Thursday, May 13, 2021

Volynets, Olmos score big wins; McDonald gains semis

Katie Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from the San Francisco Bay Area,
has reached her first two Challenger quarterfinals in the past two weeks.
2019 photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   For the second consecutive week, Katie "Serve And" Volynets will face No. 1 seed Madison "Avenue" Brengle in a Challenger quarterfinal.
   Meanwhile, "Rudy" Giuliana Olmos and Sharon "Stone" Fichman beat the top two doubles players in the world, Mackenzie "Ronald" McDonald reached a Challenger singles semifinal, and Rajeev "Los Angeles" Ram advanced to a Masters 1000 doubles quarterfinal.
   Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, dominated No. 6 seed Renata Zarazua of Mexico 6-1, 6-3 today in the second round of a $100,000 Challenger on green clay in Bonita Springs, Fla.
   In the French Open last fall, Zarazua became the first Mexican woman in 20 years to win a main-draw match in a Grand Slam tournament.
   Volynets, who surrendered only five games in the first round, will seek her first Challenger semifinal when she faces Brengle, 31, of Dover, Del., on Friday at about 3 p.m. PDT. All tournament matches are being streamed live.
   Brengle, who won Northern California Challengers in 2018 and 2019 and reached the final of another in 2013, dispatched qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden 6-3, 6-1 after also dropping only four games in the opening round.
   Brengle defeated Volynets, playing in her maiden Challenger quarterfinal, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in last week's $100,000 Challenger in Charleston, S.C., on green clay in their first career meeting.
   The second-round match between No. 3 seed Maiar "Who Shot The" Sherif Ahmed Abdelaziz (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt and Francesca Di Lorenzo, an American left-hander, was moved to Friday at 8 a.m. because of a storm.
   In the Australian Open in February, Sherif became the first Egyptian woman to win a main-draw match in a Grand Slam tournament.
   In today's doubles quarterfinals, unseeded Emina Bektas of the United States and Tara Moore of Great Britain saved four match points in their 6-4, 6-7 (5) [11-9] victory over wild cards Elizabeth Mandlik, the 19-year-old daughter of International Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova, and Volynets. Mandlik and Volynets led 7-1 and 9-5 in the match tiebreaker.
   WTA Tour — In the second round of doubles in the Italian Open on red clay in Rome, Fichman of Canada and Olmos — who was born in Austria, grew up in Fremont in the Bay Area and plays for Mexico — ousted No. 1 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Elise "Ethyl" Mertens of Belgium 1-6, 6-4 [10-4].
   Mertens and Hsieh are ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Hsieh won last year's title with Barbora Strycova, who announced her retirement last week.
   Fichman and Olmos are slated to play 17-year-old sensation Coco Gauff of Delray Beach, Fla., and Veronika Kudermetova of Russia on Friday. Both teams are unseeded.   
   ATP Challenger Tour — The eighth-seeded McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, cruised past lucky loser Joao Menezes of Brazil 6-3, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of a €88,520 ($107,527) Challenger on red clay in Heilbronn, Germany. 
   McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., is scheduled to take on fourth-seeded Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia for the first time on Friday at about 3:30 a.m. The match will be streamed live.
   Galan, 24, subdued seventh-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber, a 37-year-old German and former top-20 player, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in 2 hours, 23 minutes after needing 3 hours to top alternate Alessandro Gianessi of Italy on Wednesday in the second round.
   In the doubles quarterfinals, unseeded Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and "Yosemite" Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands beat fourth-seeded Rafael Matos and Felipe Meligeni Rodriques Alves of Brazil 6-4, 7-6 (5).
   Third-seeded Nathaniel Lammons of Dallas and Jackson Withrow of Omaha, Neb., eliminated Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va., and McDonald 7-6 (4), 6-2.
   ATP Tour — In the second round of doubles in the Italian Open, Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at Cal, and Joe Salisbury "Steak" of Great Britain outclassed "Baltimore" Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben "And Jerry's" McLachlan (Cal, 2011-14) of Japan 6-3, 6-2.
   Ram and Salisbury are set to take on No. 4 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in Friday's quarterfinals. 

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