Monday, December 31, 2018

Stephens cracks top 10 in year-end rankings

   Sloane Stephens cracked the top 10 in the year-end rankings for the first time in 2018.
   The 25-year-old Fresno product reached the title match in the French Open and the WTA Finals in Singapore.
   Also, Bradley Klahn (Stanford, 2010-13) returned to the top 100 in his comeback from a second back operation, and San Francisco Bay Area product Mackenzie McDonald finished in the top 100 for the first time.
   On the negative side, San Francisco native Sam Querrey plunged from No. 13 at the end of 2017 to No. 51 in the latest rankings.
   WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 500 in the world (change from end of 2017 in parentheses):
Men's singles
   No. 51 (-38) -- Sam Querrey, 31-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 76 (+138) -- Bradley Klahn, 28-year-old former NCAA singles champion from Stanford.
   No. 78 (+98) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 23-year-old product of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 257 (-26) -- Dennis Novikov, 25-year-old San Jose product.
   No. 310 (+450) -- Collin Altamirano, 23-year-old Sacramento native and resident.
   No. 442 (+463) -- Tom Fawcett, 23-year-old former Stanford All-American.
Men's doubles
   No. 1 (+10) -- Mike Bryan, 40-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 14 (-3) -- Bob Bryan, 40-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 72 (-15) -- Sam Querrey, 31-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 167 (-98) -- Scott Lipsky, 37-year-old former NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford.
   No. 212 (+10) -- Bradley Klahn, 28-year-old former NCAA singles champion from Stanford.
   No. 230 (+32) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 23-year-old product of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 325 (-113) -- Dennis Novikov, 25-year-old San Jose product.
   No. 369 (+470) -- John Paul Fruttero, 37-year-old former Cal All-American.
Women's singles
   No. 6 (+7) -- Sloane Stephens, 25-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 16 (+6) -- Serena Williams, 37-year-old part-time Silicon Valley resident.
   No. 123 (-15) -- Nicole Gibbs, 25-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 130 (-83) -- CiCi Bellis, 19-year-old San Francisco native and former Atherton resident.
   No. 200 (-94) -- Kristie Ahn, 26-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 299 (-78) -- Carol Zhao, 23-year-old former NCAA singles runner-up from Stanford.
   No. 343 (-58) -- Maria Sanchez, 29-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 391 (no ranking) -- Maegan Manasse, 23-year-old former NCAA doubles runner-up from Cal.
   No. 473 (no ranking) -- Katie Volynets, 17-year-old resident of Walnut Creek in San Francisco Bay Area.
Women's doubles
   No. 27 (+7) -- Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 36-year-old San Jose resident and former NCAA doubles champion from Cal.
   No. 83 (+84) -- Maria Sanchez, 29-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 166 (+72) -- Nicole Gibbs, 25-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 208 (-42) -- Sloane Stephens, 25-year-old Fresno product.
   No. 265 (+357) -- Maegan Manasse, 23-year-old former NCAA doubles runner-up from Cal.
   No. 284 (no ranking) -- Serena Williams, 37-year-old part-time Silicon Valley resident.
   No. 341 (-96) -- Carol Zhao, 23-year-old former NCAA singles runner-up from Stanford.
   No. 345 (-65) -- Kristie Ahn, 26-year-old former Stanford All-American.

