Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Doubles star to return to Bay Area after long absence

Sania Mirza, left, and Martina Hingis meet the press after winning the doubles
title at Indian Wells in 2015. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sania Mirza, formerly ranked No. 1 in doubles, plans to return to the San Francisco Bay Area for the first time in 13 years.
   The 34-year-old Indian is set to play doubles in next month's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, tournament officials announced today.
   Mirza, who is only a runner-up finish in the French Open from earning a career Grand Slam in women's doubles, took 2018 and 2019 off to have her first child with husband Shoaib Malik. 
   Mirza leads active players with 42 career tour-level doubles titles, including the 2007 Bank of the West Classic crown at Stanford with Shahar Peer of Israel. Mirza also reached the 2007 singles final at Stanford, losing to Anna Chakvetadze of Russia.
   The doubles field for the Silicon Valley Classic, Aug. 2-8 at San Jose State University, also includes former doubles world No. 1s Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix, Latisha Chan of Chinese Taipei and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic. 
   Peschke, 46, has won both Mubadala doubles titles, in 2018 with Chan and 2019 with Nicole Melichar, a Czech-born American.
   The team of Mattek-Sands, ranked No. 13 in the doubles, and countrywoman Desirae Krawczyk, ranked No. 18, heads the acceptance list for the tournament, which will mark 50 years of women's tour tennis in the Bay Area. Krawczyk has won the last two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles.
   ATP Tour — In the first round of doubles on clay in Gstaad, Switzerland, alternates Zizou Bergs of Belgium and Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands dispatched No. 4 seeds Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) of Sweden and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark 6-3, 6-4.
   At Wimbledon in 2012, Nielsen and Jonathan Marray of Great Britain became the only wild cards in the tournament's 144-year history to capture the men's doubles title. Three years later, Nielsen won Northern California Challengers in Tiburon and Fairfield with Johan Brunstrom of Sweden.
   In Los Cabos, Mexico, Brandon Nakashima, 19, of San Diego upended No. 4 seed and 2017 champion Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round on hardcourts.
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the opening round of doubles in the $52,00 Atlantic Tire Championships on hardcourts in Cary, N.C., Orlando, Fla., residents Ulises Blanch and Sam Riffice, a Sacramento, Calif., native, outplayed Boris Arias of Bolivia and Gonzalo Villanueva of Argentina 6-1, 7-5 in a matchup of unseeded teams. 
   Riffice won the NCAA singles title as a Florida junior in May after helping the Gators capture the team championship.
   USTA Pro Circuit — Qualifier William Griffith, a former Cal standout from Fresno, Calif., beat Nathan Ponwith of Scottsdale, Ariz., 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the $15,000 Edwardsville (Ill.) Futures on hardcourts. Ponwith completed his eligibility at Arizona State in May.

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