Thursday, November 19, 2020

Cal coach Ram advances to doubles semis in ATP Finals

   Second-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain edged third-seeded Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies of Germany 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4) [10-4] today to reach Saturday's semifinals in the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Ram, nicknamed "Rampras" because his serve is similar to Pete Sampras', and Salisbury, playing in his hometown, saved two set points to break for 5-5 in the first set of the indoor hardcourt tournament. On the second set point, Krawietz and Mies failed to put away several overheads.
   Ram and Salisbury won their first Grand Slam men's doubles title, together or separately, in the Australian Open early this year. Krawietz and Mies earned their second consecutive French Open crown last month.
   In a late singles match, second-seeded Rafael Nadal beat sixth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas, the defending champion, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 for a semifinal berth. Nadal, 34, has never won the ATP Finals.
   Nadal, 34, and Roger Federer, 39, each have won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Tsitsipas, 22, has yet to reach a major final.
   The ATP Finals, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, consists of the top eight singles players and eight best doubles teams of the year.
   ATP Challenger Tour — Eighth-seeded Mackenzie McDonald, a 25-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, dismissed Elias Ymer of Sweden 6-3, 6-3 to gain the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   McDonald is scheduled to play Brandon Nakashima, 19, of San Diego for the first time on Friday after the 7 a.m. PST match between second-seeded Denis Kudla, who won the title in Cary, N.C., last week, and unseeded Christopher Eubanks. The hardcourt tournament is being streamed live.
   Nakashima ousted top-seeded Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-4, 6-3.
   McDonald won the first of his two Challenger singles titles in Fairfield, Calif., 38 miles (61.2 kilometers) northeast of Piedmont, in 2017. Nakashima reached his first Challenger semifinal last fall in Fairfield.
   ITF Women's Circuit — Second-seeded Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt beat Marta Custic, an 18-year-old wild card from Spain, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Open Gran Canaria on clay in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, off the coast of northwestern Africa.
   Sherif, who won a $100,000 clay-court tournament in Charleston, S.C., as a qualifier two weeks ago, extended her winning streak to nine matches. She is set to play Lara Salden, a 21-year-old qualifier from Belgium, on Friday.

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