Thursday, May 23, 2019

NorCal players fall in NCAAs; Serena-Osaka rematch?

   Florida's Sam Riffice, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, and Texas Tech's Felicity Maltby, from Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost three-set matches today in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championships in Orlando, Fla.
   Seventh-seeded Alexsandar Kovacevic of Illinois defeated the unseeded Riffice, the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year who now lives in Orlando, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-3.
   Kovacevic, a junior from New York, was much fresher than Riffice in the third set. Kovacevic received a walkover in the round of 16, whereas Riffice toppled second-seeded JJ Wolf of Ohio State 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   North Carolina's Cameron Morra, a freshman from Rockville, Md., beat Maltby, a senior, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in a clash of unseeded players. Three of Morra's four matches in the tournament have gone to three sets.
   French Open draws -- No. 10 seed Serena Williams, a part-time Silicon Valley resident, is scheduled to play Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia in the first round of the French Open and could face top-ranked Naomi Osaka in a quarterfinal rematch of their turbulent U.S. Open final last September.
   The draw for Roland Garros, Sunday through June 9, was held today in Paris.
   Williams, a three-time French Open champion (2002, 2013 and 2015), has played only one match since March because of a knee injury.
   Seventh-seeded Sloane Stephens, a Fresno product and last year's runner-up to Simona Halep at Roland Garros, will play Misaki Doi of Japan in the first round and could meet fourth-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
   On the men's side, San Francisco native Sam Querrey will play a qualifier to be determined. The winner will take on either top-seeded Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, or Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. Querrey shocked Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon in 2016 in their last meeting.
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 24-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, will make his French Open main-draw debut against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan in a matchup of diminutive players. The winner likely will meet eighth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, a two-time French Open semifinalist.
   Bradley Klahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, will face 21st-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia.

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