Saturday, November 7, 2020

Ex-Fresno State star reaches first $100K final

   Qualifier Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz, a former Fresno State All-American, reached her first final in a $100,000 tournament today when fourth-seeded Misaki Doi retired in the third set in Charleston, S.C.
   Abdelaziz, a 24-year-old Egyptian, had just broken serve on three consecutive unforced errors by Doi to lead 3-6, 6-3, 4-3 in the clay-court LTP Tennis when the 29-year-old Japanese left-hander quit with a left-calf injury suffered in the quarterfinals.
   Doi, only 5-foot-3 (1.59 meters), lost the last three games of the 2-hour, 30-minute battle on a windy day. 
   Abdelaziz recently became the first Egyptian woman to play in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament, qualifying for the French Open and extending second-seeded Karolina Pliskova to 6-4 in the third set in the first round.
   Abdelaziz won six ITF (minor-league) singles titles last year — four in $15,000 tournaments and two at the $25,000 level. She 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.
   Doi's best year came in 2016 as she reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, advanced to the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford and climbed to No. 30.
   Abdelaziz, who's projected to rise at least 19 places to a career-high No. 145 on Monday, is scheduled to face unseeded Katarzyna Kawa of Poland for the first time on Sunday at 9 a.m. PST. The match will be streamed live.
   Kawa, the runner-up on clay in Jurmala, Latvia, on the elite WTA Tour in July last year as a qualifier, beat 5-foot-3 (1.60-meter) Renata Zarazua, a 23-year-old Mexican, 6-4, 6-3 in a matchup of unseeded players. 
   In the French Open, Zarazua became the first Mexican woman in 20 years to win a main-draw match in a Grand Slam tournament.
   Kawa, who's projected to improve at least 18 spots to a career-high No. 112, has had an eventful tournament. She lost her first set in the tournament 0-6 to U.S. wild card Kennedy Shaffer, ranked No. 674; topped wild card CiCi Bellis, who had won nine of her last 10 matches; and dismissed second-seeded Lauren Davis, formerly ranked 26th, 6-3, 6-3 in a quarterfinal matchup of 27-year-olds.
   Abdelaziz and Kawa also faced each other in today's doubles final. Kawa and countrywoman Magdalena Frech defeated Abdelaziz and Astra Sharma of Australia 4-6, 6-4 [10-2] in a clash of unseeded teams. 
   Frech, 22, and Kawa ousted top-seeded Coco Gauff and Caty McNally in the first round and captured the doubles title in the $80,000 Mercer Tennis Classic on hardcourts in Macon, Ga., two weeks ago.
   Unseeded Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland won the French Open without losing more than four games in a set.

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