Serena column tops 10 most memorable articles in 2018

   Here are the 10 most memorable articles in Northern California tennis in 2018 and 10 honorable mentions:
Top 10
   1. Opinion: Serena, crowd embarrassed themselves, USA
   2. Good as Gould: Stanford legend set to retire at 80
   3. Mmoh, 20, wins 2nd straight Challenger, cracks top 100
   4. Buzarnescu blitzes Sakkari for San Jose title
   5. Hoop dreams gone, Eubanks ousts No. 2 seed in Aptos
   6. Top seed Brengle plays through pain amid lawsuit
   7. After five operations, Aussie survives Tiburon thriller
   8. After mulling retirement, Fratangelo fabulous in Fairfield
   9. With switch, Brooksby continues on Altamirano's path
   10. Tursunov, who reached No. 20, unofficially retires
Honorable mention
   After three surgeries, Bellis eyes return at Indian Wells
   Gibbs doing 'awesome' in battle vs. depression
   Mmoh tops Paul in dramatic clash of U.S. prospects
   NorCal's Altamirano wins by 'learning how to lose'
   Kokkinakis continues comeback after beating Federer
   Harris thrives, Brengle survives in windy Stockton finals
   Aussie Bolt edges NorCal's Altamirano in thriller
   Stockton finals to feature childhood friends, little Lao
   Kenin, 19, conquers Gibbs for $60K Berkeley title
   Chaudhary channels Nadal for Sectional boys 18 title

