Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Ex-men's stars to play during San Jose women's tourney

Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick is scheduled to play in a
four-man tournament on Aug. 3 during the Mubadala Silicon
Valley Classic at San Jose State. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   The men are coming to the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
   International Tennis Hall of Famers Andy Roddick and Michael Chang and former top-10 players James Blake and Mark Philippoussis will play a one-night tournament as part of the Invesco Series on Saturday, Aug. 3, organizers announced today.
   The second annual Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic is scheduled for July 29-Aug. 4 at San Jose State.
   The men's tournament will feature three one-set matches: two semifinals and one final.
   Roddick, 36, remains the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles championship. He captured the 2003 U.S. Open and climbed to No. 1 two months later.
   Chang, 47, is still the youngest male player to win a Grand Slam singles title. He took the 1989 French Open crown at 17 years, 110 days.
   Blake, 39, reached a career-high No. 4 in 2006 and advanced to three Grand Slam singles quarterfinals (the 2005 and 2006 U.S. Open and 2008 Australian Open).
   Philippoussis, 42, peaked at No. 8 in 1999 and reached two major finals, losing to fellow Australian Patrick Rafter in the 1998 U.S. Open and to Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2003. It was the first of Federer's record eight singles titles at the All England Club.
   Roddick, Chang, Blake and Philippoussis are no strangers to the San Francisco Bay Area, having combined for eight titles in the now-defunct Bay Area stop on the ATP World Tour. Roddick won three crowns in singles, Chang and Philippoussis two each in singles and Blake one in doubles.
   Chang and Pete Sampras played an exhibition during the 2012 Bank of the West Classic, which ended a 21-year run at Stanford in 2017.
   Entered in the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic are former world No. 1s Garbine Muguruza and Victoria Azarenka and rising star Amanda Anisimova, a 17-year-old American.
   Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania crushed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 6-0 in last year's final.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Stanford women to begin NCAA title defense at home

   The third-seeded Stanford women (22-1) will open their NCAA title defense on Saturday at noon against New Mexico State (15-9) at Taube Family Tennis Stadium, the NCAA announced today.
   At the same site, Syracuse (13-12) will play Wisconsin (18-5) on Saturday at 9 a.m., and the winners will meet on Sunday at noon. The Cardinal has won 59 of its last 62 matches at home.
   The Cal women (12-8) will face Long Beach State (17-5) on Friday at 10 a.m. in Malibu, Calif. Host Pepperdine (21-3), seeded sixth, will play Fairfield (14-7) at 1 p.m.
   In the NCAA Men's Championships, 12th-seeded Stanford (17-6) will open against Fresno State (18-10) on Friday at 2 p.m. at Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Texas Tech (15-11) will play UC Santa Barbara (16-6) at 11 a.m., with the winners meeting on Saturday at 3 p.m.
   Cal (14-12) will face Drake (19-13) on Friday or Saturday in Urbana, Ill. Host Illinois (18-8), seeded 15th, will play Western Michigan (18-8).
   The men's and women's tournaments feature 64 teams. In a format change this year, second-round winners advance to the Super Regionals on May 10-11 at campus sites. The rest of each tournament is scheduled for May 17-19 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
   The USTA National Campus also will host the NCAA singles and doubles tournaments on May 20-25.
   Stephens engaged -- Sloane Stephens, a 26-year-old Fresno product, and Jozy Altidore, an American professional soccer player, announced their engagement.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Stanford women win Pac-12 title; Cal men lose in final

   The Stanford women rallied to win their fourth consecutive Pac-12 title on Saturday in Ojai, Calif., but Cal lost to USC in the men's final.
   The Cardinal women (22-1), seeded first and ranked fifth, defeated UCLA (18-7), seeded second and ranked ninth, 4-2 for their 17th straight victory.
   Stanford's Melissa Lord won in straight sets on Court 2 to tie the score 2-2. Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, made it 3-2 with a victory in straight sets on Court 1. Emily Arbuthnott beat Alaina Miller, a senior from Saratoga, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-0 on Court 4 for the clincher.
   The Cal men (14-12), seeded fourth and ranked 33rd, fell to USC (20-7), seeded second and ranked eighth, 4-0. The Bears had stunned UCLA, the top seed and defending champion, 4-1 on Friday to become the lowest-seeded team to reach the Pac-12 final since the men's team championship began in 2012. 
   The Stanford women and USC men earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, May 16-25 in Orlando, Fla. The fields will be announced on Monday at 3 p.m. (live streaming on NCAA.com). 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cal men, Stanford women reach Pac-12 finals

