Friday, November 6, 2020

Ex-Fresno St. star reaches singles semis, doubles final

   Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz, a former Fresno State star, continued to march through the singles and doubles draws today in the $100,000 LTP Tennis in Charleston, S.C.
   So did Katarzyna Kawa.
   Abdelaziz, a 24-year-old Egyptian, eliminated fellow qualifier Gabriela Talaba of Romania 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals of the clay-court tournament. Talaba, a 25-year-old left-hander with a one-handed backhand, won the $25,000 Redding (Calif.) Challenger last fall.
   Also, unseeded Abdelaziz and Astra Sharma of Australia topped wild cards Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena in the Napa Valley, 7-6 (2), 7-5 to reach Saturday's doubles final.
   The Zamarripas won the title in last week's $80,000 hardcourt tournament in Tyler, Texas, as alternates, saving two championship points. 
   Poland's Kawa, undoubtedly inspired by 19-year-old countrywoman Iga Swiatek's shocking victory in the recent French Open, ousted second-seeded Lauren Davis, a 5-foot-2 (1.57-meter) American formerly ranked 26th, 6-3, 6-3 in a matchup of 27-year-olds. 
   Kawa then paired with compatriot Magdalena Frech to beat Americans Ingrid Neel and Caitlin Whoriskey 7-6 (5), 6-2 in a clash of unseeded teams. Frech and Kawa took the crown in an $80,000 hardcourt tourney in Macon, Ga., two weeks ago.
   Saturday's singles semifinals are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. PST. The 164th-ranked Abdelaziz will face Japan's Misaki Doi, seeded fourth at No. 85, on Center Court, and the 130th-ranked Kawa will play 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) Mexican Renata Zarazua, unseeded at No. 150, on Court 9. Both are first-time meetings.
   The doubles final will follow on Center Court after suitable rest. The Center Court matches will be streamed live.
   Doi, a 5-foot-3 (1.59-meter) left-hander who climbed as high as 30th in 2016, took out eighth-seeded Ann Li, a 20-year-old American coming off the Tyler title, 6-3, 7-6 (6).
   Both Abdelaziz and Zarazua, 23, qualified for the French Open. Zarazua became the first Mexican woman in 20 years to win a main-draw match in a Grand Slam tournament, then lost to third-seeded Elina Svitolina in three sets in the second round. Abdelaziz fell in the opening round of the main draw, extending second-seeded Karolina Pliskova to 6-4 in the third set.
   Abdelaziz reached the NCAA doubles quarterfinals in 2016 as a Fresno State sophomore with her sister Rana before transferring to Pepperdine and advancing to the NCAA singles semifinals in 2018 as a senior.

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