Serena -- who else? -- dominates top stories of 2018

Serena Williams, playing in San Jose near one of her homes, lost to Naomi Osaka
in a controversial U.S. Open final. Williams also reached the Wimbledon final after
giving birth and suffering life-threatening complications to earn the AP Female Ath-
lete of the Year award for the fifth time. Photo by Mal Taam 
   Serena Williams, a part-time Silicon Valley resident, took the No. 1 and 2 spots in the top 10 stories of the year in Northern California tennis.
   And don't be surprised if Williams tops the 2019 list. She needs one more Grand Slam singles title to tie Margaret Court's record of 24.
   When Williams isn't traveling, she spends most of her time at the South Florida residence that she shares with her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and their 1-year-old daughter, Olympia. 
   The family also has residences in Silicon Valley and Southern California. Williams grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. Unlike California, Florida has no state income tax.
   Williams was the world's highest-paid female athlete in 2018, according to Forbes magazine, with earnings of $18.1 million from June 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018. Her endorsement income of $18 million was almost double that of any other female athlete. She received only $62,000 in prize money during that time because of maternity leave.
   Here are what I consider the top 10 stories of 2018 with 10 honorable mentions:
   1. Serena loses controversial final — Williams accused chair umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism after being docked a game for her third code violation during her 6-2, 6-4 loss to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka of Japan in the U.S. Open final.
   Williams was warned for receiving coaching, assessed a point penalty for smashing her racket and handicapped a game for telling Ramos, "You stole a point from me. You're a thief, too."
   2. Serena voted AP Female Athlete of Year — Despite not winning a major title, Williams received the honor for the fifth time. She reached the Wimbledon and U.S. Open finals after giving birth on Sept. 1, 2007, developing life-threatening blood clots and undergoing five operations.
   Williams also was named the WTA Comeback Player of the Year.
   3. Mike Bryan breaks records — The former Stanford star won the U.S. Open with Jack Sock for his 18th Grand Slam men's doubles title, breaking John Newcombe's record.
   Bryan, 40, also teamed with Sock to win Wimbledon and become the oldest champion in ATP Finals history. Bryan's twin and regular partner, Bob Bryan, underwent hip surgery on Aug. 2.
Roger Federer makes his Northern California debut in a
San Jose exhibition in March. Photo by Mal Taam
   4. Federer makes NorCal debut — Roger Federer defeated Sock 7-6 (9), 6-4 in a lighthearted exhibition before a sellout crowd of 17,496 at SAP Arena in San Jose.
   The Match for Africa 5 raised $2.5 million for Federer's foundation, which provides access to education for children in southern African countries. Federer's mother, Lynette, is South African.
   5. Quan has phenomenal year — Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento area won the boys 12 title in the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla., to cap one of the greatest years in junior tennis history.
   Quan lost only once in 2018, sweeping the 12s in the USTA Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay courts and Hard Courts.
   6. Stephens reaches French Open final — No. 10 seed Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno and still has relatives there, lost to top-ranked Simona Halep 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 at Roland Garros.
   Stephens, seeking her second Grand Slam singles title, led by a service break in the second set. She won the 2017 U.S. Open in only her fifth tournament after having foot surgery.
   7. Stephens plays for title in WTA Finals — Stephens, seeded fifth, fell to Ukraine's Elina Svitolina, seeded sixth, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in Singapore.
   Stephens, 25, played in the tournament, featuring the top eight singles players of 2018, for the first time this year.
   8. Surgeries derail Bellis' career — CiCi Bellis, the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017 after attaining a career-high ranking of No. 35, had two operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow.
   Bellis, a 19-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, hopes to return to action next March in Indian Wells after a one-year absence. 
Jenson Brooksby, practicing in Sacramento, won the
USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo,
Mich., to earn a wild card in the U.S. Open. Brooksby
will play for renowned coach Brian Boland at Baylor.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   9. Brooksby follows Altamirano's path — Like fellow Sacramento native Collin Altamirano five years ago, Jenson Brooksby won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., to earn a wild card in the U.S. Open and signed to play in college for Brian Boland.
   Both Altamirano and Brooksby grew up playing at Sacramento's JMG Tennis Academy and still train there. Altamirano helped Virginia win the NCAA team title in all three of his years there, and Brooksby will enroll at Baylor, which hired Boland in May after his one-year stint with the USTA.
   10. Stanford women win NCAA title — Melissa Lord, a junior All-American from Bloomfield, Conn., lifted the 15th-seeded Cardinal to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Vanderbilt in the final of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Stanford won its second NCAA title in three years and record 19th overall. Florida ranks second with seven.
   The Cardinal was ranked 46th, its lowest position ever, at 4-3 without the injured Lord in early March but finished the season with 20 straight victories and matched its 2016 record as the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA championship.
   Honorable mention — The $25,000 Ascension Project Women's Open in Redding was canceled because of the Carr Fire, which killed eight people and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.
   It was the second consecutive year that a wildfire affected a Northern California professional tournament. During the $100,000 NorthBay Healthcare Men's Pro Championship in Fairfield, two players were evacuated from their hosts' homes, and Wednesday afternoon matches were canceled because of smoke.
   --Still robust at 80, Stanford legend Dick Gould retired after 57 years as a student, the men's coach and the director of tennis at the famed university.
   --Mackenzie McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon.
   --Unseeded Ben McLachlan, a former Cal All-American, and Jan-Lennard Struff advanced to the Australian Open doubles semifinals, ousting top-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo.
Dick Gould retired after 57 years as a student, the men's coach
and the director of tennis at Stanford. Photo courtesy of Stanford
Sports Information
   --Modesto product Maria Sanchez won her second doubles title on the WTA tour (the major leagues of women's tennis), teaming with Asia Muhammad in Quebec City. Sanchez has since turned 29.
   --Katie Volynets, an amateur from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area who turned 17 today, stunned reigning NCAA singles champion Arianne Hartono in the final round of qualifying en route to the semifinals of the $25,000 McLeod for Health Florence (S.C.) Open on hardcourts.
   --Connie Ma, a tiny 15-year-old amateur from the Bay Area suburb of Dublin, helped the United States win the Junior Davis Cup in Budapest, Hungary. Ma, only 5-foot-3 (1.60 meters) and 95 pounds (43.1 kilograms), also advanced to the singles final and won the doubles title in a $15,000 tournament in Evansville, Ind.
   --Unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the Bay Area reached the girls 16 singles final in the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   --Brooksby and Volynets win three-setters to give Northern California a sweep of the Easter Bowl 18 singles titles in Indian Wells.
   --Allura Zamarripa of Saint Helena in the Napa region won the girls 16 singles title in the USTA National Clay Court Championships in Memphis, Tenn., and teamed with her twin sister, Maribella, to sweep the 16s doubles crowns in the Easter Bowl and USTA International Spring Championships in Carson in consecutive weeks. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

