Friday, October 30, 2020

Kratzer suspended; McDonald falls; Bellis wins twice

Ashley Kratzer, playing in Berkeley, Calif., in 2018, tested
positive for a growth hormone. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Ashley Kratzer, who has excelled in Northern California Challengers, was suspended for four years after failing a drug test in January, the International Tennis Federation announced Thursday.
   Kratzer, the Stockton runner-up to Sofia Kenin in 2017 and a Berkeley semifinalist in 2018, provided a urine sample on Jan. 27 during a $125,000 hardcourt tournament in her hometown of Newport Beach, Calif., and tested positive for a growth hormone.
   The 21-year-old left-hander has immense talent but is highly volatile on the court. After Nicole Gibbs beat Kratzer in the Berkeley semifinals in 2018, the former Stanford star was asked if the upstart needs to work on her attitude the most.
   "Absolutely," Gibbs asserted. "She's one of the most talented players out here. If she can pull it together a little bit more consistently mentally, I think she's going to be a really big threat on tour — top 50 for sure, if not top 20, soon."
   Kratzer began playing pro tournaments at 14, skipping the juniors and then college. She turned pro at 17 in 2016, won the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego in 2017 and reached a career-high No. 200 in the world in August 2018. 
   Kratzer, who hasn't played since losing in the first round of qualifying in Newport Beach in January, can appeal her suspension to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
   ATP Tour — Third-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France beat Mackenzie McDonald, a 25-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
   McDonald, who returned in January from hamstring surgery, is projected to rise 18 places to No. 191 on Monday. Only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters), he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018 and climbed to a career-high No. 57 in April last year. 
   In the doubles quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), a New Zealand product who plays for his mother's native Japan, and Franko Skugor of Croatia eliminated Sander Arends of the Netherlands and Artem Sitak, a Russia native who plays for New Zealand, 6-3, 7-6 (4). 
   McLachlan, 28, won the Cologne title last week with Raven Klaasen, 38, of South Africa in their first tournament together.
   USTA Pro Circuit — Unseeded CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old Bay Area product, extended her winning streak to eight matches with two victories in the rain-delayed $80,000 Bellatorum Resources Pro Classic on hardcourts in Tyler, Texas. 
   Bellis defeated qualifier Jamie Loeb of Ossining, N.Y., 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round and fourth-seeded Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov of Spain 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
   Loeb, a 25-year-old product of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York, won the 2015 NCAA singles title as a North Carolina sophomore and promptly turned pro. Bolsova Zadoinov reached the fourth round of last year's French Open as a qualifier.
   Bellis is scheduled to face eighth-seeded Marta Kostyuk, 18, of Ukraine on Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT in a rematch of last week's final in the $80,000 Mercer Tennis Classic on hardcourts in Macon, Ga. Bellis prevailed 6-4, 6-7 (4), 0-0, retired (leg cramps).
   In Saturday's second semifinal, seventh-seeded Ann Li, a 20-year-old native of King of Prussia, Pa., will play unseeded Greet Minnen of Belgium. Both semis will be streamed live.
   Clara Tauson, a 17-year-old qualifier from Denmark, ousted top-seeded Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 in 3 hours, 7 minutes in the second round. Tauson, formerly the top-ranked junior in the world, then lost to Li 6-3, 7-5.
   Tauson qualified for the recent French Open and knocked off 21st-seeded Jennifer Brady, a U.S. Open semifinalist, in the first round before losing to American Danielle Collins.
   Rogers, ranked No. 58, stunned Serena Williams in Lexington, Ky., in August and reached her second Grand Slam quarterfinal last month in the U.S. Open.
   In the Tyler doubles quarterfinals, alternates Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena, Calif., in the Napa area, stunned top-seeded Caroline Dolehide, a 22-year-old native of Hinsdale, Ill., and Caty McNally, an 18-year-old Cincinnati native, 6-4, 4-6 [10-4]. 
   Dolehide and countrywoman Vania King, a former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis, reached the doubles semifinals in last year's U.S. Open. McNally and compatriot Coco Gauff, then 15, advanced to the doubles quarterfinals in this year's Australian Open.
   Kateryna Bondarenko, a 34-year-old mother of two from Ukraine, and Olga Govortsova of Belarus routed Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Naomi Broady of Great Britain 6-1, 6-1 in 59 minutes in a clash of unseeded teams. 

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