Sunday, July 12, 2020

Vegas, with NorCal stars, loses TeamTennis opener

Sam Querrey, a 32-year-old San Francisco native, lost to
18-year-old Brandon Nakashima of the Chicago Smash
5-3 in men's singles today. File photo by Paul Bauman 
   The Vegas Rollers, featuring four players with strong Northern California ties, were unable to overcome a dismal start in their World TeamTennis season opener today.
    Vegas trailed 10-4 after the first two sets, accounting for the difference in its 24-18 (1-0 extended play) loss to the expansion Chicago Smash at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. The match was televised on the CBS Sports Network while the ATP and WTA tours are shut down until next month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
   Chicago's Brandon Nakashima, 18, of San Diego upset Sam Querrey, a 32-year-old San Francisco native, 5-3 in the first set. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey, who ranks eighth in aces since ATP Match Stats began in 1991, double-faulted on break point at 3-3.
   Fresno, Calif., product Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up, then routed Monica Puig, the singles gold medalist in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, 5-1 to give Chicago a 10-4 lead. Puig, who underwent elbow surgery in December, has not played on the WTA tour since October.
   Each of the three doubles sets went to a tiebreaker, with Vegas winning two. Competing for the Rollers were former Stanford stars Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan (both 1997-98) and Kristie Ahn (2011-14). Playing for the Smash was Rajeev Ram, a 36-year-old volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley during breaks from the pro tour.
   Players and coaches replaced ballkids, and fans, wearing masks, were separated in the 2,500-seat stadium at The Greenbrier, which is hosting the entire three-week season. A chair umpire officiated, but there were no line judges.
   Vegas will play the Orlando Storm (1-0), led by two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist Tennys Sandgren, on Monday at 10 a.m. PDT on ESPN2. Orlando beat the two-time defending champion Springfield (Mo.) Lasers 21-18 (1-0 extended play) today.
   Men's singles – Brandon Nakashima (Chi) def. Sam Querrey 5-3.
   Women's singles – Sloane Stephens (Chi) def. Monica Puig 5-1.
   Mixed doubles – Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Rajeev Ram (Chi) def. Asia Muhammad and Mike Bryan 5-4 (5-3).
   Women's doubles – Kristie Ahn and Muhammad (LV) def. Eugenie Bouchard and Mattek-Sands 5-4 (5-3).
   Men's doubles – Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (LV) def. Nakashima and Ram 5-4 (5-2).
   Extended play – Nakashima and Ram (Chi) def. Bryan and Bryan 1-0.

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