After three surgeries, Bellis eyes return at Indian Wells

CiCi Bellis is shown during her 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 loss to No. 24 seed and defending
champion Elena Vesnina in the second round at Indian Wells in March. Bellis
played only one more match this year. Photo by Mal Taam
   This year can't end soon enough for CiCi Bellis.
   Three operations, two on her right wrist and one on her right elbow, in 2018 have derailed the 19-year-old phenom's career.
   Bellis, a San Francisco native, turned down a scholarship offer at Stanford, which borders her childhood home of Atherton, and launched her professional career in 2016. She reached a career-high No. 35 in August 2017 and was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year.
   But the petite 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) right-hander's wrist already had begun bothering her in April 2017, she said last week on Tennis Channel.
   Facing -- and often beating -- bigger, stronger players took a massive toll on Bellis. She has been sidelined since losing 6-3, 6-0 to 6-foot (1.83-meter) Victoria Azarenka, formerly ranked No. 1, in the first round at Miami in March.
   "I think my body just wasn't ready for it," Bellis -- wearing a cast, colored red to celebrate the holidays, on her right forearm -- admitted in the interview at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla. "I had things that needed to be addressed that had been hurting me for a while.
   "It's definitely good that I got it under my belt this year and I'm still able to have a protected ranking and hopefully be at the level I was and even better when I come back next year."
   Bellis underwent her first operation, on her wrist, on June 27 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She said she hopes to return to competition in the BNP Paribas Open, March 4-17 in Indian Wells.
   Bellis has plunged to No. 130, but WTA rules will allow her to use her ranking of No. 44 when she last played to enter eight tournaments within one year of her return.
   Bellis said she avoided watching tennis for the first month or two of her layoff, during which she has gone hiking with her family and spent time with friends.
   "I've just been having kind of a normal life," Bellis said. "It's been nice to see that side of it, but I'm definitely ready to come back and play as soon as I can."
   Bellis can look to Juan Martin del Potro as a source of inspiration. A 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) right-hander with a two-handed backhand, the 30-year-old Argentine has rebounded from four wrist operations (three left and one right, all at the Mayo Clinic) to climb to No. 5, two notches below his career high. However, del Potro broke his right kneecap while falling during a match in Shanghai in October.
   Bellis hired Dieter Kindlmann, formerly with Madison Keys and Elise Mertens, as her coach, WTA Insider reported Wednesday. Bellis has been working with Anibal Aranda of the USTA.
   Bellis moved to Orlando, Fla., two years ago to train at the new USTA National Campus in the area. The move from California also allows her to avoid paying state income tax.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Serena voted AP Female Athlete of Year for fifth time

Serena Williams, who has a residence in Silicon Valley, reached the singles final
 at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after giving birth to her first child on Sept. 1,
2017, and undergoing life-threatening complications. Photo by Mal Taam
   She didn't win a tournament in 2018.
   Serena Williams was voted The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fifth time anyway, it was announced today.
   Only Babe Didrikson Zaharias has won the award more often. She was honored six times, one for track and field (1932) and five for golf (1945-47, 1950, 1954).
   Williams, a 37-year-old part-time resident of Silicon Valley, received 93 votes in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors. Gymnast Simone Biles was second with 68.
   Rounding out the top five were Notre Dame basketball player Arike Ogunbowale, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and former Stanford swimmer Katie Ledecky.
   Biles and Ledecky won the award in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
   Williams reached the singles final at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after giving birth to her first child on Sept. 1, 2017, subsequently developing blood clots and undergoing four operations.
   Williams can tie Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles by winning next month's Australian Open for the eighth time.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Coming soon: Top 10 stories of 2018

   Based on highly scientific research consisting of whatever pops into my head, I will post the top 10 stories of the year in Northern California tennis and 10 honorable mentions by -- just to pick a random date -- Dec. 31.
   Happy holidays, and thank you for reading NorCal Tennis Czar.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

