Thursday, December 31, 2020

Pandemic — what else? — heads top stories of 2020

Sofia Kenin earned her first Grand Slam crown in the
Australian Open and reached the final of the delayed
French Open. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   This was a terrible year for Northern California tennis, as with everything else. Not all the news, however, was bad.
   Here are my picks for the top 10 stories of 2020 with 10 honorable mentions:
   1. Most of season lost — The COVID-19 pandemic shut down competition at all levels in NorCal for the last 9 1/2 months of the year. No WTA tournament in San Jose. No men's or women's Challengers. No NCAA Championships. No college or junior matches after mid-March.
   2. Kenin named WTA Player of the Year — Sofia Kenin was born in Moscow and has lived in Florida since she was a young child. But she won NorCal Challenger singles titles in 2016 at 17, 2017 and 2018. 
   Kenin, who turned 22 last month, earned her first Grand Slam crown in the Australian Open and reached the final of the delayed French Open.
   3. Bryan brothers retire — Former Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan, 42, ended their careers after 22 years and a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles.
   The Bryans won six Australian Open, five U.S. Open, three Wimbledon and two French Open championships. They captured an Open Era-record 119 tour titles (including four in the ATP Finals), earned a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics and helped the United States win its last Davis Cup championship in 2007.
Bob Bryan, left, and Mike Bryan retired after 22 years
and a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles. 2016
photo by Paul Bauman
   4. Cal coach loses doubles heartbreaker in ATP Finals — Seventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin saved a match point in their 6-7 (4), 6-3 [11-9] victory over second-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley, and Joe Salisbury in the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
   Ram, 36, of Carmel, Ind., and Salisbury, a 28-year-old London native and resident, led 7-1 in the match tiebreaker before Melzer, a 39-year-old left-hander from Austria, and Roger-Vasselin, a Frenchman who was 36 at the time, reeled off seven consecutive points.
   5. Stevie Gould says coach sexually abused him — Stevie Gould of Corte Madera in the San Francisco Bay Area told The New York Times that a prominent Bay Area coach sexually abused him.
   Gould, a sophomore at the University of San Francisco, said Normandie Burgos repeatedly abused him for two years, including at hotels during tournaments in other states. Burgos is serving a 255-year prison sentence after being convicted of 60 counts of child molestation. 
   6. Brooksby turns pro after bizarre college career — Jenson Brooksby, a 20-year-old Sacramento-area resident, left Baylor University in Waco, Texas, as a redshirt freshman. He enrolled in January, never played a match for the Bears because of injuries and was on campus for only two months because of the pandemic.
Jenson Brooksby turned pro despite never having played
a match at Baylor University. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
  Brooksby won the 2018 USTA Boys 18 National Championship and reached the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open as a qualifier, stunning 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.
   7. Stanford women sign nation's top two recruits — Connie Ma and Alexandra Yepifanova — ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, by tennisrecruiting.net among high school seniors — signed letters to join the two-time defending NCAA champion Cardinal in 2021-22.
   The tiny Ma, from Dublin in the Bay Area, reached the singles final of a $15,000 tournament in Evansville, Ind., at 15 in 2018 and won the doubles title with Gianna Pielet. Yepifanova, from Lake Worth, Fla., advanced to the girls singles final in last year's U.S. Open, becoming the first qualifier to reach that stage of a junior Grand Slam.
   8. Stanford men's recruiting class ranked first in nation — Coach Paul Goldstein compiled the nation's top recruiting class for 2020, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
   Joining Stanford in the fall were Great Britain's Arthur Fery, the 12th-ranked junior in the world; blue chippers Alex Lee of Oak Brook, Ill., and Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara in the Bay Area; and Tristan Boyer of Altadena, Calif., in the Los Angeles region. Boyer was the runner-up to Brooksby in the 2018 Easter Bowl at Indian Wells, Calif.
Connie Ma, the nation's top recruit, signed a letter of intent to stay
in the San Francisco Bay Area and join two-time defending cham-
pion Stanford in 2021-22. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   9. Stanford women's conference win streak ends at 38 — The No. 9 Cardinal suffered its first loss in a Pacific-12 Conference match in almost exactly four years, falling to No. 3 UCLA 4-1 at Taube Family Tennis Stadium. 
   Stanford hadn't lost to a Pac-12 opponent in the regular season since a 4-3 decision at Arizona State on March 5, 2016.
   10. NorCal's Quinn claims Orange Bowl 16s doubles title — Fourth-seeded Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., and Nicholas Godsick of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, beat third-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and John Kim of Sunnyvale in the Bay Area 7-6 (0), 6-4 on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Quinn won the 16s singles title in the USTA Winter Nationals on clay in Orlando, Fla., at the beginnning of the year.
   Honorable mention — CiCi Bellis, who sat out for 19 months in 2018-19 while undergoing four operations, won the $80,000 Mercer Tennis Classic in Macon, Ga., for her first title in four years.
   — Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14), who was born and raised in New Zealand, won his second consecutive Auckland doubles title, this time with Luke Bambridge of Great Britain.
   — Andre Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) of Sweden won his maiden ATP doubles title in Pune, India, with Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia to crack the top 100 for the first time.
   — Giuliana Olmos, who grew up in the Bay Area suburb of Fremont, won her second career WTA doubles title, teaming with Desirae Krawczyk in Acapulco.
   — Katie Volynets, a resident of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area who turned 19 today, shocked 91st-ranked Monica Puig, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in women's singles, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the first round of qualifying for the Western & Southern Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., for her first victory over a top-100 player.
   — In her first match since 2012, International Tennis Hall of Famer Kim Clijsters, who won four singles titles in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford (2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006), lost to Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 7-6 (6) in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
   — Dennis Ralston, an International Tennis Hall of Famer, died of cancer at 78 less than 15 months after speaking at the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club's 100th-anniversary gala in Sacramento.
   — Ashley Kratzer, the runner-up to Kenin in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger and a semifinalist in the 2018 Berkeley Challenger, was suspended for four years after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.
   — The ATP issued Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, a suspended fine of $20,000 for violating the COVID-19 protocol at the St. Petersburg Open by fleeing Russia after he, his wife and his 8-month-old son tested positive for the coronavirus.
   — Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena in the Napa Valley, saved two championship points to win the $80,000 Bellatorum Resources Pro Classic in Tyler, Texas, as the fifth alternates for their biggest title by far.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Querrey issued suspended fine for violating protocol

