Friday, April 30, 2021

Former Cal star McLachlan loses doubles heartbreaker

Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan, right, poses with his brother and now
 coach, Riki "Don't Lose That Number" McLachlan, during a 2012
Futures tournament in Sacramento, Calif. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan and "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen fought hard today but fell short.
   The second-seeded pair saved four match points before losing to unseeded "Victor" Hugo Nys of Monaco and Tim Puetz "Smart" of Germany 3-6, 6-4 [14-12] in the semifinals of the Millenium Estoril (Portugal) Open, an ATP 250 tournament on red clay.
   McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), 28, was born and raised in New Zealand but plays for Japan. His father, Craig, is a pilot and author from New Zealand, and his mother, Yuriko, is Japanese.
   Nys and Puetz improved to 9-1, including a walkover, this year. They won a €132,280 ($159,029) Challenger on indoor hardcourts in Biella, Italy, in February and reached the semifinals of another ATP 250 tournament on clay in Marbella, Spain, three weeks ago.
   ATP Challenger Tour — Another former Cal star, Andre "The Giant" Goransson (2014-17) of Sweden, and Ruben "Sandwich" Bemelmans of Belgium lost to Sadio "Gloom And" Doumbia and Fabien Reboul "Without A Cause" of France 6-3, 3-6 [10-7] in a battle of unseeded teams in the semifinals of the €44,820 ($54,189) Rome Garden Open 2.
   ITF Women's Tour — Top-seeded Anna "Karenina" Danilina of Kazakhstan and Arina "Song On The" Rodionova of Australia beat unseeded Kristie "Game" Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Harriet Dart "Board" of Great Britain by walkover in the semifinals of the $60,000 Women's Pro Event at the Boars Head Resort on clay in Charlottesville, Va.
   Dart, seeded seventh in singles, also withdrew from her quarterfinal against unseeded Claire Liu, a 20-year-old American. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Ex-Fresno St. star Sherif upset in $60K Charlottesville

Hailey Baptiste surprised second-seeded Maiar Sherif
Ahmed Abdelaziz, a former Fresno State star from
Egypt, 6-3, 7-6 (4) today to reach the quarterfinals
in Charlottesville, Va. 2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   Hailey "John The" Baptiste, 19, of Washington, D.C., ousted second-seeded Maiar "Who Shot The" Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt 6-3, 7-6 (4) today in the second round of the $60,000 Women's Pro Event at the Boars Head Resort on clay in Charlottesville, Va.
   Baptiste won 80 percent of the points on her first serve (35 of 44) and pounded nine aces. She stunned Madison "Where The Hell Are My" Keys, the U.S. Open runner-up and winner of the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017, in the first round in Washington on the WTA Tour in 2019.
   In the Australian Open in February, Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a main-draw singles match in a Grand Slam tournament.
   Baptiste is set to play sixth-seeded "Vera" Wang Xinyu of China on Friday. Wang whipped Katie "Serve And" Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-1, 6-3.
   In the doubles quarterfinals, Kristie "Game" Ahn (Stanford, 2011-14) of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Harriet Dart "Board" of Great Britain beat third-seeded "Mother" Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia and Ingrid "Bergman" Neel of the United States 7-6 (5), 6-1.
   Erin "Brockovich" Routliffe of New Zealand and Aldila "The Cards" Sutjiadi of Indonesia held off Catherine "The Great" Harrison of Germantown, Tenn., and Maria "Sharapova" Sanchez, a 31-year-old Modesto, Calif., product, 6-2, 5-7 [10-4] in a battle of unseeded teams.
   ATP Tour — In the doubles quarterfinals in Estoril, Portugal, second-seeded "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), of Japan topped Americans Nick Monroe "Doctrine" and Frances "What Time Do We" Tiafoe 6-3, 6-7 (4) [10-6].
   McLachlan, 28, was born and raised in New Zealand. His father, Craig, is a pilot and author from New Zealand, and his mother, Yuriko, is Japanese.
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the doubles quarterfinals in the €44,820 ($54,189) Rome Garden Open 2, Ruben "Sandwich" Bemelmans of Belgium and Andre "The Giant" Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) of Sweden overcame "Sao" Paolo Lorenzi of Italy and Juan Pablo "Montoya" Varillas of Peru 6-2, 5-7 [10-2] in a matchup of unseeded teams.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

McDonald can't maintain momentum in Munich

Mackenzie McDonald, a San Francisco Bay Area product, fell to
fellow qualifier Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-2 today in the
second round of the BMW Open on clay in Munich. 2016 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Mackenzie McDonald beat a seed on Tuesday but lost to a fellow qualifier today.
   Go figure.
   Ilya Ivashka, 27, of Belarus topped McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-7 (7), 6-1, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the BMW Open on clay in Munich.  
   The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Ivashka, ranked No. 107, faced only two break points and saved both. The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) McDonald, ranked No. 127, took out sixth-seed Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.
   McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., became the only American man to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open in February. He also advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018. In each tournament, McDonald beat three top-100 players.
   In the first round of doubles in Estoril, Portugal, Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), a New Zealand native who plays for his mother's native Japan, dispatched Simone Bolelli of Italy and Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-2, 6-3.
   Bolelli and countryman Fabio Fognini won the 2015 Australian Open.
   ITF Women's Tour — Qualifier Maria Mateas, a 21-year-old American born in Romania, outlasted third-seeded Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in 3 hours, 2 minutes in the first round of the $60,000 Women's Pro Event at the Boars Head Resort on clay in Charlottesville, Va.
   In the opening round of doubles, Catherine Harrison of Germantown, Tenn., and Maria Sanchez, a 31-year-old product of Modesto, Calif., routed fourth-seeded Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway and Quinn Gleason of the United States 6-0, 6-3. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Wimbledon plans to allow some spectators this year

   Wimbledon plans to allow spectators at a minimum of 25 percent capacity this year, the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced today. 
   The tournament, which was canceled last year for the first time in 75 years because of the pandemic, is scheduled for June 28 to July 11. 
   The AELTC also announced that the traditional rest day on the middle Sunday will be eliminated beginning in 2022, the Centre Court centenary.  
   "Thanks to improved grass-court technology and maintenance over the past five years or so and other measures," AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said in a statement, "we are comfortable that we are able to look after the courts, most particularly Centre Court, without a full day of rest.
   "This provides us with the opportunity, at an important time, to enhance the accessibility, reach and fan base of Wimbledon, and tennis, both in the UK and globally. It will also ensure greater resilience and fairness of the tournament program for our competitors, and enable us to create a different kind of atmosphere on the middle Sunday, with a strong focus on the local community in particular. ... "
   ATP Tour — Qualifier Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat sixth-seeded Dusan Lajovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the BMW Open on clay in Munich.
   McDonald, who's now based in Orlando, Fla., is scheduled to meet qualifier Ilya Ivashka of Belarus for the first time on Wednesday. Ivashka, 27, routed Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-1, 6-2.
   The winner of the McDonald-Ivashka match likely will play top seed and two-time champion Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinals.
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the first round of doubles, Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium edged fourth-seeded Robert Galloway of Greenville, S.C., and Alex Lawson of Tempe, Ariz., 6-2, 2-6 [11-9] in the €44,820 ($54,189) Rome Garden Open 2 on clay in Rome. 
   ITF Women's Tour — Second-seeded Maiar Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt downed Emma Navarro, a 19-year-old wild card from Charleston, S.C., 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of the $60,000 Women's Pro Event at Boars Head Resort on clay in Charlottesville, Va.
   Navarro is a freshman at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.   
   Katie Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the Bay Area, outlasted Danielle Lao, only 5-foot-1 (1.59 meters) and 115 pounds (52.2 kilograms), of Arcadia in the Los Angeles area 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in 2 hours, 52 minutes.
   Arina Rodionova of Australia ousted top-seeded Madison Brengle of Dover, Del., 7-5, 4-6, 6-5, retired. Brengle won Northern California Challengers in 2018 and 2019. Rodionova reached the quarterfinals of the $60,000 Berkeley (Calif.) Challenger in 2019.
   In the opening round of doubles, Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and Harriet Dart of Great Britain defeated U.S. wild cards Rasheeda McAdoo and Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-2.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Klahn attempts comeback after third back surgery

