Monday, July 19, 2021

San Jose qualifying strong; NorCal Challengers canceled

Former world No. 1 Samantha Stosur warms up for her first-round
match in the 2013 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   The qualifying field in next month's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Calif., announced today, features ex-world No. 1 Samantha Stosur, three other former top-10 players and 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Ajla Tomljanovic.
   Joining Australians Stosur and Tomljanovic (pronounced Tom-yon-o-vich) are France's Caroline Garcia (No. 4 in 2018), Southern Californian CoCo Vandeweghe (No. 9 in 2018) and France's Kristina Mladenovic (No. 10 in 2017).
   Vandeweghe reached the final of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012 and 2017. The tournament moved to San Jose under new sponsorship in 2018. 
   Heading the Mubadala qualifying field is No. 45 Donna Vekic, a Croat who reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals and San Jose semifinals in 2019. Last year's Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic was canceled because of the pandemic.
   The 2021 qualifying field also includes 19-year-old American Amanda Anisimova, a French Open semifinalist in 2019. Anisimova won her first professional title at 15 in the 2017 (last) Sacramento, Calif., Challenger, beating Tomljanovic by walkover.
   Qualifying is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 1 at San Jose State University, followed by the main draw Aug. 2-8. Tickets are available at as the tournament celebrates the 50th year of women's tour tennis in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   The main draw features 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, 2017 U.S. Open winner and Fresno, Calif. product Sloane Stephens and 2017 U.S. Open runner-up and Stanford champion Madison Keys. Kenin won Northern California Challengers as a teenager in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
   WTA Tour in Gdynia, Poland— Kateryna Kozlova, 27, of Ukraine defeated Katie Volynets, a 19-year-old wild card from Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area, 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the first round of the clay-court tournament.
   Volynets recently made her Wimbledon main-draw debut as a qualifier, losing to 30-year-old Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in the first round. 
   Challengers — The Aptos and Tiburon men's Challengers — normally held in August and September, respectively —  in NorCal have been canceled for the second consecutive year.
   "We were in a holding pattern (because of COVID)," Aptos tournament director Rick Kepler said. "When it was time to decide, it was too iffy.
   "I feel like we made a good decision with all the mask stuff now in California. Now we're kind of looking like geniuses."
   In its 32nd year in 2019, Aptos was the longest-running men's Challenger in the United States. The tournament probably will return in 2022, Kepler said.
   According to the Tiburon Challenger's Facebook page: "The requirements mandated by the ATP Challenger Circuit in order to meet the stringent COVID protocols has (sic) created too big an operational and financial roadblock for the (Tiburon Peninsula) Club to undertake hosting the event this year. ... We have already begun preparing for the 2022 Tiburon Challenger."
   NorCal Challengers still scheduled this year are the $60,000 Berkeley women (Sept. 27-Oct. 3), $25,000 Redding women (Oct. 4-10) and $100,000 Fairfield men (Oct. 11-17).
   ATP Tour — In the opening round of doubles on hardcourts in Los Cabos, wild cards and Bay Area natives Mackenzie McDonald and Sam Querrey beat unseeded Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-1, 6-4 in an all-American matchup.
   Jovic takes break — Jovana (Jaksic) Jovic, a 27-year-old Serb living in Sacramento, Calif., is taking the rest of the year off and teaching tennis.
   "I needed a break," said the 323rd-ranked Jovic, whose last tournament was in March.
   Jovic has struggled with back problems since reaching a career-high No. 102 in 2014.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 6 seed William Griffith and unseeded Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., won their first-round qualifying matches in straight sets on hardcourts in the $15,000 Edwardsville (Ill.)  Futures. Quinn, 17, is ranked first nationally in the boys 18s. 

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