Sam Querrey fled Russia with his wife and 8-month-
old son after all three tested positive for the corona-
virus. Photo courtesy of mvtpr.com
   The ATP ruled that Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, committed a major offense by violating the COVID-19 protocol at the St. Petersburg Open in October and fined him $20,000, the men's tour announced today.
   However, the fine was suspended because of Querrey's "many years of otherwise good standing with the ATP and other mitigating factors," according to a news release.
   The fine will be lifted if Querrey commits "no further breaches of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19" for six months.
   Querrey, who fled Russia with his wife and 8-month-old son after all three tested positive for the coronavirus, has five days to appeal the decision.
   The Las Vegas resident is ranked No. 53 after reaching a career-high No. 11 in February 2018. He is 0-4 since the professional tours resumed in August after the pandemic halted play for almost five months.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells postponed

   The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., will not be held March 8-21, 2021, as scheduled because of the COVID pandemic, tournament officials announced today.
   The decision was made after thorough consultation with state and local health authorities and tournament owner Larry Ellison, according to a news release.
   Organizers plan to announce new dates in 2021 soon and provide credit and refund options for ticket holders.
   The BNP Paribas Open was the first tournament canceled last year because of the pandemic.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

NorCal's Brooksby turns pro after bizarre college career

Jenson Brooksby, who reached the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open as a qualifier,
turned pro after never playing a match for Baylor University. 2018 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby turned pro earlier this month, ending a bizarre college career in which he never played a match.
   The 20-year-old resident of Carmichael in the Sacramento, Calif., area announced on Dec. 8 that he was leaving Baylor University in Waco, Texas, as a redshirt freshman.
   "I've been putting in more fitness work and feel like my body is more ready, and I feel my game has improved in the last year," Brooksby, who reached the second round of the 2019 U.S. Open as a qualifier, said in a Cracked Racquets podcast on Dec. 11. "I just think I'm ready to go out there and compete week in and week out."
   There likely is more to it than that. Had Brooksby remained at Baylor, he could have missed a second consecutive season because of the COVID-19 pandemic while players such as American Sebastian Korda, 20, Italian Lorenzo Musetti, 18, and American Brandon Nakashima, 19, have turned pro and soared to No. 118, No. 128 and No. 166 in the world, respectively. 
   Korda, the 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) son of former world No. 2 Petr Korda, reached the fourth round of the French Open as a qualifier in October. 
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Nakashima won his first Challenger singles title in Orlando, Fla., last month in his final tournament of the year. 
   Brooksby defeated Nakashima 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Easter Bowl en route to the title in Indian Wells, Calif., and 6-4, 7-5 five months later in the quarters of the U.S. Open Junior Championships before losing to Musetti in the semifinals.
   Musetti, 18, advanced to the third round of the Italian Open as a qualifier in September, stunning three-time Grand Slam singles champion Stan Wawrinka and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori, both rebounding from surgery. 
   "I wouldn't say it had any effect on my decision to go pro," Brooksby, 6-foot-4 (1.93 meters), said of the prospects' success. However, Brooksby added, "I've seen their results, and it makes me a little motivated because I believe I can go out there and do that as well." 
   Furthermore, Brian Boland abruptly resigned in July after two years as Baylor's coach. Boland guided Virginia to four NCAA team titles in five years (2013-17). Collin Altamirano, who like Brooksby has trained at the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento since childhood, played on three of those NCAA championship teams. Altamirano and Brooksby won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2013 and 2018, respectively.