Stanford graduate Bradley Klahn said, "I've got to give myself a shot." 
2017 photo by Mal Taam 
   Bradley Klahn's career is in jeopardy.
   Again.
   The 30-year-old Stanford graduate, who reached a career-high No. 63 in 2014, had surgery on the same herniated disc in his back for the third time in December. It's far from certain whether he can make another comeback or, if he does, how long it will last.
   "If I can get back and play five more tournaments, and my body is telling me I can't do it, or if that's five more years — or if I don't get back — at some point it's out of my control," the affable Klahn said Friday in a candid, thoughtful, introspective interview. "The only thing I can control is doing the work each day on my body."
   Klahn is not hitting balls yet.
   "I'm still in the gym working on regaining all the strength and stability," he said. "The only thing I can control is, am I building up my strength? Am I increasing my flexibility? Am I doing everything I can to be as healthy as possible physically and mentally? If I do that and I do get back, great. If I do that and it just doesn't happen, at least I'll know that I gave it a shot. The biggest thing for me is I've got to give myself a shot, and the best way to do that is to stay in the moment.
   "It's a struggle. It's easy to get ahead of yourself on down days in PT (physical therapy) where things might not be feeling great. There's plenty of times where you question yourself, like, how can I get back when I feel like this? But I've been in physical therapy for 2 1/2 months, and I look at where I am now compared to where I started. You realize how far you can come in a short period of time when you're not caught up in where the end of the road is and just go in and do the work every day."
   Klahn doesn't know when he'll start hitting balls.
   "I'm leaving that entirely in the hands of my medical team," he said. "When my doctor and physical therapist clear me to hit balls, you better believe I'll have my racket in my hand that day. Until then, I trust them. They've seen a lot more of these injuries than just mine. They have an idea what it looks like, and we'll build up from there. I'm gradually improving every day. I'm gradually increasing my workload, strength and cardio, and slowly building into some off-court exercises. Everything is trending in the right direction, which is all I can ask for."
Playing professional tennis "is a huge passion of mine," Bradley Klahn
 said. 2018 photo courtesy of JFS Communications 
   Klahn, who's single and lives in Marina Del Rey in the Los Angeles area, said he rehabs five days a week for three to four hours a day. 
   "The weekends I try to taper back a little bit more and be more active enjoying myself," he said. "That just means getting out, going for walks, getting to the beach, just making sure I'm getting out and about and surrounding myself with friends, which I think is important.
   "It's tough when so much of your identity for better or worse is tied up in tennis. I've been a professional tennis player for nine years. I've struggled with identifying myself too closely as a professional tennis player and not as a human being who plays professional tennis. I've tried to work on that this time around. Having that outlet has helped me stay fresher mentally, be more excited to go into rehab every day and keep me more excited about tennis."
   Klahn even began watching tennis on TV. 
   "The last couple of weeks have been the first time I've turned on the tennis every morning," he said. "I've been watching Monte Carlo and Barcelona. I don't have the same kind of sadness or pain I've had previously. I'm excited to watch, and I'm learning from the guys I'm watching: How can I apply this to my game when or if I'm able to get back?"
   After Klahn's second surgery, in 2015, he couldn't bring himself to watch the French Open or the U.S. Open.
   "It was too painful knowing what I was missing out on," he said. "I have a tremendous amount of appreciation for what tennis has given me. I want to get back for the fun of it. I actually want to enjoy it out on tour. If it doesn't happen, I realize I've given it my all. I've had a pretty good career. I definitely feel I have more out there, but there comes a time when you have to be more of a realist about the whole situation."
   Klahn, who majored in economics at Stanford, also has been taking online classes. He just finished a course through Harvard Business School called Crossover Into Business for Professional Athletes.
   "We worked with a couple mentors who were current HBS students and got to learn from them" Klahn said. "We would read through case studies and discuss them. I really enjoyed that one. It started to get me thinking more in business terms."
   Ideally, Klahn would return to competition in time for U.S. Open qualifying, scheduled for the week of Aug. 23.
   "I don't know how realistic that is, to be honest," said Klahn, who will have a protected ranking of No. 138 for nine to 12 tournaments, depending on how long he's out. "The U.S. Open is always my favorite tournament. It's hard to describe my emotions and excitement when I step off the plane in New York and walk onto the grounds at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center for the first time that year. It's just a place that's always been very special to me. It's a place where I've had a lot of really memorable matches.
   "Every year I miss the U.S. Open, it's a tough year. That's always the goal, but I have to be smart. I have to think about my long-term health and not do permanent damage to my back or any other part of my body and see how I progress through the rehab process."
   Klahn put his back problems in perspective.
   "It's easy to get caught up and focus on the back, but as I've had time to step back after surgery, I realize that I am pretty fortunate that I've been able to play at a high level for such a long time given the back ailments," he said. "The same back that has caused me problems is the same back that has helped me win a lot of matches. There's good and bad that comes with it.
   "Playing professional tennis is going to stress the back more than if I didn't play professional tennis. But playing professional tennis has also given me a lot of unique opportunities. More than anything, it's a huge passion of mine. I've wanted to be a professional tennis player since I started playing tennis at 11. I've just loved being on court, and I loved going to Stanford and playing on the team there. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that when I graduated from Stanford that I was going to play on the professional tour. You make a lot of sacrifices in pro sports, and it is tough on your body, but I've always found the reward has been greater."
   Klahn won the 2010 NCAA singles championship as a sophomore and underwent his first operation the following year. After graduating in 2012, he won the first of his eight Challenger singles titles in Aptos, Calif., a one-hour drive south of Stanford, in 2013.
   Klahn reached the second round of the U.S. Open in 2012, 2013 and 2019 and at Wimbledon in 2018. Also, he and countryman Tim Smyczek advanced to the third round of doubles at Flushing Meadows in 2014, losing to top-ranked Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan.  
Bradley Klahn's lefty forehand is one of his biggest weapons.
2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Klahn's last match came in the second round of a clay-court Challenger in Split, Croatia, last October. He retired with Alessandro Giannessi of Italy leading 7-6 (7), 3-0. 
   "I believe it was the first time I've ever retired in the middle of a match as a professional in singles," said Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander with a wicked serve and forehand. "I've always prided myself on my competitiveness and willingness to stay in matches. We don't bring our best stuff to the table every day, but when I step foot on the court, my job is to win the match. I've been in a lot of pain in matches before. I've played through herniated discs countless times, and that was the most pain I've ever been in on court. I couldn't actually put weight on my right leg to go up and serve.
   "There's a lot of emotions the next two months, and there's still a lot of emotions involved with it. I rehabbed for two months and made the decision that it just wasn't getting better and I needed to have the surgery. I wanted to get back to tennis. I had this bitter taste in my mouth of how the season ended and the fear of that being the way my career ends."
   Klahn added that he doesn't know what his chances are of coming back.
   "In some ways, that's the beauty of it," he said. "I can't pinpoint a percentage. I didn't think I was going to get back after the second surgery. I went from thinking that this is not that hard, I'm going to get back in no time and be even better than I was before to for a year thinking I was never going to get back and really struggling with that. Then I ended up getting back. I didn't hit my highest ranking, but I won more matches at the tour level.
   "It's hard to say. I don't know how my back is going to respond. There's just a lot of unknowns. The more I try to micromanage and control all the unknowns, the harder time I have mentally. I've found a lot more joy in embracing the unknowns, putting in the work and letting it fall where it may."

