Sunday, November 11, 2018

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

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

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