   The fourth-seeded Cal men made history today with their 4-1 victory over top seed and defending champion UCLA in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif.
   The Bears, who had been 0-2 against UCLA this season, became the lowest-seeded team to reach the Pac-12 final since the men's team championship began in 2012.
   Jacob Brumm, a sophomore from Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area, clinched the victory for 33rd-ranked Cal (14-11) over eighth-ranked UCLA (17-5) by defeating Ben Goldberg 6-3, 6-2 on Court 5.
   The Bears will meet second-seeded USC (19-7), which beat third-seeded Stanford (17-6) 4-2, on Saturday at 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network). The conference champion receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
   On the women's side, defending NCAA and Pac-12 champion Stanford will face UCLA in the final for the second consecutive year at noon (Pac-12 Network).
   The top-seeded Cardinal (21-1) blanked fourth-seeded USC 4-0 for its 16th consecutive victory, and the second-seeded Bruins (18-6) edged third-seeded Washington 4-3.
   UCLA senior Alaina Miller, a senior from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to Natsuho Arakawa 7-5, 6-4 on Court 4. Miller did not play doubles.
   Stanford seeks its fourth straight Pac-12 title.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Kenin, 20, clinches U.S. win in Fed Cup playoffs

Sofia Kenin, shown en route to the title in Berkeley (Calif.) last July,
earned her first Fed Cup victory today. She was a late replacement for
Madison Keys, who was upset on Saturday. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In less than one year, Sofia Kenin has gone from champion of the $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger to Fed Cup heroine.
   Kenin, a late replacement for veteran Madison Keys, defeated Timea Bacsinszky, a former top-10 player, 6-3, 7-6 (4) today to give the United States an insurmountable 3-1 lead over Switzerland on an indoor hard court in San Antonio in the Fed Cup World Group playoffs.
   "I'm speechless," the 36th-ranked Kenin, who trailed by a service break twice in the second set, said in an on-court interview. "It's my first win in Fed Cup, and I'm honestly so happy. You guys (the fans) are incredible -- I love the support. You guys really saved me, so thank you."
   Kenin, a 20-year-old Moscow native who moved to the United States as a young child, had been 0-3 in the Fed Cup, all in singles.
   Bacsinszky, 29, reached a career-high No. 9 in May 2016 but underwent surgery on her right (playing) hand in September 2017. Since dropping out of the rankings last September, she has climbed back to No. 111.
   Earlier today, Fresno product Sloane Stephens beat Victorija Golubic 6-3, 6-2 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. In the last match, Switzerland's Ylena In-Albon and Conny Perrin beat Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula 7-5, 6-2.
   Absent this weekend were top-20 singles players Serena Williams of the United States and Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. They have climbed as high as No. 1 and No. 7, respectively.
   The United States will remain in the elite World Group next year and try to win its 19th Fed Cup title. The Czech Republic ranks second with 10. Switzerland, meanwhile, will stay in World Group II.
   In a gutsy move, U.S. captain Kathy Rinaldi chose Kenin over Keys to play the critical fourth match. Kenin, who also won Northern California Challenger singles titles in 2016 and 2017, is far less experienced and accomplished than the 24-year-old Keys, who won the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford and reached the U.S. Open final in 2017 (losing to Stephens), but mentally tougher.
   Keys, ranked No. 14, lost to No. 80 Golubic 6-2, 6-3 in the opener on Saturday to fall to 4-5 in Fed Cup singles. Stephens, ranked No. 8, then evened the series with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Bacsinszky.
   Both Brady and Pegula made their Fed Cup debuts.
   Brady swept the singles and doubles titles in the $25,000 Redding (Calif.) Challenger in 2014.
   Pegula reached the singles final of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2012, losing to Modesto product Maria Sanchez, and advanced to the semifinals of the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October.
   Pegula's parents, Terrence and Kim Pegula, own the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Stephens lifts U.S. into tie; Stanford women rout Cal