Cal women earn first Pac-12 tournament title

   The third-seeded California women won their first Pac-12 tournament championship today, beating top-seeded UCLA 4-2 in San Diego.
   Julia Rosenqvist, a senior from Sweden, defeated Elysia Bolton 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-1 on Court 3 to clinch the victory for the Bears (17-6). The Bruins fell to 19-4.
   No. 62 Haley Giavara, a Cal sophomore playing in her hometown, beat No. 8 Abbey Forbes 6-4, 6-2 on Court 1 to tie the score 1-1.
   Cal earned the Pac-12's automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Brooksby's rare feat: Hardcourt, clay titles in two weeks

Jenson Brooksby, shown last week in Orlando, Fla., be-
came the first man in five years to win hardcourt and clay
Challengers back-to-back. Photo courtesy of USTA
   Once again, the odds seemed stacked against Jenson Brooksby.
   Once again, he beat them.
   As commentator Mike Cation noted during today's live-stream telecast, "The kid just finds a way."
   Brooksby, a 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, outlasted Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando, Fla., 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 to win the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay.
   By surviving the 2-hour, 20-minute battle of unseeded players, Brooksby became the first man since Florian Mayer of Germany in 2016 to win hardcourt and clay-court Challengers back-to-back. Brooksby claimed the title in last week's $52,080 Orlando Open.
   Mayer, a two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist, peaked at No. 18 in the world in 2011 and retired in 2018.
   Brooksby, who shocked 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych in the first round of the 2019 U.S. Open as an 18-year-old qualifier and turned pro in December, has won 10 consecutive matches and 19 of 21 on the Challenger circuit with three titles this year.
   Ranked No. 310 at the beginning of the year, Brooksby will soar another 28 places to a career-high No. 166 on Monday. Fratangelo — yes, he was named after Bjorn Borg — will improve 27 spots to No. 194 after climbing as high as No. 99 in 2016.
   Like Rafael Nadal, Brooksby has an incredible will to win, going all out on every point. Unlike Nadal, Brooksby is volatile, flinging his racket in disgust when he struggles.
   Brooksby avenged a 7-5, 6-4 loss to Fratangelo, 27, five weeks ago in the final of the $52,080 Cleveland Open in an indoor hardcourt. Playing on clay this time seemingly favored Fratangelo, who 10 years ago became the first American to win the French Open boys singles title since John McEnroe in 1977. Brooksby, meanwhile, played in his first clay-court tournament in two years in Tallahassee.
   Fratangelo also was the fresher player today, having lost in the second round in Orlando and having played only one three-set match in Tallahassee before the final. 
   Fratangelo overcame 31 aces by 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) victory over the 42-year-old Croat in the opening round and received a walkover in the second round.
   Brooksby needed 2 hours, 6 minutes to subdue top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil 7-6 (6), 6-4 in the second round and was extended to three sets in his subsequent three matches, although eighth-seeded Michael Mmoh retired at 1-4 in the third set of the quarterfinals with a shoulder injury and both of Saturday's semifinals were interrupted by rain for several hours.
   Repeatedly coming up with big first-serves, the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Brooksby saved 16 of 19 break points against Fratangelo and converted all five of his break-point opportunities. In the third set, he escaped one break point to hold for 2-1 and five to hold for 3-2 as Fratangelo, who won the 2018 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger, failed to capitalize on Brooksby's soft second serve.
   After Brooksby ripped a lunging backhand down-the-line passing shot that landed on the sideline at 1-1 in the third set, Fratangelo muttered, "No ----ing way. ... How easy is tennis for you right now?"
   Brooksby recorded the only break of the third set with Fratangelo serving at 3-4. After Brooksby aggressively returned Fratangelo's second serve on break point with a backhand passing shot down the line, Cation intoned: "I think back to those decisions (by Fratangelo) in that 2-all game with Brooksby serving. Fratangelo had (two) second-serve looks and didn't go for that shot," Cation said. "Brooksby did."
   Brooksby converted his third championship point with an overhead. 
   Colleges — The third-seeded California women beat second-seeded Stanford 4-1 in the semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships in San Diego. The Bears (16-6) will meet top-seeded UCLA (19-3) on Monday at noon.
   The top-seeded Stanford men (10-5) lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to fifth-seeded Arizona State (16-7) in the Pac-12 semifinals in San Diego. In the deciding match, Max McKennon edged Timothy Sah, a senior playing in his hometown, 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8) on Court 5.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Brooksby, Fratangelo to meet in another Challenger final

