Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Gibbs advances in Australian Open qualifying

No. 15 seed Nicole Gibbs, who starred at Stanford, beat
Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 in the first round of
Australian Open qualifying. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 15 seed Nicole Gibbs (Stanford, 2011-13) defeated Cristina Bucsa of Spain 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 early today in the first round of Australian Open qualifying in Melbourne.
   The 26-year-old Gibbs, ranked No. 123, had 19 winners and 26 unforced errors to 28 and 55, respectively, for the 22-year-old Bucsa, ranked No. 167.
   Heavy smoke from Australia's massive wildfires blanketed Melbourne. One player, Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia, retired after dropping to her knees and suffering a coughing fit while leading Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland 6-4, 5-6. Eugenie Bouchard of Canada also had breathing problems but won.
   Gibbs, who won three NCAA titles at Stanford (two in singles and one in doubles), is playing in her second Grand Slam tournament since undergoing surgery for a rare cancer in the roof of her mouth last May 17. As a qualifier, she lost to fourth-seeded Simona Halep 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round of the U.S. Open.
   Gibbs reached the third round of the 2017 Australian Open, equaling her best Grand Slam result. She lost to second seed and eventual champion Serena Williams 6-1, 6-3. It's Williams' last major title.
   Gibbs is scheduled to face Harriet Dart, 23, of Great Britain for the first time on Wednesday (California time). Dart, ranked No. 169, eliminated Elitsa Kostova of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-1.
   Dart played in the main draw of three Grand Slam tournaments last year, advancing to the third round at Wimbledon before losing to top-ranked Ashleigh Barty of Australia 6-1, 6-1.

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