   Sloane Stephens came through under pressure today in the Fed Cup World Group playoffs after a disappointing performance by Madison Keys.
   Stephens, a Fresno product ranked eighth, defeated Switzerland's Timea Bacsinszky, a former top-10 player ranked 111th, 6-4, 6-3 on an indoor hard court in San Antonio to give the United States a 1-1 tie in the best-of-five-match series.
   Bacsinszky reached a career-high No. 9 in May 2016 but underwent surgery on her right (playing) hand in September 2017. She lost the first nine matches of her comeback last year and dropped out of the rankings.
   In today's opener, the 14th-ranked Keys lost to 80th-ranked Victorija Golubic 6-2, 6-3. Keys won the last edition of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017.
   Absent this weekend are 11th-ranked Serena Williams of the United States and 20th-ranked Belinda Bencic of Switzerland. Like Bacsinszky, Bencic cracked the top 10 in 2016 and had surgery (wrist) in 2017.
   The winner of the series will compete for the Fed Cup championship in the World Group next year. The loser will drop to World Group II and be unable to play for the title.
   In Sunday's first match, Stephens is scheduled to play Golubic at noon PDT (Tennis Channel), followed by Keys against Bacsinszky and the U.S. doubles team of Sofia Kenin and Jessica Pegula versus Ylena In-Albon and Conny Perrin.
   Kenin is ranked 104th in doubles (14th in the United States), and Pegula is 151st (22nd in the U.S.). Barring a lineup change, Pegula will make her Fed Cup debut.
   Kenin, 20, won Northern California Challenger singles titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Pegula, 25, lost to Modesto product Maria Sanchez in the final of the 2012 Sacramento Challenger and reached the singles semifinals in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October.
   Pegula's parents, Terrence and Kim Pegula, own the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres.
   College women -- No. 4 Stanford, the defending NCAA champion, dominated No. 14 Cal 6-1 in the Big Slam in Berkeley for its 14th consecutive victory and 37th straight in conference regular-season matches.
   On Court 1, No. 28 Michaela Gordon, a sophomore from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat No. 44 Julia Rosenqvist 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.
   The Cardinal (19-1 overall and 10-0 in the Pac-12) will be seeded first in the Pac-12 Championships, Thursday through Saturday in Ojai, Calif. The Bears fell to 12-7 and 6-4.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Brooksby, 18, falls to No. 8 seed Polansky in thriller

   Eighth-seeded Peter Polansky of Canada edged Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (6) today to reach the quarterfinals of the Sarasota (Fla.) Open.
   Polansky, ranked No. 128, had 10 aces and no double faults in the 2-hour, 27-minute battle on Har-Tru (green clay) in 89-degree (31.7 Celsius) heat and 50 percent humidity.
   Brooksby, last year's USTA boys 18 national champion, had been 0-2 in Challenger main draws before this week. He dispatched American wild card Jared Hiltzik 6-1, 6-2 in the first round and Australian Marc Polmans, the 10th seed and runner-up in the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October, 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.
  Polansky, who won the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2013, was severely injured in a three-story fall from his hotel room in Mexico almost exactly 12 years ago.

Brooksby, 18, shocks 10th-seeded Polmans in Challenger

Jenson Brooksby, practicing in Sacramento last May, beat
Marc Polmans, the runner-up in the $100,000 Stockton
(Calif.) Challenger last October, today in the second round
of the $108,320 Sarasota (Fla.) Open. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Jenson Brooksby earned the biggest victory of his promising career on Wednesday.
   And it wasn't close.
   The 18-year-old wild card, from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, stunned 10th-seeded Marc Polmans 6-3, 6-0 on Har-Tru in the second round of the $108,320 Sarasota (Fla.) Open.
   Polmans, instantly recognizable by his legionnaire's cap, reached the final of the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October. At No. 163, the 21-year-old Australian is by far the highest-ranked player Brooksby has beaten. Brooksby routed top-seeded Dmitry Popko, then ranked No. 351, in the quarterfinals of a $25,000 tournament in Los Angeles in January for his best previous win.
   Brooksby, ranked No. 636, also surrendered only three games in his first-round victory over American Jared Hiltzik, a 24-year-old wild card and NCAA singles quarterfinalist in 2015 from the University of Illinois.
  Brooksby, who had been 0-2 in Challenger main draws before this week, is scheduled to play eighth-seeded Peter Polansky, a 30-year-old Canadian ranked No. 128, today for a quarterfinal berth.
   Polansky, who won the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2013, defeated Brooksby's comrade from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento, Collin Altamirano, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday in the second round.
   Both Brooksby (2018) and Altamirano (2013) won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., to earn an automatic wild card in the main draw of the U.S. Open.
   Brooksby lost to Australian veteran John Millman 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in oppressive humidity in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., in the opening round. Millman went on to stun Roger Federer in the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
   Brooksby plans to enroll at Baylor in Waco, Texas, in the fall or January 2020.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Anisimova, 17, tops Aussie for first WTA title

