, Texas, 6-3, 6-1 in the boys 12 semifinals in Mobile, Ala.
   Quan will meet No. 5 seed Dylan Charlap of Palos Verdes Estates in the Los Angeles region. Charlap beat No. 2 Andrew Salu of Sarasota, Fla., 6-4, 6-2.
   In the boys 12 doubles final, No. 2 seeds Razeghi and Cooper Woestendick of Olathe, Kan., topped No. 3 Maxwell Exsted of Savage, Minn., and Quan 6-4, 6-3.
   Herrick Thomas Legaspi of Sacramento won the boys 14 doubles crown in Mobile with Nicholas Heng of Madison, Ala. Seeded No. 8, they upended No. 1 Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and Aidan Kim of Milford, Mich., 6-2, 7-5.
   Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Jenson Brooksby from the Sacramento suburb of Carmichael defeated No. 25 Jacob Bullard of Calabasas in the Los Angeles area 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich.
   Brooksby, 17, will meet No. 6 seed Drew Baird of Holly Springs, N.C. Baird saved five match points in a 5-7, 7-6 (8), 6-2 victory over No. 9 Kevin Zhu of Houston after beating No. 16 Keenan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento region 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in Thursday's round of 16.
   In the quarterfinals of the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego, No. 2 seed Whitney Osuigwe of Bradenton, Fla., beat No. 9 Katie Volynets of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-2, 6-4. Both players are 16.
   Osuigwe in 2017 became the first American to win the French Open girls singles title in 28 years and ended the year as the top-ranked junior in the world.
   Volynets remains alive in doubles with Natasha Subhash from the Washington, D.C., suburb of Fairfax, Va. Seeded No. 4, they will take on No. 1 Caty McNally of Cincinnati and Osuigwe in the semifinals.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Harris extends win streak with another rout in Aptos

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   APTOS, Calif. -- Liam Broady accomplished an impressive feat today.
   He kept Lloyd Harris on the court for more than an hour.
   Not much more, and Broady still lost, but he has plenty of company lately.
   In a matchup of unseeded players, Harris rolled past Broady 6-2, 6-2 in 64 minutes today to reach the semifinals of the $100,000 Nordic Naturals Challenger on a gorgeous, 64-degree (17.8 Celsuis) day at the Seascape Sports Club.
   Harris, a 21-year-old South African, dispatched third-seeded Quentin Halys of France 6-4, 6-2 in 59 minutes in the first round and Joris De Loore of Belgium 6-2, 6-0 in 52 minutes in the second round.
   "I'm happy to keep the matches short and keep my body fresh for every round to come," said Harris, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) and only 176 pounds (80 kilograms).
   Harris, who won his first Challenger title last week in a $75,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., extended his winning streak to eight matches. He has not lost more than four games in a set in any of them.
   "I've really just been focused on tennis and to keep on working and improving my game," Harris explained. "Every day I've just been practicing and trying to improve, and that's been the key for me."
   Harris soared 47 places to a career-high No. 161 with the Lexington title in Monday's updated rankings. That would have given him the fourth seed in Aptos, but the singles draw was held on Saturday based on last week's rankings.
   Harris had 10 aces and no double faults against Broady, a 24-year-old left-hander who reached last year's Aptos final as a qualifier. Harris won 83 percent of the points on his first serve (29 of 35) and 60 percent on his second delivery (6 of 10), and escaped both break points against him.
   "I felt I played tremendously well today," Harris crowed. "I came out of the starting blocks very (well) again and just kept that level up throughout the match. I felt I really served well, was defending well, attacking well, coming forward well -- all around a good performance."
   Harris turned pro three years ago out of high school.
   "I was never really interested in the college route," he said.
   In contrast, Harris' 32-year-old countryman, Kevin Anderson, starred at the University of Illinois for three seasons (2005-07). The 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Anderson has reached two of the last four Grand Slam singles finals, losing to Rafael Nadal in last year's U.S. Open and to Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last month.
   "We touch base here and there and send texts back and forth," Harris said of Anderson. "When I'm in the bigger tournaments and I get to see him, we'll talk. I wouldn't say I know him very well."
   Asked whether Anderson has been a mentor to him, Harris said with a laugh: "It's hard to say. His results definitely have been a positive influence on me and the country."
   Harris will play 6-foot-7 (2.01-meter) Christopher Eubanks, who beat former top-70 player Ernesto Escobedo 6-4, 7-6 (6) in a hard-hitting battle of unseeded 22-year-old Americans.
   As he did against second-seeded Michael Mmoh in the second round, Eubanks frustrated Escobedo with his booming serve. Eubanks had 10 aces and two double faults and did not face a break point. He won 75 percent of the points on his first serve (36 of 48) and a whopping 74 percent on his second delivery (14 of 19).
   "I think I served well at critical times," said the 236th-ranked Eubanks, who turned pro last fall after his junior year at Georgia Tech in his hometown of Atlanta. "I think I did a good job of keeping my composure when I was under pressure a little bit on my service games. Anytime you play a match and don't get broken, it's usually a pretty good day. I was very pleased with how I served and how I played overall."
   Eubanks and Harris will meet for the first time in Saturday's second semifinal at about 3 p.m.
   "Eubanks has a massive game and can play anyone off the court," Harris said. "It's going to be a really tough match, but I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a great challenge for me."
   Finally.
   In the top half of the draw, Fabbiano, one of the smallest players in men's pro tennis at 5-foot-8 (1.73 meters) and 152 pounds (69 kilograms), won 6-2, 6-2 for the second consecutive match. This time, he outclassed U.S. wild card Martin Redlicki, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) left-hander, in one hour.
   "The key was the same as (Thursday against countryman Stefano Napolitano)," said Fabbiano, who's ranked No. 105 after reaching a career-high No. 70 last September. "Good return, put the ball in -- he's a good server -- then do my shots. It was not that difficult today, but I had to be focused from the first to last point."
   Redlicki, a two-time NCAA doubles champion who graduated from UCLA in June, said he was most impressed by Fabbiano's "rally ball -- his regular, normal ball has that much more bite, it's that much heavier -- his ability to open the court, and his first ball. I would hit what I felt were some pretty decent returns off his serve, and he would just be able to take it and hit a winner off the first ball, which is something I wasn't expecting off the return I was hitting. I guess that's the next level I'm working for.
   "It was a really good learning experience, a good eye-opener. Lots to build on, lots to work on, a lot to look forward to."
   Fabbiano, who stunned Stan Wawrinka to reach the third round at Wimbledon last month, will face either fourth-seeded Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia for the first time on Saturday not before 1 p.m. 
   Kokkinakis, who shocked Roger Federer in the second round in Miami in March, topped eighth-seeded Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 after trailing by an early service break in the second set. Gunneswaran, a 28-year-old left-hander, double-faulted for the only break in the third set to trail 2-4.
   The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Kokkinakis, who's rebounding from multiple injuries, has plummeted from a career-high No. 69 three years ago at age 19 to No. 268. But Fabbiano predicted Kokkinakis eventually will reach the top 10.
   "He's solid, big serve," Fabbiano said. "He's doing the right things. He's still young, so he can get his body even better than now. He will be on top in the next few years, for sure. He's a next-generation guy."
   Here are the updated Aptos singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule. Live streaming is available.
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