With switch, Brooksby continues on Altamirano's path

Jenson Brooksby, a Sacramento-area resident who's rated as the
nation's top recruit, displays his letter of intent to attend Baylor.
Photo courtesy of Baylor
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Both were born in this state capital and train here under the same coach at the same club.
   They won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships five years apart to earn a wild card into the men's draw in the U.S. Open.
   And now Jenson Brooksby will play for the same college coach as Collin Altamirano, although not at the same school.
   Brooksby – the nation's top recruit, according to TennisRecruiting.net – last week signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Baylor in Waco, Texas, after verbally committing to Texas Christian in Fort Worth in April.
   Brooksby, an 18-year-old resident of Carmichael in the Sacramento area, changed his mind after Brian Boland was named Baylor's coach in May.
   "I talked to the coaching staff at Baylor and really liked their goal of where they can get me, like playing pro in the future," Brooksby reasoned. "I also got along with the team really well."
  The home-schooled Brooksby said he will enroll at Baylor either next fall or in January 2020, depending on how he fares in pro tournaments next year, and will stay anywhere from one to four seasons on full scholarship.
   "Words cannot describe what it means to have Jenson Brooksby joining the Baylor Bears next season," Boland, who guided Virginia to four NCAA team titles in five years (2013-17) before becoming the head of men's tennis for USTA Player Development in May 2017, said in a statement. "Signing the No. 1 recruit in the country is a reflection of where this program is headed, and I couldn't be happier to be part of this athletic department and university."
   Brooksby, 6-foot-2, lost to Australian veteran John Millman 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in oppressive heat and humidity in the first round of this year's U.S. Open. Millman went on to stun Roger Federer in the round of 16 before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Brooksby, meanwhile, reached the U.S. Open boys singles semifinals.
   Brooksby has played in five professional tournaments since then, advancing to the quarters and semis in last month's $25,000 Columbus (Ohio) and Waco Futures to attain a world ranking of No. 979.
   "Jenson is one of the strongest competitors I have seen and has a love for the game that is second to none," Boland said. "His innate skill set and incredible work ethic have helped him separate himself from his competition at every age group. He has even had great success on the professional tour over the past two years. He is poised to come in and make an immediate impact on Baylor tennis both on and off the court, and we cannot wait to have him at Baylor University."
   Brooksby said he received substantial scholarship offers from every top tennis school in the country, including Stanford, Cal, USC and UCLA in his home state.
   "I'm not as big on location as most of the other people," Brooksby explained. "Close to home is obviously nice, but (the decision) was just based on the coaching staff and the offer you get." 
   Brooksby and Altamirano, both of whom train under Joseph Gilbert at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa in Sacramento, said they did not talk to each other about Boland.
Collin Altamirano, who trains at the same club as Jenson
Brooksby, helped Virginia win the NCAA team title in all
three of his years in Charlottesville. Altamirano played for
Brian Boland, who was named Baylor's head coach in May
after one year with the USTA. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Brooksby admitted that he and Altamirano, a 23-year-old pro, are "not very close, but we still talk often since we see each other a lot and go on a few road trips together. It's good to know that Collin was taught by Brian as well. It helped me a little bit."
   Altamirano helped Virginia win the NCAA team title in all three of his seasons in Charlottesville (2015-17). He bypassed his senior year to follow Boland, who's 574-90 (.864) in 21 years as a head coach, into the pro ranks.
   "I think the world of Brian," declared Altamirano, who has soared from No. 761 in the world at the beginning of the year to No. 285. "He always does what's best for the individual – not necessarily on the court, either. He wants the best for the individual in life, and he'll always make that the first priority.
   "I have all the respect in the world for Brian, and he'll do great things at Baylor. It'll be fun to watch that happen."
   Boland replaced Matt Knoll, who resigned with a 510-150 (.773) record in 22 seasons as Baylor's head coach. Knoll led the Bears to the 2004 NCAA team title and four additional NCAA semifinal appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2005.
   After reaching the NCAA round of 16 for 14 consecutive seasons, Baylor has lost in the second round in the past two seasons.
   "(Boland) has a great setup at Baylor," Altamirano asserted. "I loved Virginia. I think that school's incredible, but it's not as big of a sports school as Baylor. Brian is now at a place where he gets more respect in the tennis department than maybe Virginia gives. He might have the ability to do a little bit more with the tennis program. Give that guy an inch, and he's going to make a mile out of it."