Jenson Brooksby extended his winning streak to nine
matches and improved to 18-2 in Challengers with two
titles this year. Photo courtesy of US
   For the second time in five weeks, Jenson Brooksby and Bjorn Fratangelo will meet in a Challenger singles final.
   Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area outlasted Facundo Mena, 28, of Argentina 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 today in a battle of unseeded players in the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay. The unseeded Fratangelo, 27, of Orlando eliminated second-seeded Denis Kudla, 28, of Arlington, Va., 7-6 (2), 6-2. 
   Both semifinals were interrupted by rain for several hours.
   Fratangelo defeated Brooksby 7-5, 6-4 in last month's Cleveland final on an indoor hardcourt for his first Challenger singles title since Fairfield, Calif., in October 2018. They are scheduled to meet for the second time on Sunday not before 10:30 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, extended his winning streak to nine matches and improved to 18-2 in Challengers with two titles this year. He won last week's $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open on hardcourts.
   Fratangelo barely survived the first round, overcoming 31 aces by 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Ivo Karlovic in a 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (4) victory over the 42-year-old Croat. Brooksby ousted top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the second round.
   Ten years ago, Fratangelo, who was named after Bjorn Borg, became the first American to win the French Open boys singles title since John McEnroe in 1977.
   Brooksby, who began the year at No. 310 in the world, will rise at least 15 places to a career-high No. 179 on Monday. Fratangelo, who climbed as high as No. 99 in 2016, will jump a minimum of 27 spots to No 194.
   Play resumed today with Mena, who hadn't won a match in his previous eight tournaments this year, serving at 5-4 in the second set. He saved two break points to even the match at one set apiece.
   In the third set, Mena broke serve for 3-2, prompting Brooksby to fling his racket in disgust and incur a warning for racket abuse. Brooksby, however, broke right back for 3-3.
   Both players then held serve until Brooksby broke in the final game on Mena's wide cross-court backhand. Mena led 40-0 in the game.
   ATP Tour — Unseeded Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Horia Tecau of Romania edged third-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 1-6, 6-3 [11-9] in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open.
   Colleges — The top-seeded Stanford men routed eighth-seeded Washington 4-0 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Championships in San Diego. The Cardinal (10-4) is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Arizona State (15-7) on Sunday at 3 p.m. 
   The second-seeded Stanford women (14-3) are set to play third-seeded Cal (15-6) on Sunday at noon in the semifinals. The Cardinal, seeking its fifth consecutive conference title, beat eighth-seeded Washington. The Bears dominated sixth-seeded Oregon 4-1.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Brooksby extends win streak, reaches Tallahassee semis

Jenson Brooksby lost the first five games in his victory over
 No. 8 seed Michael Mmoh today. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Unseeded Jenson Brooksby overcame a miserable start today to extend his winning streak to eight matches.
   Eighth-seeded Michael Mmoh, 23, of Bradenton, Fla., retired with a shoulder injury with Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area leading 1-6, 6-1, 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay.
   Brooksby, who won last week's Orlando (Fla.) Open and ousted top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the second round in Tallahassee, improved to 17-2 in Challengers this year. After turning pro in December and beginning 2021 at No. 310 in the world, he will improve at least 11 notches to a career-high No. 183 on Monday.
   Mmoh, the son of Nigerian former pro Tony Mmoh, claimed the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018 to reach a career-high No. 96. Plagued by injuries since then, he has plunged to No. 173.
   Mmoh, who advanced to the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in February and the quarterfinals in Orlando, won the first five games today before Brooksby returned the favor in the second set.
   Brooksby went 0-7 on break-point opportunities before finally converting to lead 2-0 in the second set. He broke serve for 2-1 and 4-1 in the third set before Mmoh abruptly retired.
   Brooksby is set to face unseeded Facundo Mena, 28, of Argentina for the first time on Saturday. The 272nd-ranked Mena, who hadn't won a match in his previous eight tournaments this year, beat unseeded Mikael Torpegaard of Denmark 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   In the other semifinal, second-seeded Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., is slated to play unseeded Bjorn Fratangelo of Orlando.
   Kudla, who lost a heartbreaker in the final of the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in 2015, outlasted Filip Cristian Jianu, a 19-year-old Romanian qualifier, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-5 in 2 hours, 40 minutes. Kudla, ranked No. 117 after climbing as high as No. 53 in 2016, has won all three of his matches this week in three sets. 
   Fratangelo, who won the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger in 2018, defeated Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlottesville, Va., 7-5, 6-4. 
   Both semifinals are scheduled for 7 a.m. PDT in an effort to beat the anticipated rain. The tournament is being streamed live.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Brooksby, 20, to put win streak on line in quarterfinals

Jenson Brooksby of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento
area poses after winning the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open
 on Sunday. Photo courtesy of ATP Tour
   Jenson Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area is scheduled to play eighth-seeded Michael Mmoh, 23, of Bradenton, Fla., for the first time on Friday at 9 a.m. PDT in the quarterfinals of the $152,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger. The clay-court tournament is being streamed live.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, is 16-2 in Challengers this year with a seven-match winning streak. He won last week's Orlando (Fla.) Open on hardcourts to reach a career-high No. 194 in the world and ousted top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil in the second round in Tallahassee on Wednesday.
   Mmoh, the son of Nigerian former pro Tony Mmoh, claimed the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2018 to climb to a career-high No. 96. Having missed four months in 2019 with a right shoulder injury, he has fallen to No. 173.
    Mmoh reached the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in February, losing to Rafael Nadal 6-1, 6-4 , 6-2.
   In the doubles quarterfinals, unseeded Nathan Pasha of Atlanta and Max Schnur of New York edged second-seeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-7 (1) [10-7].
   Facundo Mena of Argentina and Joao Menezes of Brazil topped third-seeded Matthew Ebden of Australia and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-4, 6-7 (3) [10-7].
   ATP Tour — Third-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Jamie Murray of Great Britain 6-3, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open. Murray is the older brother of Andy Murray.
   WTA Tour — Top-seeded Desirae Krawczyk, a native of Palm Desert, Calif., and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix outclassed Sharon Fichman of Canada and Giuliana Olmos, a San Francisco Bay Area product who plays for Mexico, 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Brooksby ousts top seed Seyboth Wild in Tallahassee

Jenson Brooksby reached the quarterfinals of his
first clay-court tournament in two years. 2018
photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby seemed to be at a disadvantage in almost every respect today against Thiago Seyboth Wild.
   As usual, none of it mattered as the 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, prevailed 7-6 (6), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Tallahassee Tennis Challenger on green clay.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, improved to 16-2 in Challengers this year with a seven-match winning streak.
   Seyboth Wild, a 21-year-old Brazilian:
   —Was seeded first at No. 124 in the world. Brooksby is ranked a career-high No. 194.
   —Grew up on clay. Brooksby grew up on hardcourts and is playing in his first clay-court tournament in two years.
   —Was fresher, having played only doubles on Tuesday while Brooksby battled 17-year-old wild card Martin Damm, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter left-hander), for 2 hours, 30 minutes. Furthermore, Brooksby won last week's $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open on hardcourts.
   —Saved four set points to send the first set to a tiebreaker, in which Brooksby netted an overhead to trail 1-4 and faced two set points at 4-6. 
   Brooksby recorded the only service break of the second set in the opening game. Seyboth Wild escaped two match points to hold for 4-5, but Brooksby held at 15 on Seyboth Wild's netted forehand for the match.
   Brooksby saved the only break point against him in the match and converted only one of eight break- point opportunities. He is set to play eighth-seeded Michael Mmoh of Bradenton, Fla., on Friday. Mmoh, who won the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger in 2018, dispatched wild card Ryan Harrison of Atlanta 6-4, 6-3.
   In the first round of doubles, second-seeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands beat N.Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India 6-4, 7-5.
   The tournament is being streamed live.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Brooksby battles back, will take on Tallahassee top seed

