Friday, June 25, 2021

Ahn advances to Wimbledon main draw as lucky loser

Stanford graduate Kristie Ahn seeks her first
main-draw win at Wimbledon. 2018 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Monica Niculescu, 33, of Romania defeated No. 13 seed Kristie Ahn, a 29-year-old Stanford graduate from Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 7-5, 6-1 today in the final round of Wimbledon qualifying at Roehampton in London.
   However, Ahn advanced to the main draw when defending champion Simona Halep withdrew because of a calf injury. Halep won the title in 2019; Wimbledon was canceled last year because of the pandemic.
   Ahn, who reached the fourth round of the 2019 U.S. Open, is scheduled to play Heather Watson, also 29, of Great Britain on Monday or Tuesday. In the players' only previous meeting, Watson won 6-3, 2-2, retired in the Fukuoka semifinals in 2019. 
   Ahn seeks her first main-draw victory at Wimbledon. In her only other main-draw appearance, she lost to No. 12 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the first round as a qualifier in 2019.
   Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens, a 28-year-old Fresno, Calif., product, drew No. 10 seed Petra Kvitova, the Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014. Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area will make her Wimbledon women's main-draw debut against Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania.
   On the men's side, Bay Area natives Sam Querrey and Mackenzie McDonald drew seeds.
   Querrey, 33, is set to meet No. 11 seed Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain in a matchup of Grand Slam semifinalists. But Carreno Busta, who will turn 30 on July 12, is 0-5 at Wimbledon.  
   McDonald, 26, is slated to take on No. 25 seed Karen Khachanov of Russia. Both players reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2018.
   ATP Tour — In a clash of unseeded players, Querrey defeated Adrian Mannarino of France 6-4, 6-3 on grass in Mallorca, Spain, to reach his first final since losing to compatriot Taylor Fritz on grass in Eastbourne in 2019. 
   Querrey is scheduled to face top-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia on Saturday at 7 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel). Medvedev, who's seeded second at Wimbledon, beat the fourth-seeded Carreno Busta 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to gain his first grass-court final at the tour level.
   In the Eastbourne doubles final, top-seeded Nikova Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia outclassed third-seeded Rajeev Ram, a volunteer assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley from Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 6-4, 6-3 for their seventh title of the year.
   Mektic and Pavic have not lost a set in three matches against Ram and Salisbury in 2021.
   WTA Tour — Second-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan eliminated unseeded Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 7-5, 6-1 in the Eastbourne semifinals.
   Aoyama, 33, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the Bay Area, are set to play top-seeded Nicole Melichar, a Czech-born American, and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands on Saturday. 
   Melichar and Kveta Peschke beat Aoyama and Shibahara for the title in the 2019 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif. Peschke was 44 at the time.

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