Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Stephens stops Kasatkina to reach Parma quarterfinals

   Sloane "Ranger" Stephens survived a matchup of former top-10 players today to reach her second quarterfinal of the year.
   The 28-year-old product of Fresno, Calif., outlasted No. 4 seed Daria "Mary" Kasatkina of Russia 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 in 2 hours, 5 minutes in the Emilia-Romagna Open, a WTA 250 tournament on red clay in Parma, Italy.
   Stephens, who routed Kasatkina in the quarterfinals of the 2018 French Open en route to the final, and Kasatkina traded five consecutive service breaks to knot the third set 4-4. Both players held serve in the next three games, giving Stephens a 6-5 lead.
   Stephens had three match points with Kasatkina serving at 5-6, 0-40, but Kasatkina laced three consecutive passing shots for deuce. Stephens then slugged an inside-out forehand winner to earn her fourth match point, which she converted with a forehand cross-court winner.
   Stephens, now based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is scheduled to play either seventh-seeded Sara Sorribes "Mel" Tormo of Spain or Sara "No Runs, No Hits, No" Errani, a 34-year-old Italian wild card, on Thursday. 
   Stephens is 2-0 against Sorribes Tormo, 24, and 1-1 against Errani. Both matches against Sorribes Tormo were on clay in 2019. Both contests against Errani were on hardcourts, the last coming in 2012, the year Errani reached the French Open final. 
   Sorribes Tormo won her first WTA singles title in March on hardcourts in Guadalajara. Errani advanced to the third round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in February, demolishing 40-year-old Venus Williams 6-1, 6-0 in the second round.
   WTA Tour in Belgrade, Serbia — In the first round of doubles in the Serbia Ladies Open on red clay, Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium ousted top-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan 6-3, 1-6 [10-5].
   Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, reached the semifinals of last week's Italian Open.
   ATP Tour — In the opening round of doubles in the Geneva Open on red clay, No. 3 seeds "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan of Japan beat Luke "Golden Gate" Bambridge and Dominic "London" Inglot of Great Britain 6-3, 7-6 (4).
   ITF Women's Tour — In the first round of doubles in the $25,000 Legacy Pro Classic on green clay in Pelham, Ala., wild cards Sofia "Patrick" Sewing of Miami and Katie "Serve And" Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the Bay Area dismissed alternates Shiho "Ohtani" Akita and Nagi Hanatani of Japan 6-1, 6-2 in 63 minutes.
   Volynets won her first professional singles title Sunday in a $100,000 tournament on green clay in Bonita Springs, Fla.
   Sophie "P.F." Chang of the United States and Sofia Shapatava of Georgia defeated American wild cards Reese "Witherspoon" Brantmeier and Alexandra Yepifanova, a Stanford signee, 6-3, 6-4.
   Shapatava also beat Yepifanova in singles on Monday, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the opening round. Yepifanova received a wild card.
   Allura and Maribella Zamarripa, 18-year-old identical twins from St. Helena in the Napa Valley, withdrew from the doubles draw.

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