Amanda Anisimova, shown en route to the Sacramento Challenger title
in 2017, defeated Astra Sharma 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Sunday's Bogota final
on the WTA tour. Photo by Rob Vomund
   In 2017, Amanda Anisimova won her first professional singles title in the $60,000 Sacramento Challenger at 15.
   On Sunday, the 17-year-old American earned her first WTA singles crown.
   The sixth-seeded Anisimova, considered a future Grand Slam champion, beat unseeded Astra Sharma of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on clay in the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota.
   Sharma, a 23-year-old former Vanderbilt star, led by a service break at 3-2 in the second set. However, Anisimova broke right back with the help of three double faults.
   "I think this was a pretty big goal because I overcame so many challenges this week," Anisimova, who reached her first WTA singles final last year in Hiroshima (losing to Hsieh Su-wei), told wtatennis.com. "I'm really happy and proud of myself for how I got through them, and winning my first WTA title means so much."
   Four of Anisimova's five matches, including her last three, went to three sets in Bogota's altitude of 8,660 feet (2,640 meters).
   Anisimova soared 22 places to a career-high No. 54. She is the youngest player in the top 100, exactly three months younger than Iga Swiatek. The 17-year-old Pole jumped to No. 88 after losing to Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the Lugano final on Sunday.
   Sharma, who played No. 1 singles and doubles on the Vanderbilt team that lost to Stanford 4-3 in last year's NCAA final, catapulted 36 spots to No. 102 after her first WTA final.
   Sharma did win a title Sunday, though, as she and compatriot Zoe Hives teamed for their first WTA crown.
   College -- William Genesen defeated Jack Molloy 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Court 2 to give No. 12 Stanford (14-5, 3-3 Pacific-12 Conference) a 4-3 victory over No. 41 Cal (11-10, 3-3) on Saturday in Berkeley.
   The Cardinal played without its star, 13th-ranked Axel Geller, for the second consecutive match. Stanford did not disclose the reason.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Stanford grad Ahn falls to 17-year-old in Bogota

   Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, a 17-year-old wild card playing in her home country, defeated lucky loser Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 tonight in the second round of the Claro Open Colsanitas on clay in Bogota, Colombia.
   Osorio Serrano, ranked No. 438, overcame eight double faults in the 2-hour, 24-minute match played at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters).
   Ahn, ranked No. 205, saved two match points in a victory over top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, on Tuesday.

Stanford grad Ahn stuns top seed Ostapenko in Bogota

Kristie Ahn, playing in the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.)
Challenger last October, saved two match points in her
2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, scored the biggest victory of her career on Tuesday.
   The lucky loser from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., saved two match points in a 2-6 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the first round of the Claro Open Colsanitas on clay in Bogota, Colombia.
   Ahn, ranked No. 205, trailed 3-0 and 4-2 in the second set of her first WTA main-draw match of the year.
   Ostapenko finished with 26 winners to Ahn's 11 but committed 56 unforced errors and 16 double faults. Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open two days after turning 20, has tumbled from a career-high No. 5 in March last year to No. 29.
   "It was a really tense match," the 5-foot-5 (1.68-meter) Ahn told reporters after the 2-hour, 31-minute battle at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters). "Obviously, playing in altitude is really difficult for both of us, but I was just really happy to come out with the win and fight for every point."
   Ahn is scheduled to face 17-year-old wild card Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia today. Osorio Serrano defeated Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 on Monday for her first WTA main-draw in.
   "Obviously, she's an incredible competitor," Ahn said. "The Colombian girls play so well here, they know the courts better than anyone, and having the home crowd behind her ... I think it will be a fun match."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Sanchez wins WTA doubles title; Gibbs, Ma fall in finals

Modesto product Maria Sanchez, playing singles in Berkeley
last July, won the Monterrey doubles title with Asia Muhammad
on Sunday. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sanchez, a 29-year-old Modesto product, won her fourth WTA doubles title and second in a row on Sunday.
   The third-seeded team of Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Sanchez beat unseeded Australians Monique Adamczak and Jessica Moore 7-6 (2), 6-4 to win the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico. Muhammad, 28, and Sanchez did not lose a set in their four matches.
   Sanchez, who also won a $115,000 tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Fanny Stollar of Hungary last month, rose 16 places to a career-high No. 53 in doubles.
   When Sanchez was 10, she lived in Guadalajara for a year with her family.
   ITF World Tennis Tour -- Fifth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic crushed top-seeded former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs 6-0, 6-1 in the final of the $80,000 Innisbrook Open on clay in Palm Harbor, Fla. Gibbs, 26, improved 11 spots to No. 113.
   USTA International Spring Championships -- Top-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black, 18, of Boca Raton, Fla., outlasted Connie Ma, a 15-year-old wild card from Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 for the girls 18 title in Carson, Calif.