Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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.

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