Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Hewitt headed to Hall with Original 9, Van der Meer

Defending champion Lleyton Hewitt returns serve in the 2013 SAP Open
 in San Jose, Calif. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, who won two Grand Slam titles in singles and one in doubles, heads the Class of 2020 in the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
   The Australian, who turned 40 today, was elected by media, historians and Hall of Famers. Hewitt, the trailblazing Original 9 of women's professional tennis and tennis teacher Dennis Van der Meer are scheduled to be inducted in the Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I., on July 17. The 2020 ceremony was canceled because of COVID-19, so 2020 inductees Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez also will be honored.
   Hewitt compensated for his small size (5-foot-10 or 1.78 meters) with bulldog tenacity. He won singles titles in the 2001 U.S. Open and at Wimbledon in 2002 and the doubles crown in the 2000 U.S. Open with 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Max Mirnyi of Belarus.
   Hewitt reached two other Grand Slam singles finals, losing to Roger Federer in the 2004 U.S. Open and to Marat Safin in the 2005 Australian Open.
   In November 2001, Hewitt became the youngest man to ascend to No. 1 at 20 years, 8 months old. He collected 30 singles titles during his 18-year career and played on two Davis Cup championship teams.
   Hewitt won the Siebel Open in San Jose, Calif., in 2002, edging Andre Agassi 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4), and  reached the final of the 2006 SAP Open in San Jose, falling to Andy Murray.
   The Original 9 signed $1 contracts in 1970 to compete in a new tournament for women. The event's success led to the creation of the Virginia Slims circuit and today's WTA Tour. 
   The Original 9 are the first group to be inducted in the Hall of Fame. The members are Americans Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals (a San Francisco native), Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey and Valerie Ziegenfuss and Australians Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.
   Van der Meer, a U.S. citizen orginally from Namibia, tutored top players and developed a standardized teaching method. He died in 2019.
   ATP Tour — Jonathan Erlich, 43, of Israel and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus topped Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Sweden and David Pel of the Netherlands 6-4, 4-6 [10-7] in a battle of unseeded teams in the quarterfinals of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
   Goransson, 26, was playing in only his ninth ATP tournament. He earned the title in Pune, India, early last year with Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia, beating Erlich and Vasilevski.
   Erlich won the Australian Open in 2008 with countryman Andy Ram and the Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2013 with Ram and 2017 with Neal Skupski of Great Britain.
   ATP Challenger TourMackenzie McDonald, a product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, dismissed Denis Istomin, a 34-year-old Russia native who plays for Uzbekistan, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $104,160 Forte 100 Challenger in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.
   Istomin advanced to the final of the 2012 SAP Open, falling to Milos Raonic, climbed to a career-high No. 33 later that year and stunned Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2017 Australian Open.
   McDonald, who advanced to the fourth-round in the recent Australian Open and upset of top-seeded Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round in Nur-Sultan, is scheduled to play Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal for the first time on Friday. Ferreira Silva outlasted Russian qualifier Pavel Kotov 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
   Both McDonald and Ferreira Silva are 25 years old and 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters). Ferreira Silva, however, is left-handed. 
   ITF Women's TourKatie Volynets, a 19-year-old qualifier from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, beat U.S. wild card Elizabeth Mandlik, the daughter of Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova, 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of a $25,000 hardcourt tournament in Boca Raton, Fla. Both players are 19.
   Volynets, ranked No. 323, will try to reach the quarterfinals as a qualifier for the second consecutive week. She is set to face third-seeded Usue (pronounced OO-sway) Maitane Arconada, 22, of the United States for the first time on Thursday. Arconada, ranked No. 156, dominated Mariam Bolkvadze of Georgia 6-1, 6-3. 
   Jovana Jovic (formerly Jaksic), a 27-year-old Serb based in Sacramento, Calif., lost to Robin Montgomery, a 16-year-old left-hander from Washington, D.C., 6-1, 6-1 in 61 minutes.
   Jovic and American Sachia Vickery lost in straight sets in the first round of doubles on Tuesday, as did Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena in the Napa Valley.
   ITF Men's Tour — Cristian Rodriguez, 30, of Colombia routed Dennis Novikov, a 27-year-old qualifier from San Jose, 6-1, 6-2 in the opening round of a $25,000 clay-court tournament in Naples, Fla. Novikov has plunged from a career-high No. 119 in 2016 to No. 770.
   Cal women — The Bears (6-1), who beat then-No. 3 UCLA on Sunday in Berkeley, rose five spots to No. 12 in today's Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The Bruins (5-2) fell to No. 6.

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