   Brooksby shocked former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych in the opening round of last year's U.S. Open before losing to Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, seeded 17th and ranked 18th, in four sets in the second round. Brooksby came within a tiebreaker of leading Basilashvili two sets to none.
   The Brooksby match turned out to be the last of Berdych's career, in which he peaked at No. 4 and amassed almost $30 million in prize money. The Czech retired at age 34 in November last year after missing most of the previous 16 months because of a back injury.
   Also in 2019, Brooksby won three $25,000 tournaments (all in the United States), including two in two weeks. Ranked a career-high No. 266 in November last year, Brooksby has slipped to No. 307. He has not played in a professional tournament or college match since reaching the third round of the Houston Challenger in November 2019.
   Brooksby verbally committed to Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, in April 2018 as the nation's top recruit but changed his mind after Boland took the Baylor job following one year as the head of men's tennis for USTA Player Development. 
   Brooksby enrolled at Baylor in January but missed all 16 of the Bears' matches because of turf toe and a related bone bruise. He was on campus for only two months before the pandemic ended the NCAA season in mid-March. 
    "Baylor means a lot to me," Brooksby said on baylorbears.com. "The facilities, the staff, the resources, and most importantly the kindness of the people of Waco (are) second to none. I will cherish these relationships for the rest of my life. You will see me proudly wearing my Baylor gear at my future tournaments around the world."

Monday, December 21, 2020

Djokovic heads ATP honor roll for 2020

 2020 ATP AWARDS
   Year-end No. 1 (singles) — Novak Djokovic
   Year-end No. 1 (doubles) — Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares
   Most Improved Player — Andrey Rublev
   Coach of the Year (voted by ATP coaches) — Fernando Vicente (Rublev's coach)
   Newcomer of the Year (voted by ATP players) — Carlos Alcaraz
   Comeback Player of the Year (voted by ATP players) — Vasek Pospisil
   Sportsmanship Award (voted by ATP players) — Rafael Nadal
   Humanitarian Award (by ATP) — Frances Tiafoe

Friday, December 18, 2020

Australian Open will be 'historic'; Stanford signs Ma

   Australian Open officials confirmed on Thursday that the tournament will be postponed three weeks until Feb. 8-21 in Melbourne.
   Tournament director Craig Tiley put a positive spin on the move, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
   "This will be a historic Australian Open on so many levels," Tiley said on ausopen.com. "For the first time in more than 100 years, the Australian Open will start in February, and we look forward to offering the players what we believe will be one of their best playing experiences in 2021."
   The tournament will feature singles, doubles and wheelchair competitions. Qualifying will be held Jan. 10-13 in Dubai (women) and Doha (men). The junior championships will be postponed until later in the year.
   Players will compete for more than $80 million in prize money, according to ausopen.com. First-round losers will take home $100,000, up 15 percent from 2020. Prize money for qualifying and the other early rounds also have been increased, with the full breakdown to be released in the coming weeks.
   Stanford women Connie Ma and Alexandra Yepifanova — ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, by tennisrecruiting.net among high school seniors — have signed National Letters of Intent to join the two-time defending champion Cardinal in 2021-22, the school announced.
   Ma, from Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, led the United States Junior Fed Cup team to two championships, going 9-0 in singles and doubles in 2019. 
   Yepifanova, from Lake Worth, Fla., advanced to the girls singles final in last year's U.S. Open. She became the first qualifier to reach that stage of a junior Grand Slam.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Australian Open postponed three weeks by pandemic

