Wednesday, October 21, 2020

After two losses to Serena, Ahn advances in Macon

Fourth-seeded Kristie Ahn will face former
world No. 5 Sara Errani. 2018 photo by
Paul Bauman
   Kristie Ahn didn't have to play Serena Williams for a change.
   After losing to the American icon in straight sets twice in a row in Grand Slam tournaments, the fourth-seeded Ahn dispatched qualifier Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France 6-3, 6-3 today in the first round of the $80,000 Mercer Tennis Classic on hardcourts in Macon, Ga.
   Joining Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., in the second round were CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old wild card who was born in San Francisco and grew up in nearby Atherton, and Katie Volynets, an 18-year-old qualifier from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Bellis, continuing her comeback from three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow, defeated Lara Arruabarrena of Spain 6-3, 7-5.
   Volynets, who turned pro in December, eliminated Caroline Dolehide 7-6 (3), 6-3 after losing to the American 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (3) in the opening round of last year's $60,000 Berkeley, Calif., Challenger.  
   Ahn is scheduled to face former world No. 5 Sara Errani, a 33-year-old Italian who dominated Katarzyna Kawa of Poland 6-3, 6-0, in a matchup of 5-foot-5 (1.64-meter) players on Thursday not before 9:30 a.m. PDT. Live streaming is available. 
   Errani, the 2012 French Open runner-up to Maria Sharapova, beat Ahn 6-4, 6-0 in the second round of the $125,000 Indian Wells (Calif.) Challenger in 2018 in their only previous meeting.
   Bellis, who climbed as high as No. 35 at age 18 in 2017, is set to play qualifier Gabriela Talaba, a 25-year-old left-hander from Romania with a one-handed backhand, for the first time at 7 a.m.
   Talaba, who won last year's $25,000 Redding, Calif., Challenger, ousted seventh-seeded Greet Minnen of Belgium 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 after winning three consecutive sets 6-0 in qualifying. 
   After the Bellis-Talaba match, Volynets will take on qualifier Varvara Lepchenko, a 34-year-old U.S. left-hander from Uzbekistan, for the first time. 
   Lepchenko, who has tumbled from a career-high No. 19 in 2012 to No. 186, edged second-seeded Nina Stojanovic of Serbia 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (6). Stojanovic, ranked No. 98, has lost in the first round of her last four tournaments, including two Grand Slams.
   Lepchenko reached two semifinals (2014 and 2015) and one quarterfinal (2013) in the now-defunct Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. 

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