Sunday, May 26, 2019

Kerber, Venus fall in French; NCAA champs crowned

Angelique Kerber, playing at Stanford in 2015, lost in the first round
of the French Open for the third time in four years. Photo by Mal Taam
   Angelique Kerber and Venus Williams, who combined for three titles and seven runner-up finishes in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, lost on the first day of the French Open.
   Kerber, seeded fifth, fell to 18-year-old Russian Anastasia Potapova, the 2016 Wimbledon girls singles champion making her French Open women's debut, 6-4, 6-2 today in the first match of the tournament on Court Philippe Chatrier.
   "My phone is exploding now," Potapova, ranked 81st, told reporters. "I really appreciate it. It's nice to hear congratulations from great people.
   "I was trying to keep some focus on me, on how I'm playing, how I'm running. I wasn't trying to think a lot about the court, about the first round, about Kerber, because of course she's a great player. But, you know, I'm here to play my best. That's what I did.
   "I was really looking forward for this match because I like Kerber's game a lot. She's actually one of my idols, and when I was young looked at her game and how she was playing. When you step on the court and play your idol, you're just got to show your best."
   Kerber, the Bank of the West champion in 2015 and runner-up in 2014, lost in the first round of the French Open for the third time in four years. The 31-year-old left-hander has won each of the other Grand Slam tournaments once each but never advanced past the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
   Williams, the 2002 French Open runner-up who will turn 39 on June 17, exited in the first round at Roland Garros for the second consecutive year. This time, Williams fell to ninth-seeded Elina Svitolina, a two-time French Open quarterfinalist from Ukraine, 6-3, 6-3.
   Williams won the Bank of the West Classic in 2000 and 2002 and reached the final in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2016. The tournament was replaced by the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose beginning last year.
   Seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens, last year's French Open runner-up to Simona Halep, beat Misaki Doi of Japan 6-3, 7-6 (4). Stephens, a 26-year-old Fresno product and the 2017 U.S. Open champion, will play 75th-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain.
   Sorribes Tormo, 22, defeated Alison Van Uytvanck, a French Open quarterfinalist in 2015 who won the $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger in 2016, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.
   Third-seeded Roger Federer, the 2009 French Open champion, dismissed Lorenzo Sonego, a 24-year-old Italian, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4. It was Federer's first match at Roland Garros since 2015 and Sonego's main-draw debut there.
   Federer made his Northern California debut in March 2018 in San Jose.
   NCAA Championships -- Saturday's men's and women's singles finals in the NCAA Championships in Orlando, Fla., featured international players.
   Fourth-seeded Paul Jubb, a South Carolina junior from England, beat top-seeded Nuno Borges, a Mississippi State senior from Portugal, 6-3, 7-6 (2). Also, top-seeded Estela Perez-Somarriba, a junior from Spain, outplayed second-seeded Katarina Jokic, a Georgia sophomore from Bosnia, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-3.
   UCLA swept the men's and women's doubles titles. Second-seeded Maxime Cressy and Keegan Smith beat unseeded Patrick Kaukovalta and Mazen Osama of Alabama 6-3, 6-4 for the men's crown. Third-seeded Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield edged unseeded Kate Fahey and Brienne Minor of Michigan 5-7, 7-6 (6) [11-9]. Minor won the NCAA singles title in 2017.

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