Jenson Brooksby, shown en route to the Orlando (Fla.)
title last week, played his first clay-court match in two
years today. Photo courtesy of USTA
   Jenson Brooksby survived one test.
   An even tougher one looms on Wednesday.
   Brooksby, a 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, subdued 17-year-old wild card Martin Damm, a 6-foot-6 (198-meter) left-hander from Bradenton, Fla., 6-7 (11), 6-1, 6-2 today in the first round of the $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger on green clay.
   Brooksby, who won the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open on hardcourts Sunday, played his first clay-court match in two years. He saved five set points and Damm two in the first set of the 2-hour, 30-minute battle.
   Damm was seeking his first Challenger main-draw victory. His Czech father, also named Martin, won the 2006 U.S. Open men's doubles title with Leander Paes of India and peaked at No. 5 in the world in doubles in 2007. 
   Brooksby, ranked a career-high No. 194, is scheduled to face top-seeded Thiago Seyboth Wild, a 21-year-old Brazilian, for the first time on Wednesday at about 1:30 p.m. PDT. All Tallahassee matches are being streamed live.
   Seyboth Wild, ranked No. 124, played only doubles today. He dispatched Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round of singles on Monday.
   Seyboth Wild won the Santiago title on clay early last year as a 19-year-old wild card ranked No. 182, becoming the first ATP Tour champion born in the 2000s and the youngest Brazilian champion in the Open Era (since 1968). He took the 2018 U.S. Open boys singles crown, outlasting Italian sensation Lorenzo Musetti.
   In the opening round of doubles today, third-seeded Matthew Ebden of Australia and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., beat Peter Polansky and Brayden Schnur of Canada 6-3, 6-3. 
   ATP Tour — Third-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain routed Cristian Garin of Chile and Guido Pella of Argentina 6-0, 6-3 in the first round of the Barcelona Open.
   In Belgrade, Serbia, wild cards Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov, 28-year-old twins from Croatia, eliminated third-seeded Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan and Raven Klassen of South Africa 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round. 
   WTA Tour — Sharon Fichman of Canada and Giuliana Olmos, a 28-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product who plays for Mexico, topped Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., 4-6, 6-4 [10-4] in the first round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Bellis battles elbow problem; return date uncertain

 
CiCi Bellis was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2017 but
missed 19 months in 2018-19 while undergoing four operations on
her right arm. 2018 photo by Mal Taam
  CiCi Bellis remains out indefinitely with a right elbow injury, her agent said today.
   "She's trying to do her best to come back," Marijn Bal said, adding that Bellis is hitting balls. "It's a week-by-week situation."
   Bellis, a 22-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, has not played on the WTA or ITF circuit since November. She missed 19 months in 2018-19 while undergoing three operations on her right wrist and one on her right elbow. 
   Bellis, now based at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla., reached a career-high No. 35 in the world at age 18 in 2017 and was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year. She has tumbled to No. 140.
   ATP Challenger Tour Jenson Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area is scheduled to play 17-year-old wild card Martin Damm, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) left-hander from Bradenton, Fla., for the first time on Tuesday at about 11 a.m. PDT in the first round of the clay-court $52,080 Tallahassee (Fla.) Tennis Challenger. The match will be streamed live.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, won his second Challenger singles title of the year on Sunday in a $52,080 hardcourt tournament in Orlando. He also reached the final of last month's $52,080 Cleveland Challenger.
   Damm's Czech father, also named Martin, won the 2006 U.S. Open men's doubles title with Leander Paes of India and peaked at No. 5 in the world in doubles in 2007.
   Brooksby, ranked a career-high No. 194, or Damm, ranked No. 699, will face Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild, seeded first at No. 124. Seyboth Wild, 21, dismissed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina 6-3, 6-1.
   Seyboth Wild won the Santiago title on clay early last year as a 19-year-old wild card ranked No. 182, becoming the first ATP Tour champion born in the 2000s and the youngest Brazilian champion in the Open Era (since 1968). He earned the 2018 U.S. Open boys singles crown, outlasting Italian sensation Lorenzo Musetti.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Brooksby, 20, to crack top 200 after $52K Orlando title

 
Sacramento-area resident Jenson Brooksby, shown earlier
 this week in Orlando, did not lose a set en route to his
second Challenger singles title this year in three finals.
Photo courtesy of USTA 
 Only four months after turning proJenson "Mel" Brooksby will crack the top 200 in the world for the first time on Monday.
   The 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area appears headed much higher.
   Dismantling yet another veteran with his outstanding groundstrokes and high intensity, the unseeded Brooksby outclassed fifth-seeded Denis "The Little Engine That" Kudla of Arlington, Va., 6-3, 6-3 today to win the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
  Brooksby did not lose a set en route to his second Challenger singles title of the year in three finals. He will jump 38 places in the world rankings to No. 194.
   "His serve needs to get bigger," live-stream commentator Mike Cation said of the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Brooksby. "What impresses you is how well he competes on every point. His (two-handed) backhand is very good. His forehand is good to above-average. His competition level is elite."
   The 28-year-old Kudla, who was seeking his eighth career Challenger singles title, will rise seven spots to No. 117. He reached the fourth round at Wimbledon and the final of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2015 and climbed to a career-high No. 53 the following year.
  Brooksby claimed his second-highest-ranked victim. He stunned Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up who ascended to a career-high No. 4 in 2015, as a qualifier in the opening round of the 2019 U.S. Open. The Czech was ranked No. 98 at the time. Brooksby then lost to Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, seeded 17th and ranked 18th, in four sets, coming within a tiebreaker of leading two sets to none.
   On another muggy day in Orlando, Brooksby bolted to a 5-1 first-set lead for the second consecutive match. Kudla broke serve at love for 3-5, but Brooksby immediately broke back, converting his fourth set point. Kudla double-faulted twice in the game.
   Brooksby recorded the only break of the second set to lead 4-2. He remained poised while serving for the match at 5-3, pounding an ace for 40-15 and capitalizing on his first championship point with a backhand cross-court passing shot.
   Brooksby — who has an endorsement contract with UomoSport, a men's activewear company — earned $7,200. Kudla took home $4,240.
   College men — No. 24 Stanford swept host Washington 7-0 to win the Pacific-12 Conference title. The Cardinal ended the regular season at 9-3 overall and 6-1 in the Pac-12. The Huskies fell to 10-10 and 1-6. 
   The Pac-12 Championships are scheduled for Friday through April 26 in San Diego.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Brooksby, 20, frustrates Harrison to gain Orlando final