   The Australian Open in Melbourne has been postponed three weeks to Feb. 8-21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the men's tour announced today.
   Men's qualifying for the year's first Grand Slam tournament will be moved to Doha, Qatar, and played Jan. 10-13, the ATP said. That will allow time for travel and, as required by Australian public health and immigration authorities, a 14-day quarantine in Melbourne.
   Two ATP 250 tournaments are scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 6 in Melbourne, and the 12-team ATP Cup is set for Feb. 1-5 in Melbourne.
   The season will begin Jan. 5-13 with ATP tournaments in Delray Beach, Fla., and Antalya, Turkey. 
   The men's schedule for the six weeks after the Australian Open will be announced later. Subsequent tournaments are planned to take place as originally scheduled.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Unseeded Fils beats top seed for Orange boys 18 title

   Unseeded Arthur Fils of France surprised top-seeded Peter Fajta of Hungary 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 today to win the boys 18 title in the Orange Bowl on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Fajta had needed more than 2 1/2 hours to subdue another unseeded French 16-year-old, Luca Van Assche, in the semifinals, while Fils had breezed past 12th-seeded Juncheng Shang of China.
   In the girls 18 final, wild card Ashlyn Krueger of Highland Village, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area beat seventh-seeded Jana Kolodynska of Belarus 6-4, 6-4. 
   Last year, Krueger won the 16s, and Kolodynska fell to Robin Montgomery of Washington, D.C., in the 18s final.

Top seed Jacquemot falls in Orange Bowl girls 18 semis

ORANGE BOWL
In Plantation, Fla.
Girls 18-under
Singles semifinals
   Jana Kolodynska (7), Belarus, def. Elsa Jacquemot (1), France, 6-1, 1-6, 6-1.   
   Ashlyn Krueger, Highland Village, Texas, def. Laura Hietaranta, Finland, 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles final
   Reese Brantmeier, Whitewater, Wis., and Kimmi Hance, Torrance, Calif., def. Elise Wagle, Niskayuna, N.Y., and Katja Wiersholm, Kirkland, Wash., 6-1, 4-6 [10-8].
Boys 18-under
Singles semifinals
   Peter Fajta (1), Hungary, def. Lucas Van Assche, France, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.
   Arthur Fils, France, def. Juncheng Shang (12), China, 6-2, 6-0.
Doubles final
   Peter Fajta, Hungary, and Zsombor Velcz (2), Hungary, def. Juncheng Shang, China, and Adolfo Vallejo (8), Paraguay, 6-4, 6-3.

Friday, December 11, 2020

NorCal's Quinn claims Orange Bowl 16s doubles title

   Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., and Nicholas Godsick of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, won the Orange Bowl boys 16 doubles title today.
   The fourth-seeded Quinn and Godsick beat third-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and John Kim of Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area 7-6 (0), 6-4 on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Quinn won the 16s singles title in the USTA Winter Nationals on clay in Orlando, Fla., in January.
   Godsick's mother, Mary Joe Fernandez, won consecutive Orange Bowl singles titles in the 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s (1982-85). A former top-five player in singles and doubles as a professional, Fernandez now works as a tennis commentator for ESPN. Godsick's father, Tony Godsick, is Roger Federer's agent.
   In the other 16s finals:
   —Fifteenth-seeded Jonah Braswell of Sarasota, Fla., crushed fifth-seeded Ignacio Buse of Peru 6-0, 6-1.
   —Valeria Ray of Doral, Fla., downed Tatum Evans of McLean, Va., 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in a matchup of unseeded players.
   —Vivian Miller of Sullivans Island, S.C., and Maddy Zampardo of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., edged Ahmani Guichard of Seminole, Fla., and Lexington Reed of Orlando 6-4, 3-6 [10-6]. Both teams were unseeded.
   The boys and girls 18s singles semifinals and doubles finals are scheduled for Saturday.

