Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Stephens wins in NorCal return; Brooksby upsets Tiafoe

Sloane Stephens overcame a slow start in her first match since July 2 and first
in Northern California in nine years. 2019 photo by Mal Taam
   Sloane Stephens, a 28-year-old product of Fresno, Calif., defeated Catherine McNally, 19, of Cincinnati 6-4, 6-2 tonight in the first round of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State University.
   Stephens, playing her first match since July 2 at Wimbledon and first in Northern California in nine years, lost the opening four games.
   Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up, is scheduled to face No. 7 seed Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., on Thursday. Collins, who reached the semifinals of the inaugural (2018) Silicon Valley Classic and won her first career WTA title two weeks ago in Palermo on clay, beat Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 6-4, 6-3. 
   In today's most dramatic match, Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia saved two match points in a 1-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory over Amanda Anisimova, 19, of Aventura, Fla. Anisimova served for the match at 5-3 in the second set.
   Tomljanovic, 28, advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon last month. Anisimova beat Tomljanovic by walkover in the last (2017) Sacramento Challenger at 15 for her first professional title and reached the 2019 French Open semifinals at 17. 
   No. 8 seed Yulia Putintseva, a Moscow native who represents Kazakhstan, beat Donna Vekic of Croatia 7-5, 6-3. Vekic and Putintseva reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Vekic also advanced to the San Jose semifinals in 2019.
   WTA Tour in Cluj-Napoca, Romania — Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt ousted top-seeded Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round of the Winners Open 2021 on clay. 
   ATP Tour — Jenson Brooksby, a 20-year-old wild card from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, eliminated No. 16 seed Frances Tiafoe, playing in his hometown, 7-6 (4), 7-5 in the first round of the Citi Open in Washington, D.C.
   In No. 53 Tiafoe, Brooksby beat the highest-ranked player of his brief career and the third in the top 100.
   Tiafoe won the 2016 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at 18 to crack the top 100 for the first time, which Brooksby figures to do soon. He has skyrocketed from No. 307 to No. 130 since turning pro in late December and will improve at least seven more spots after this week.
   Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, knocked off reigning champion Nick Kyrgios of Australia 6-4, 6-4.
   In the opening round of doubles, No. 4 seeds Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14), a New Zealand product who plays for his mother's native Japan, beat Alexander Bublik and Andrey Golubev, Russia natives who represent Kazakhstan, 7-5, 6-2. Bublik won the singles title in the 2017 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger.
   Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and Tommy Paul of Miami eliminated wild cards Sam Querrey, a 33-year-old San Francisco native, and Jack Sock of Charlotte, N.C., 7-6 (8), 6-2. 
   USTA Pro Circuit — Nineteen-year-old Preston Brown, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) left-hander from Boca Raton, Fla., beat No. 15 seed Connor Farren, a 26-year-old native of Redwood City in the Bay Area, 6-4, 6-3 in final-round qualifying in the $25,000 USTA/Ursula Beck Pro Tennis Classic in Decatur, Ill.

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