Thursday, October 7, 2021

McDonald dismisses Duckworth, braces for Medvedev

Mackenzie McDonald, a San Francisco Bay Area product,
 hugs his father, Michael, after his first-round victory today
in Indian Wells. Photo by Paul Bauman
   INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — After an impressive victory today, Mackenzie McDonald faces a huge challenge.
   The 26-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product is scheduled to meet reigning U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, seeded first and ranked second, on Saturday in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) McDonald, who was born in Berkeley and grew up in neighboring Piedmont, has lost all 11 sets in five career matches against the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Medvedev. They will meet for the third time this year and second time in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.
   "It's going to take something special," McDonald, now based in Orlando, Fla., said in an on-court interview after dispatching James Duckworth of Australia 6-3, 6-3 in 75 minutes today. "This guy has really owned me. I have to start with winning one set.
   "This guy is a hell of a player. I've been watching him for a while. He's kicked my ass plenty of times, so hopefully I can take it to him next time."
   McDonald will have plenty of fan support, not only as an American but as a former NCAA singles and doubles champion at UCLA, a two-hour drive west of Indian Wells.
   McDonald and Duckworth are ranked a career-high No. 57 and No. 55, respectively.
   McDonald, who reached his first ATP final in August in Washington, D.C., played for the first time since straining a foot in his five-set loss to his idol, Kei Nishikori, in the second round of the U.S. Open last month.
   Duckworth had played in three tournaments since the U.S. Open, winning the $52,080 Istanbul Challenger and reaching the final in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, and the quarterfinals in Sofia, Bulgaria, on the ATP Tour.
   "I thought I played really well today," McDonald said. "I'm happy to put on a good performance here in California."
   Another Bay Area native, Sam Querrey, lost handily on his 34th birthday. Querrey, who was born in San Francisco and now lives in Agoura Hills in the Los Angeles area, fell to Daniel Altmaier of Germany 6-2, 6-4 in 62 minutes in 16,100-seat Stadium 1, the second-largest tennis facility in the world behind 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey, a BNP quarterfinalist in 2018, is winless in six tournaments since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in early July. Ranked a career-high No. 11 in 2018, he has plunged to No 89. Altmaier, 23, reached the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier.
   In the first round of women's doubles, No. 3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan edged Sania Mirza of India and Zhang Shuai of China 4-6, 6-3 [15-13].
   The 33-year-old Aoyama, who's only 5-foot-1 (1.54 meters) and uses two hands on both sides, and Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the Bay Area and former UCLA star, saved three match points.
   Mirza, a former world No. 1 and two-time BNP champion in doubles, and Zhang, who won her second Grand Slam doubles title (both with Samantha Stosur of Australia) last month in the U.S. Open, survived two match points.
   During the night session, U.S. qualifier Usue Arconada's winning streak ended with a thud at seven matches, 6-0, 6-2 against hard-hitting Ajla Tomljanovic, a Croatia-born Australian. Tomljanovic (pronounced Tom-yon-o-vich), 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters), improved to 1-1 against Arconada, 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters). 
   Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16), a 25-year-old Egyptian making her BNP debut, dominated Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-1, 6-3. 
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 2 seed Mirjam Bjorklund of Sweden, No. 3 Katie Swan of Great Britain, No. 4 Lu Jia-Jing of China and No. 6 Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia reached the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Team Ascension Women's Pro Open in Redding, Calif.
   Pranjala Yadlapalli routed qualifier Maria Kozyreva, a Russian fifth-year student at Saint Mary's College in the Bay Area, 6-1, 6-3. Kozyreva stunned No. 1 seed Zheng Saisai, ranked No. 75, in the opening round in Berkeley.
   Catherine Harrison, a former UCLA star from Germantown, Tenn., eliminated Connie Ma, an 18-year-old wild card from Dublin in the Bay Area, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. 
   College — Carolyn Campana (Hillsborough in the Bay Area) of Wake Forest outclassed Rebeka Mertena of Tennessee 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals of the ITA Women's All-American Championships in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
    In the second round of the ITA Men's All-American Championships in Tulsa, Okla., No. 9-16 seed Ronnie Hohmann of LSU beat Arthur Fery of Stanford 6-3, 7-6 (5).
   Qualifiers Fery and Alexandre Rotsaert lost in the second round of doubles, as did Andres Martin and Marcus McDaniel (Vacaville, Calif.) of Georgia Tech.

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