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Quan ends phenomenal year with Jr. Orange Bowl title

   Capping an incredible year, top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento area beat Santiago Muhala of Katy, Texas, 6-1, 6-4 today to win the boys 12 title in the Junior Orange Bowl.
   The four games were the most Quan lost in a set in his seven matches in the clay-court, singles-only tournament in Coral Gables, Fla. He surrendered an average of 1.3 games per set, recording double bagels in the third round and quarterfinals.
   Quan came into the Junior Orange Bowl after suffering his only loss of the year, to eventual champion Maximus Dussault of Leesburg, Va., in the Eddie Herr semifinals on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla. It was Quan's first international competition.
   "I guess that was just a good learning experience for Orange Bowl, because I hadn't lost in a while," Quan, who won the 12s division in this year's USTA Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts, told Colette Lewis of ZooTennis.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Quan cruises into boys 12 final in Junior Orange Bowl

   Top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento area dominated third-seeded Antonio Voljavec of Croatia 6-3, 6-1 today in the boys 12 semifinals at the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Quan has not dropped more than three games in a set in any of his six matches in the clay-court, singles-only tournament. He has won gold balls this year in the Winter Nationals, Easter Bowl, Clay Courts and Hard Courts.
   Quan is scheduled to play ninth-seeded Santiago Muhala of Katy, Texas, on Tuesday. Muhala dismissed seventh-seeded Kaylan Bigun of Phoenix 6-2, 6-2.
   Muhala has lost one set in the tournament. He edged unseeded Benjamin Kreynes of Wesley Chapel, Fla., 6-1, 2-6, 7-6 (0) in the round of 16.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Aussie scores emotional win; Quan gains junior semis

James Duckworth winds up on a forehand during
his 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (6) victory over fellow Aus-
tralian Alexei Popyrin, 19, in the second round of
the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in Sep-
tember. Duckworth escaped six match points.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   After shaking hands with the chair umpire, James Duckworth sat down, put his head in his hands for an extended period and rubbed his eyes.
   Duckworth, 26, had just defeated fellow Aussie Luke Saville 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) today in Melbourne to earn a wild card in next month's Australian Open.
   Duckworth, a semifinalist in the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger last September, underwent five operations from February 2017 to February this year. The 6-foot (1.83-meter) right-hander had three surgeries on his right foot, one on his right shoulder and one on his right elbow.
   Duckworth, ranked No. 243 after attaining a career-high No. 82 in 2015, earned his seventh main-draw berth in the Australian Open. He reached the second round in Melbourne in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
   Saville won the junior singles title at Wimbledon in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2012, and won this year's Tiburon doubles crown with Hans Hach Verdugo of Mexico. Saville and Hach Verdugo were qualifiers playing in their first tournament together.
   Kimberly Birrell capped her own injury comeback with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over fellow Aussie Astra Sharma to earn her second Grand Slam appearance.
   Birrell, 20, had elbow surgery two years ago and tumbled out of the world's top 1,000. She lost to Modesto product Maria Sanchez in the first round of the inaugural $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger in July.
   Sharma played No. 1 singles on the Vanderbilt team that lost to Stanford in the NCAA final in May.
   Whitney Osuigwe, a 16-year-old American who reached the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger in October, received a reciprocal wild card in the Australian Open.
   Osuigwe (pronounced Oh-SIG-way), who last year became the first American to win the French Open girls singles title since Jennifer Capriati in 1989, will make her second appearance in the women's main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.
   Osuigwe earned a wild card in this year's U.S. Open by winning the national girls 18 title and lost to Italy's Camila Giorgi, ranked 40th at the time and 26th now, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
   The Australian Open is scheduled for Jan. 13-27.
   Junior Orange Bowl -- Top-seeded Rudy Quan of Roseville in the Sacramento region blitzed ninth-seeded Thanaphat Boosarawongse of Thailand 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals in the Miami suburb of Coral Gables, Fla.
   Quan has not lost more than three games in a set in his five matches in the clay-court tournament. He also blanked Matthew Yang of Canada in the third round.
   Quan is scheduled to play Croatia's Antonio Voljavec, the third seed who dismissed fifth-seeded Quang Dong of the United States 6-3, 6-3.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Quan reaches boys 12 quarters in Junior Orange Bowl