Jenson Brooksby, who turned pro in December,
reached his third Challenger singles final of the
year. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Late in the first set today, Christian "George" Harrison muttered about Jenson "Mel" Brooksby, "This guy is a freaking nightmare."
   Harrison is not the only one who feels that way.
   The highly consistent, competitive Brooksby, a 20-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, cooled off Harrison, a 26-year-old wild card from Bradenton, Fla., 7-5, 6-1 in the semifinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, reached his third Challenger singles final of the year. He won the title in Potchefstroom, South Africa, in February and lost to American Bjorn "Borg" Fratangelo in the Cleveland title match last month. Harrison, who has overcome eight surgeries, fell to 17-3 this year.
   Brooksby hasn't lost a set in four matches this week. He will rise at least 17 places to a career-high No. 215 in the world on Monday.
   Unseeded, Brooksby bolted to a 5-1 lead in the first set on a humid, windy day. Harrison rallied for 5-5, but Brooksby then reeled off six consecutive games and eight of the last nine.
   Brooksby, who's especially tough on big points, converted six of 10 break-point opportunities in the match and saved five of seven break points against him. He annoyed Harrison by yelling "C'mon!" and "Let's go!" after winning key points, including on Harrison errors.
   Harrison tried everything against Brooksby, including an underhand serve at 0-2 in the second set. That didn't work, either. Two points later, Harrison smashed his racket in frustration.
   Brooksby is scheduled to face fifth-seeded Denis "The Little Engine That" Kudla of Arlington, Va., for the first time on Sunday at 8 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live.
   The 28-year-old Kudla, ranked No. 124, subdued unseeded Roberto "Billy The" Cid Subervi of the Dominican Republic 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. 
   In the doubles final, unseeded Mitchell "Freddy" Krueger of Dallas and Jack "Where The Hell Is My" Sock of Charlotte, N.C., edged wild cards Harrison and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 4-6, 7-5 [13-11]. Krueger and Sock led 8-4 in the match tiebreaker. They escaped two championship points and converted their fourth.   
   Sock has won three Grand Slam men's doubles titles. Krueger played in his second consecutive Orlando doubles final. He and compatriot Jackson Withrow lost to Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov of Kazakhstan in last year's title match.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Brooksby, 20, tops teen to reach $52K Orlando semis

Jenson Brooksby has not lost more than four games in a set
in his three matches this week. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Unseeded Jenson "Mel" Brooksby, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area beat Zane "Wrath Of" Khan, a 19-year-old wild card from Delray Beach, Fla., 6-4, 6-3 today in the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Brooksby converted all five of his break-point opportunities and saved six of eight break points against him. He has not lost more than four games in a set in his three matches this week.
   The turning point against Khan, who ousted second-seeded Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan in the second round, came with Brooksby serving at 3-4 in the first set. Brooksby saved four break points to hold and won seven of the next eight games to lead 5-1 in the second set.
   Brooksby turned pro in December and won his first Challenger title in February in Potchefstroom, South Africa. In his next tournament, he reached the final of the Cleveland Challenger, falling to Bjorn "Borg"  Fratangelo.
   Khan had reached the final of his previous three tournaments (winning two), all in $15,000 events in India. He had not won a main-draw match in a Challenger before this week.
   Brooksby, ranked No. 232, is scheduled to play red-hot Christian "George" Harrison, a 26-year-old wild card from Bradenton, Fla., for the first time on Saturday at 8 a.m. PDT.
   The 327th-ranked Harrison, who has overcome eight surgeries, defeated Jack "Where The Hell Is My" Sock of Charlotte, N.C., 7-6 (3), 6-3 to improve to 17-2 this year. Sock has plummeted from a career-high No. 8 in 2017 to No. 257. 
   In Saturday's other semifinal, fifth-seeded Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., is set to play unseeded Roberto "Billy The" Cid Subervi of the Dominican Republic for the first time after the Brooksby-Harrison match. Kudla's ranking of No. 124 is half of Cid Subervi's.
   Wild cards Harrison and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., advanced to the doubles final with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over unseeded JC "Penney" Aragone of Yorba Linda, Calif., in the Los Angeles region and Luis David Martinez of Venezuela. 
   Harrison and Novikov are slated to meet unseeded Mitchell "Freddy" Krueger of Dallas and Sock, a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion, after the Kudla-Cid Subervi encounter. Krueger also reached last year's doubles final with compatriot Jackson Withrow.
   All Orlando matches are being streamed live.
   ATP Tour — Daniel "My Brother" Evans and Neal "Officer" Skupski of Great Britain topped "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan 1-6, 7-6 (5) [10-4] in the quarterfinals of the Monte-Carlo Masters.
   Colleges — The No. 24 Stanford men suffered their first Pacific-12 Conference loss, 4-2 at Oregon. The Cardinal (8-3, 5-1) will end its regular season on Sunday at noon at Washington (10-9, 1-5) with another chance to win the Pac-12 title.
   The No. 29 Stanford women defeated No. 25 California 4-3 at Stanford in the regular-season finale for both teams. Sara "Bok" Choy, a junior from Palo Alto, Calif., beat Hannah "Cruella De" Viller Moeller 6-2, 6-3 on Court 5 to give the Cardinal (13-3, 8-2) an insurmountable 4-2 lead. The Bears fell to 14-6 and 7-3.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NorCal's Novikov reaches doubles semis in Orlando

Wild cards Dennis Novikov, above, and Christian Harrison
advanced by walkover. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Wild cards Christian "George" Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., defeated Yuki Bhambri "The Deer" of India and Matthew "McConaughey" Ebden of Australia by walkover today in the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Bhambri had an undisclosed medical issue. He and Ebden reached the final of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2015 in their first tournament together, losing to Chris Guccione of Australia and Artem Sitak, a Russia native who plays for New Zealand.
   Harrison and Novikov, who ousted top-seeded Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela and Fernando Romboli in the first round, are scheduled to play unseeded JC "Penney" Aragone of Yorba Linda, Calif., in the Los Angeles area and Luis David Martinez of Venezuela on Friday at about noon PDT.
   Aragone and Martinez edged Jesper De "Mah" Jong and "Yosemite" Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-4 [10-8]. 
   If Friday's singles quarterfinals, U.S. prospects Jenson Brooksby "Brothers," 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento region and Zane "Wrath Of" Khan, 19, of Delray Beach, Fla., are set to meet for the first time at about 10 a.m. 
   All Orlando matches are being streamed live.
   ATP Challenger Tour in Belgrade, Serbia — Facundo Bagnis and Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina outplayed Andre "Agassi" Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Jonny "Depp" O'Mara of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3 in a quarterfinal matchup of unseeded teams in the €132,280 ($158,483) Serbia Challenger Open.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

