Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Fed tops Serena; Bryan back; Stephens stumbles; etc.

   Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic beat Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams 4-2, 4-3 (5-3) today, lifting Switzerland to a 2-1 victory over the United States in the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.
   It was the first meeting between Federer, who has won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, and Williams, who needs one more major singles crown to tie Margaret Court's mark of 24.
   Both Williams and Federer are 37. Williams has a residence in Silicon Valley, and Federer made his Northern California debut in a San Jose exhibition last March.
   Bryan returns -- Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Milos Raonic of Canada edged top-seeded Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 40-year-old identical twins, 3-6, 6-4 (10-7) in the first round of the Brisbane International.
   Bob Bryan played for the first time since hurting his hip in the Madrid final in May. He underwent surgery on Aug. 2.
   All four players have Northern California connections.
   The Bryans led Stanford to the NCAA team title in both of their years there (1997-98).
   Lindstedt, 41, played at Fresno State before transferring to Pepperdine and reaching the 1998 NCAA doubles final, in which he and Kelly Gullett lost to the Bryans.
   Raonic, 28, never lost a set in the SAP Open in San Jose, winning the last three titles (2011-13) before the tournament ended a 125-year run in NorCal.
   Stephens ousted early -- Johanna Konta of Great Britain eliminated third-seeded Sloane Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Brisbane International. Konta won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Riffice scores big upset -- Wild card Sam Riffice, a Florida freshman from Roseville in the Sacramento area, stunned fourth-seeded Filip Peliwo of Canada 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the second round of the $50,000 Orlando (Fla.) Open. Peliwo won the 2012 Wimbledon boys singles title.
   USTA National Winter Championships -- Ria Bhakta of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area and Mason Nguyen of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento region reached the girls 14 and boys 12 singles final, respectively, in Tucson, Ariz.
   Both players are seeded ninth. Bhakta will meet fifth-seeded Kinaa Graham of Austin, Texas, and the Nguyen will play fourth-seeded Maxwell Exsted of Savage, Minn.
   Three boys and two girls from NorCal reached the 18s quarterfinals in Orlando. Advancing were ninth-seeded Zachery Lim of Fairfield, 10th-seeded Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara, unseeded Karl Lee of Sacramento, fourth-seeded Connie Ma of Dublin and unseeded India Houghton of Belvedere Tiburon.
   Moving into the boys 16 singles quarterfinals in Orlando were fifth-seeded Luke Casper of Santa Cruz and 17th-seeded John Kim of Sunnyvale.

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