Two NorCal boys to meet in Orange 16s doubles final

   Northern Californians John Kim and Ethan Quinn are scheduled to meet today in the Orange Bowl boys 16 doubles final.
   Third-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and Kim of Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area beat unseeded Marko Mesarovic and Connor Smillie of Austin, Texas, 7-5, 7-5 Thursday on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Brown and Kim are scheduled to meet fourth-seeded Nicholas Godsick of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and Quinn of Fresno, Calif., at 7 a.m. PST. Live scoring is available.
   Godsick — the son of former star player and current ESPN commentator Mary Joe Fernandez and Tony Godsick, Roger Federer's agent — and Quinn outplayed sixth-seeded Jonah Braswell of Sarasota, Fla., and Brayden Michna of Taylor, Texas, 6-4, 6-4.
   In boys 18 singles, top-seeded Peter Fajta of Hungary dominated 15th-seeded Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Roseville, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals.
    In today's other 16s finals:
   —Fifth-seeded Ignacio Buse of Peru will face 15th-seeded Braswell not before 11 a.m. Braswell eliminated the ninth-seeded Quinn 0-6, 6-2, 6-3.
   —Valeria Ray of Doral, Fla., will play Tatum Evans of McLean, Va., not before 11 a.m. in a matchup of unseeded players.
   —Ahmani Guichard of Seminole, Fla., and Lexington Reed of Orlando, Fla., will meet Vivian Miller of Sullivans Island, S.C., and Maddy Zampardo of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., at 7 a.m. Both teams are unseeded.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

NorCal product advances in Orange Bowl boys 18s

   No. 15 seed Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, outlasted qualifier Giulio Perego of Italy 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round of the Orange Bowl boys 18s on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Mayo is scheduled to face top-seeded Peter Fajta of Hungary on Thursday at 7 a.m. PST for a quarterfinal berth. Live scoring is available.
   In the second round of the girls 18s, seventh-seeded Jana Kolodynska of Belarus routed wild card Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, Calif., 6-1, 6-2.
   Ovrootsky, a quarterfinalist in the 16s last year, has verbally committed to the University of Texas for the fall of 2022. She will join Allura and Maribella Zamarripa on the Longhorns. The identical twins from St. Helena, Calif., in the Napa Valley signed National Letters of Intent to play at Texas as freshmen in 2021.
   In the boys 16 doubles quarterfinals, third-seeded Lucas Brown of Plano, Texas, and John Kim of Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area edged seventh-seeded Sebastian Gorzny of Fountain Valley in the Los Angeles region and Will Mayew of Cary, N.C., 1-6, 7-6 (2) [12-10].
   Brown and Kim are set to play unseeded Marko Mesarovic and Connor Smillie of Austin, Texas, on Thursday not before 11 a.m. Mesarovic and Smillie surprised second-seeded Gianluca Ballotta and Ignacio Buse of Peru 6-7 (6), 6-3 [10-4].
   The University of Texas is located in Austin.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Osaka, Kenin earn prestigious honors

2020 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SPORTSPERSONS OF THE YEAR
   Naomi Osaka, WTA
   Patrick Mahomes, NFL
   Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, NFL
   LeBron James, NBA
   Breanna Stewart, WNBA
   2020 WTA AWARDS
   Singles Player — Sofia Kenin
   Doubles Team — Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic
   Most Improved — Iga Swiatek
   Newcomer — Nadia Podoroska
   Comeback — Victoria Azarenka
   Sportsmanship — Marie Bouzkova

Monday, December 7, 2020

Miller upsets Bay Area rival in Orange Bowl 16s

   In a battle of San Francisco Bay Area players, Kurt Miller of Los Gatos eliminated 12th-seeded John Kim of Sunnyvale 7-5, 7-6 (5) today in the second round of the Orange Bowl 16s in Plantation, Fla.
   Miller is scheduled to face seventh-seeded Jackson Armistead of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Armistead defeated qualifier Quang Duong of Manhattan Beach, Calif., in the Los Angeles area 7-5, 6-0.
   Another Bay Area resident, Anushka Khune of Palo Alto, lost to 16th-seeded Salma Farhat of Bellevue, Wash., 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the girls 16s.
    In the first round of girls doubles, Khune and Jasmin Makela of Boca Raton, Fla., are set to play Kate Kim of Lake Worth, Fla., and Amber Yin of Ballwin, Mo., tonight. The winner will take on top-seeded Gabriella Broadfoot of South Africa and Eva Elbaz of France. Broadfoot and Elbaz received a first-round bye.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Hall of Famer Ralston dies of cancer at 78

   Dennis Ralston, an International Tennis Hall of Famer, died of cancer today at 78 in Austin, Texas, where he lived.
   "It's a sad day as my former coach of six years, Dennis Ralston, has passed away," Chris Evert tweeted. "A deeply religious man, a devoted family man, and a superb player and coach.... he will be missed. RIP Dennis" 
   Ralston and Hall of Famers Pam Shriver, Rosemary Casals and Charlie Pasarell spoke at the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club's 100th anniversary gala in Sacramento, Calif., in September last year. Ralston, who underwent eight operations on each knee and had his lower left leg amputated in 2010, detailed his battle with opioid addiction. 