U.S. prospects Brooksby, Khan to meet in Orlando QFs

Jenson Brooksby breezed into the quarterfinals
of the Orlando (Fla.) Challenger. 2018 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Two promising U.S. men are set to meet for the first time Friday in the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Jenson Brooksby "Brothers," 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area dispatched qualifier Altug Celikbilek of Turkey 6-3, 6-1 today. Meanwhile, Zane "Wrath of" Khan, a 19-year-old wild card from Delray Beach, Fla., ousted second-seeded Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, won seven consecutive games after leading 4-3 in the first set. He saved four of five break points against him overall. 
   Celikbilek committed nine double faults, including on the last three points of the first set.
   Khan reached the final of his previous three tournaments (winning two), all in $15,000 events in India. He had not won a main-draw match in a Challenger before this week.
   Halfway through the second round in Orlando, the only remaining singles seeds are No. 5 Denis Kudla and No. 6 Prajnesh Gunneswaran, last year's runner-up to 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima of San Diego.
   Kudla, the runner-up in the 2015 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger, and Gunneswaran, a Tiburon semifinalist in 2017, are scheduled to play their second-round matches on Thursday.
   In the opening round of doubles, wild cards Christian "George" Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., knocked off top-seeded Miguel Angel Reyes-Varela of Mexico and Fernando Romboli of Brazil 6-2, 5-7 [10-6].
   Reyes-Varela and Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador won the doubles title in the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger, edging Nathan Pasha and Max "Don't Be So" Schnur of the United States.  
   Also today, Jesper De "Mah" Jong and "Yosemite" Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands eliminated third-seeded Pasha and Schnur 6-4, 6-2.
   Mackenzie McDonald, a San Francisco Bay Area product now based in Orlando, and Martin Redlicki of Boca Raton, Fla., lost to JC Aragone of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles region and Luis David Martinez 6-7 (5), 7-5 [10-6]. McDonald and Redlicki won the 2016 NCAA doubles title while at UCLA.
   ATP Challenger Tour — Andre "Agassi" Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Jonny "Depp" O'Mara of Great Britain outclassed Serbian wild cards Marko Miladinovic and Marko Tepavac 6-3, 6-2 in the opening round of the €132,280 ($158,483) Serbia Challenger Open in Belgrade.
   ATP Tour — Unseeded "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) topped fifth-seeded Rajeev Ram "Tough," a volunteer assistant coach at Cal from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury "Steak" of Great Britain 6-7 (1), 6-3 [10-5] to reach the quarterfinals of the clay-court Monte-Marlo Masters.
   WTA Tour — Elixane Lechemia of France and Ingrid "Bergman" Neel of Bradenton nipped Americans Quinn "Jackie" Gleason and Maria "Sharapova" Sanchez, who was born and raised in Modesto, Calif., 6-7 (4), 7-5 [10-8] in the first round of the MUSC Health Women's Open on clay in Charleston, S.C. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

After 8 surgeries, Harrison tops No. 3 seed McDonald

Mackenzie McDonald, a San Francisco Bay Area product, was
the only U.S. man to reach the round of 16 in this year's Aus-
tralian Open. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Wild card Christian "George" Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., stayed hot today with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over third-seeded Mackenzie "Ronald" McDonald, a San Francisco Bay Area product now based in Orlando, Fla., in the first round of the $52,080 Orlando Open.
   The 26-year-old Harrison, who has undergone eight surgeries since 2009, improved to 15-2 in singles this year.
   McDonald, who had right hamstring surgery in 2019, was the only U.S. man to reach the singles round of 16 in this year's Australian Open. 
   Also today, Christopher "Bob" Eubanks of Atlanta ousted top-seeded Steve "Lyndon" Johnson of Redondo Beach, Calif., in the Los Angeles area 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   Eubanks reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2018. Johnson won his second Aptos singles title in 2019.
   Qualifier Altug Celikbilek of Turkey dismissed American Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, the 2017 NCAA singles champion from the University of Virginia, 6-2, 6-3.
   Celikbilek, 24, is scheduled to meet Jenson Brooksby "Brothers," 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento region for the first time on Wednesday at about 10:30 a.m. PDT. The match will be streamed live.
   ATP Tour — Fifth-seeded Rajeev Ram "Tough," a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury "Steak" of Great Britain are set to play "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14), a New Zealand product who plays for his mother's native Japan, on Wednesday in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Masters on clay. Both teams won match tiebreakers to advance. 
   WTA Tour — Francesca Di Lorenzo, the 2017 NCAA doubles champion from Ohio State, defeated fellow American Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate, 7-6 (6), 6-2 in the opening round of the MUSC Health Women's Open on clay in Charleston, S.C.
   Di Lorenzo, a 23-year-old left-hander, survived nine double faults.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Brooksby, 20, downs No. 7 seed Jung in $52K Orlando

Jenson Brooksby could meet 2017 NCAA singles champion
Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in the second round of the Orlando
(Fla.) Open. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby "Brothers," 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento region ousted seventh-seeded Jason "Carl" Jung, a 31-year-old Los Angeles-area native who plays for Chinese Taipei, 6-1, 6-4 today in the first round of the $52,080 Orlando (Fla.) Open.
   Brooksby, who turned pro in December, saved both break points against him in his first career match against Jung, who won the $100,000 San Francisco Challenger in 2018.
   Brooksby is set to meet either Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Charlottesville, Va., or qualifier Altug Celikbilek of Turkey for the first time on Wednesday. 
   Kwiatkowski graduated from the University of Virginia in 2017, winning the NCAA singles title as a senior and leading the Cavaliers to three consecutive NCAA team titles (2015-17). He reached the semifinals of the $108,320 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2019.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Stanford women snap longest skid in 40 years

   The No. 38 Stanford women ended their longest losing streak in 40 years today, dominating No. 34 USC 6-1 in Los Angeles.
   The Cardinal's only loss came on Court 1 as Salma Ewing defeated No. 48 Michaela Gordon, a senior from Saratoga, Calif., near Stanford, 4-6, 6-4 [10-3].
   Stanford, which had lost three straight, improved to 11-3 overall and 7-2 in the Pacific-12 Conference. USC dropped to 11-8 and 5-4.
   Cal women — The No. 16 Bears lost at No. 7 UCLA 7-0 to fall to 14-5 overall and 7-2 in the Pac-12.
   No. 11 Abbey Forbes routed No. 41 Haley Giavara 6-2, 6-0 on Court 1 as the Bruins improved to 15-3 and 9-0. 
   Stanford men — Timothy Sah came through again for the No. 37 Cardinal.
   The senior from San Diego outlasted Lodewijk Westrate of No. 15 USC 6-7 (4), 7-6 (7), 7-5 on Court 5 to give host Stanford (8-3, 5-0 Pac-12) a 4-3 victory over the Trojans (16-6, 4-2).
   Sah also won the deciding match in the host Cardinal's 4-3 win over No. 34 UCLA on Saturday.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Stephens stopped; Stanford women suffer historic skid

   No. 15 seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia beat unseeded Sloane "Ranger" Stephens, who grew up in Fresno, Calif., 6-3, 6-4 today in the quarterfinals of the Volvo Car Open on clay in Charleston, S.C.
   Stephens, now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was playing in her first quarterfinal since the 2019 French Open. She won the 2017 U.S. Open and reached the Roland Garros final in 2018.
   Stephens has slumped from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 57. She has lost an aunt, a grandmother and a grandfather to COVID-19 and has tested positive for the coronavirus herself.
   College women — No. 9 UCLA thrashed No. 38 Stanford 7-0 in Los Angeles to improve to 14-3 overall and 8-0 in the Pacific-12 Conference. The Cardinal (10-3, 6-2) has lost three straight for the first time in 40 years.
   Hannah Viller Moeller lifted California (14-4, 7-1 Pac-12) to a 4-3 victory at No. 37 USC (11-7, 5-3). 
   College men — No. 37 Stanford overcame a 3-0 deficit to stun No. 34 UCLA 4-3 at Stanford. Timothy Sah, a senior from San Diego, won the deciding match 6-3, 6-7 (8), 6-4 against Sam Feit on Court 5.
   The Cardinal improved to 7-3 and 4-0. The Bruins fell to 11-4 and 4-2.
   