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

Quan coasts, but four others fall in Junior Orange Bowl

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

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NorCal seeds advance in Junior Orange Bowl

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Bay Area's Bhakta upsets seed in Junior Orange Bowl

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

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Houghton falls short in Orange Bowl girls 16 final

   Fourth-seeded Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn., outlasted unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the San Francisco Bay Area 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 today in the Orange Bowl girls 16 final in Plantation, Fla.
   Sieg, the runner-up in last week's Eddie Herr International Championship on hard courts in Bradenton, Fla., broke serve in the final game of the final in the prestigious clay court tournament. Houghton survived two championship points in the game.
   Houghton had not dropped more than four games in a set in five matches before the final. Sieg had lost only one, having beaten unseeded Elise Wagle of Niskayuna, N.Y., by the bizarre score of 0-6, 6-0, 6-0 in the third round.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hard courts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Winners of the tournament on hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).

Friday, December 7, 2018

Houghton rolls into Orange Bowl girls 16 final

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Houghton reaches girls 16 semis in Orange Bowl

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

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Houghton, Mayo advance to Orange Bowl quarters

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Mayo, Houghton reach third round in Orange Bowl

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

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mayo, Fardanesh win openers in Orange Bowl 16s

   No. 12 seed Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, and unseeded Max Fardanesh of Albany in the San Francisco Bay Area won their first-round matches in the boys 16s today at the Orange Bowl in Plantation, Fla.
   The 15-year-old Mayo, who trains at the USTA Player Development Center in Carson, defeated qualifier Samuel Paquette of Canada 6-4, 6-4 in the clay-court tournament.
   Fardanesh, a doubles finalist in last week's Eddie Herr International Championship in Bradenton, Fla., beat Diego Navarro of Mexico 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. Fardanesh is scheduled to face No. 3 seed Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain on Tuesday.
   Luke Casper of Santa Cruz lost to wild card Mark Lajal of Estonia 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Sunday. Casper also fell in the first round of doubles with Esteban Penagos of Colombia.
   In the second round of doubles, No. 4 seeds Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., and Mayo will meet Fardanesh and Evan Wen of Morristown, N.J.
   In girls 16 singles, unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon in the Bay Area defeated qualifier Kristen Borland of Canada 6-3, 6-4. Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area surprised No. 16 seed Gabriella Broadfoot, a 14-year-old South African, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 on Sunday.
   No. 7 doubles seeds Leena Bennetto of Canada and Houghton advanced in straight sets, as did unseeded Main and Jordyn McBride of Valencia in the Los Angeles area. Main and McBride will take on No. 1 seeds Elaine Chervinsky of Boca Raton, Fla., and Madison Sieg of Greenwich, Conn.
   No Northern Californians are entered in boys or girls 18 singles or doubles.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It has played on clay until 1998, then on hard courts until 2011. It was been contested on clay again since then.
   Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Winners of the tournament on hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000 and 2001), Marcos Baghdatis (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Greenwald's streak in National 40 Hard Courts ends

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

Saturday, December 1, 2018

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

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