Bay Area residents win openers in Orange Bowl 16s

   Two San Francisco Bay Area residents, one boy and one girl, won their first-round matches today in the Orange Bowl 16s on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   Kurt Miller of Los Gatos routed Humza Noor of Olathe, Kan., 6-0, 6-1, and Anushka Khune of Palo Alto topped Maddy Zampardo of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.,  6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
   On Monday, Miller is scheduled to play 12th-seeded John Kim of Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, and Khune is set to meet 16th-seeded Salma Farhat of Bellevue, Wash. Kim and Farhat received first-round byes.
   In the final round of boys 18 qualifying, top-seeded Alvaro Guillen Meza of Ecuador edged Karl Lee of Sacramento, Calif., 6-7 (5), 7-5 [11-9]. The first round of the main draw is scheduled to begin Monday.   
   Fifteenth-seeded Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, drew a first-round bye in the boys 18s. Mayo, who reached last year's doubles final, could face top-seeded Peter Fajta of Hungary in the third round.
   Wild card Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, Calif., is set to play qualifier Katja Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., in the opening round of the girls 18s on Tuesday.
   Ovrootsky reached the quarterfinals in the 16s last year. The high school junior has verbally committed to Texas for the fall of 2022.

Friday, December 4, 2020

San Jose native Dy named Fresno State women's coach

   Denise Dy was hired as the women's head coach at Fresno State, Bulldogs athletic director Terry Tumey announced Thursday.
   Dy, a 31-year-old native of San Jose, Calif., served as an assistant coach for the last two seasons at Arizona under Ryan Stotland. Before taking the Arizona job, Stotland won two Mountain West Conference championships (2014 and 2018) during his six-year tenure (2013-18) as the women's head coach at Fresno State.
   Dy previously served as an assistant coach at Washington (2016-18) and Iowa (2014-16). 
   As a player, Dy was a three-time All-American at Washington ranked as high as No. 3 nationally in singles and No. 6 in doubles. She competed professionally and on the Philippines' national team.
   Dy replaces Mariana Cobra, who resigned in June after going 7-7 in one abbreviated season at Fresno State.
   Orange Bowl — Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose received a wild card in the Orange Bowl 18s main draw, which begins Monday in Plantation, Fla. Ovrootsky reached the quarterfinals in the 16s last year. The high school junior has verbally committed to Texas for the fall of 2022.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Winter Nationals canceled; Orange Bowl to begin soon

Roger Federer won the Orange Bowl in 1998. This year's tournament is scheduled
to begin on Sunday (16s) and Monday (18s).
   The USTA has canceled the National Winter Championships, a junior tournament that had been scheduled for Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 in Arizona and Florida, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
   However, the Orange Bowl remains set for Sunday (16s) and Monday (18s) through Dec. 13 on clay in Plantation, Fla.
   The top three seeds in the Orange Bowl boys 18s are, in order, Peter Fajta of Hungary, Dali Blanch of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Lukas Neumayer of Austria.
   Also entered is Aidan Mayo, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, Calif. Mayo reached last year's boys 18 doubles final with Lorenzo Claverie of Venezuela.
   Heading the field in the girls 18s are Elsa Jacquemot of France, Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra and Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus. Jacquemot, 17, captured the French Open girls singles title in October, and Kasintseva, a 15-year-old left-hander, won this year's Australian Open girls singles crown at 14. 
   Andorra, situated between France and Spain, is 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C., with a population of about 77,000 and one indoor tennis court.
   The Orange Bowl was founded by Eddie Herr in 1947. It was played on clay until 1998, then on hardcourts until 2011. It has been contested on clay again since then.
   Past winners of the Orange Bowl 18s include International Tennis Hall of Famers Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984) and Jim Courier (1987).
   Winners of the tournament on hardcourts include Roger Federer (1998), Andy Roddick (1999) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005).
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