Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Top seed Rogers averts early upset; Bellis stays hot

   Top-seeded Shelby Rogers came within two points of losing early today to a qualifier for the second consecutive week, this time in her hometown.
   Rogers, 28, edged Kyoka Okamura, 25, of Japan 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the first round of the $100,000 LTP Tennis on clay in Charleston, S.C.
   Rogers, who fell to 17-year-old phenom Clara Tauson of Denmark in the second round of an $80,000 hardcourt tournament in Tyler, Texas, last week, served for the match against Okamura at 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set and trailed 2-5 in the tiebreaker.
   Rogers stunned Serena Williams in the quarterfinals at Lexington, Ky., in August and reached her second Grand Slam quarterfinal in September in the U.S. Open. Ranked 58th in the world and 10th in the United States, she is scheduled to meet another qualifier, Gabriela Talaba of Romania, on Thursday.
   Talaba, a 25-year-old left-hander with a one-handed backhand, won the $25,000 Redding (Calif.) Challenger last fall. 
   CiCi Bellis, a 21-year-old wild card who was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat fifth-seeded Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, a 22-year-old Spanish citizen from Moldova, for the second time in two weeks, 7-6 (0), 6-0. 
   Bellis has won nine of her last 10 matches, including the title on hardcourts in Macon, Ga., two weeks ago. She withdrew from the Tyler semifinals after playing six sets the previous day in the rain-delayed tournament.
   Bellis is set to play Katarzyna Kawa, a 27-year-old Pole, for the first time. Kawa reached the Tyler quarterfinals and teamed with compatriot Magdalena Frech to win the Macon doubles title and oust top-seeded Coco Gauff and Caty McNally of the United States 7-5 3-6 [10-3] in the first round in Charleston. 
   Caroline Dolehide, a 22-year-old native of Hinsdale, Ill., overwhelmed sixth-seeded Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 6-1, 6-0 in 47 minutes.
   Ahn, who advanced to the round of 16 in last year's U.S. Open, has won only five games in her last two matches.
   Dolehide, who won a $60,000 clay-court tournament in Charleston last October, will meet qualifier Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz of Egypt. Abdelaziz, a 24-year-old former Fresno State All-American who transferred to Pepperdine, routed Kristina Kucova, 30, of Slovakia 6-2, 6-1. Kucova, 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters), won a $125,000 clay-court tournament in Prague in early September.
   In the first round of Charleston doubles, wild cards Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena in the Napa Valley, dispatched Naomi Broady, a 6-foot-2 (1.89-meter) Briton, and New Zealand's Erin Routliffe, a former two-time NCAA doubles champion from the University of Alabama, 6-4, 6-3.
   The Zamarripas won the Tyler crown as alternates, saving two championship points. They are scheduled to meet third-seeded Dolehide and Rogers at about 11 a.m. PST in the Charleston quarterfinals. Live streaming will be available.

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