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Ending drought, Stephens advances to quarterfinals

   Sloane "Ranger" Stephens reached her first quarterfinal in almost two years today, defeating Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia 6-3, 6-4 in the Volvo Car Open on clay in Charleston, S.C.
   Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., improved to 6-0 against Tomljanovic, the runner-up in the 2017 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger.
   Stephens advanced to a quarterfinal for the first time since the French Open in June 2019. She won the 2017 U.S. Open and reached the Roland Garros final in 2018.
   Stephens, who has slumped from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 57, is scheduled to play 15th-seeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia for the first time on Friday not before 4 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Kudermetova, ranked No. 38, dismissed qualifier Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-0, 6-3.
   French Open — The French Tennis Federation postponed the tournament one week to May 30-June 13 to maximize safety and attendance amid the COVID pandemic.
   ATP Tour — Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador beat Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Nicholas Monroe of Austin, Texas, 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Andalucia Open in Marbella, Spain.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Stephens beats Keys in rematch of '17 U.S. Open final

   Sloane "Ranger" Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., beat close friend and eighth-seeded Madison "Where The Hell Are My" Keys of Orlando, Fla., 6-4, 6-4 tonight in the second round of the Volvo Car Open on clay in Charleston, S.C.
   Stephens improved to 4-1 against Keys, including a 6-3, 6-0 victory in the 2017 U.S. Open final. Both players have won the Charleston title, Stephens in 2016 and Keys in 2019.
   Keys also captured the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017. The tournament moved down the road to San Jose, Calif., as the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in 2018.
   Keys has tumbled from a career-high No. 7 in 2016 to No. 24, and Stephens has plummeted from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 57. Neither had advanced past the second round of a tournament this year. 
   Stephens is set to play Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic, the runner-up in the 2017 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger, on Thursday at about 2 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel) in the round of 16. Stephens is 5-0 against Tomljanovic.
   ATP Tour — Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Nicholas Monroe of Austin, Texas, edged Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan and Dominic Inglot of Great Britain 6-3, 1-6 [12-10] in the first round of the Andalucia Open in Marbella, Spain.
   Bublik won the singles title in the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger in 2017.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Stephens, Keys to meet in rematch of '17 U.S. Open final

   Sloane "Ranger" Stephens and eighth-seeded Madison "Where The Hell Are My" Keys are scheduled to meet on Wednesday not before 4 p.m. PDT (Tennis Channel) in a rematch of the 2017 U.S. Open final in the second round of the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C.
   Keys is defending her 2019 title, and Stephens won the clay-court tournament in 2016.
   Stephens, a 28-year-old product of Fresno, Calif., now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., defeated lucky loser Wang Xinyu, 19, of China 6-2, 6-4 today. Keys, who won the last Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2017, received a first-round bye.
   Neither Keys nor Stephens has advanced past the second round of a tournament this year. Keys has tumbled from a career-high No. 7 in 2016 to No. 24, and Stephens has plummeted from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 57.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Italy's Paolini routs Stanford grad Ahn in Bogota

Kristie Ahn fell to sixth-seeded Jasmine Paolini in 59 minutes today.
2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   Sixth-seeded Jasmine Paolini of Italy drubbed Kristie Ahn, a 28-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 6-3, 6-0 in 59 minutes today in the first round of the Copa Colsanitas, a WTA 250 tournament on clay in Bogota, Colombia. 
   Two years ago in Bogota, 8,660 feet (2,640 meters) above sea level, Ahn ousted top seed and 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the opening round as a qualifier. Ahn then lost to 17-year-old wild card Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia in the second round.
   Paolini reached the second round of the French Open last fall.
   Ahn also lost in the first round of doubles. Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Katarzyna Piter of Poland defeated Ahn and compatriot Usue (pronounced OU-sway) Arconada 6-4, 2-6 [10-2].

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Bay Area native Shibahara wins her biggest doubles title

   Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan earned their tour-leading third title of the year and the biggest of their careers today.
   The fifth-seeded Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat eighth-seeded Hayley Carter, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Luisa "Gwen" Stefani of Brazil 6-2, 7-5 in the Miami Open, a WTA 1000 tournament.
   Aoyama, only 5-foot-1 (1.54 meters), and Shibahara were winless in their three previous tournaments after beginning the year with 13 consecutive victories and two titles.
   The Japanese pair improved to 6-1 in WTA finals with a six-match winning streak. The loss came against Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke, then 44, in San Jose in 2019.
   Aoyama and Shibahara have not lost a set against Carter and Stefani — former All-Americans at North Carolina and Pepperdine, respectively — in three matches this year, including the Abu Dhabi final in January.
   Juniors — Top-seeded Juncheng Shang of China downed unseeded Ethan "Allen" Quinn of Fresno, Calif., 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 to win the Easter Bowl in San Diego.
   Quinn's winning streak ended at 11 matches. He won last week's International Open of Southern California in San Diego.
   In the boys 16 doubles final, Ethan Schiffman of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., in the San Diego area and Emon van Loben Sels of Sacramento, Calif., defeated David "You Don't" Saye of Charlotte, N.C., and Eli "Manning" Stephenson of Louisville, Ky., 6-7 (tiebreaker score not available), 6-1, 6-1.
   Colleges — The Stanford women, who have won the last two NCAA titles and three of the last four, lost to Oregon for the first time in school history and suffered their second consecutive loss for the first time since 2016.
   Uxia Martinez Moral outlasted Sara Choy, a junior from Palo Alto, Calif., 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 on Court 4 to give the No. 46 Ducks (12-5, 5-3 Pacific-12 Conference) a 4-3 victory over the No. 25 Cardinal (10-2, 6-1) in Eugene, Ore.
   Meanwhile, No. 7 Pepperdine handed California its first home loss of the season, 4-3. Shiori Fukuda gave the Waves (13-2) a 4-0 lead with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Valentina Ivanov on Court 3. The Bears fell to 13-4.
   In a men's match, host Stanford routed No. 17 Arizona 5-1 to improve to 6-3 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12. The Cardinal's Axel "Uri" Geller defeated No. 63 Jonas "Brothers" Ziverts 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Court 1.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Fresno's Quinn to play in Easter Bowl boys 18 final

   Unseeded Ethan "Allen" Quinn of Fresno, Calif., beat second-seeded Bruno "Mars" Kuzuhara of Coconut Creek, Fla., 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 today to reach the 18-and-under final of the prestigious Easter Bowl in San Diego.
   Quinn, who won last week's International Open of Southern California in San Diego, extended his winning streak to 11 matches. He is set to face top-seeded Juncheng Shang of China on Sunday. Shang dispatched seventh-seeded Aidan "Pass The" Mayo of Roseville, Calif., in the Sacramento area 6-2, 6-3.
   In the boys 16-and-under doubles semifinals, unseeded Ethan Schiffman of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego region and Emon van Loben Sels of Sacramento bested eighth-seeded Alex Cairo "Egypt" of Las Vegas and "Bob" Dylan Tsoi of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento area 6-3, 6-4. 
   Schiffman and van Loben Sels are slated to meet unseeded David "You Don't" Saye of Charlotte, N.C., and Eli "Robert Louis" Stephenson of Louisville, Ky., on Sunday. Saye and Stephenson dismissed Ethan "Draymond" Green of Salt Lake City and Caden "What A" Hasler of American Ford, Utah, 6-1, 6-2.
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