Monday, November 29, 2021

Croatia defeats Italy in Davis Cup quarterfinals

Italian star Jannik Sinner, serving in Indian Wells last month, won in singles
but lost in doubles today against Croatia. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, the top doubles team in the world, lifted Croatia to a 2-1 victory over Italy today in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
   Mektic and Pavic, this year's Wimbledon champions, defeated Fabio Fognini and Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-4 in the deciding match in Turin, Italy. 
   Borna Gojo, the 2018 NCAA singles runner-up while at Wake Forest, had beaten Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-2 to give Croatia, the Davis Cup champion that year, a 1-0 lead. 
   Jannik Sinner, ranked No. 10 at age 20, made it 1-1 with a 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open titlist.
   Sinner reached the second round of the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17 after winning the Lexington (Ky.) Challenger the previous week.
   Italy played without seventh-ranked Matteo Berrettini (abdominal muscle), and Croatia is missing former world No. 12 Borna Coric (shoulder surgery).
   Croatia will face either Serbia, featuring Novak Djokovic, or Kazakhstan. In the other quarterfinals:
   —The Russian Tennis Federation, with U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, will meet Sweden, including Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14).
   —Germany, minus Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev, will play 2015 champion Great Britain, led by Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie, who won Tiburon and Stockton back-to-back in 2018 Northern California Challengers.
   Juniors — No. 9 seed Daria Smetannikov of Morganville, N.J., beat unseeded Gayathri Krishnan of Cupertino, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-1 to win the girls 18-and-under title in the USTA National Indoor Championships in Indianapolis.
   In Bradenton, Fla., No. 14 seed Alexis Blokhina, a Stanford commit from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., outlasted Kayla Cross of Canada 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the first round of the 18s in the Eddie Herr International Championships.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Colombia eliminates U.S. from Davis Cup Finals

Jack Sock of the United States retired from the decisive doubles match
against Colombia in the Davis Cup Finals. 2017 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jack Sock retired in the decisive doubles match as Colombia eliminated the United States 2-1 today in Turin, Italy, in the Davis Cup Finals.
   The U.S. finished 0-2 in the Finals, and Colombia went 1-1, also failing to advance. 
   In the doubles rubber, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah led Reilly Opelka and Sock 2-0 in the first set when Sock retired with an undisclosed injury.
   Frances Tiafoe had given the U.S. a 1-0 lead with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Nicolas Mejia. Tiafoe, a late addition to the team, saved two match points in the tiebreaker. Daniel Elahi Galan, ranked No. 111, then edged No. 24 John Isner 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
   In the quarterfinals, the Russian Tennis Federation will play Sweden, with Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17); 2015 champion Great Britain will face Germany; Italy will meet 2018 titlist Croatia; and Serbia, featuring Novak Djokovic, will play Kazakhstan.
   World TeamTennis — The second-seeded Orange County Breakers beat the top-seeded Springfield (Mo.) Lasers 21-13 in the WTT Finals in Indian Wells, Calif. 
   Orange County (9-4) led 15-5 after three sets. Springfield's Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Marcelo Arevalo, this year's U.S. Open mixed doubles finalists, routed Desirae Krawczyk and Austin Krajicek 5-1 in mixed doubles to cut the Breakers' lead to 16-10. Krawczyk and Tatiana Maria then topped Asia Muhammad and Olmos 5-3 in women's doubles.
   The Lasers were seeking their third WTT crown in four seasons. Orange County's Steve Johnson was named the WTT season MVP. 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Ex-Cal star, Sweden lose in Davis Cup round-robin play

Sweden's Andre Goransson, above, and Robert Lindstedt starred at Northern
California universities. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov defeated Andre Goransson and Robert Lindstedt 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes today to give Kazakhstan a 2-1 victory over Sweden in Madrid in the round-robin stage of the Davis Cup Finals.
   Kazakhstan is 1-0 and Sweden 1-1.
   Both Goransson and Lindstedt starred at Northern California universities. Goransson, 27, played at the University of California, Berkeley from 2014 to 2017 and Lindstedt, 44, at Fresno State from 1995 to 1997 before transferring to Pepperdine.
   In Innsbruck, Austria, Germany edged Serbia 2-1 as Novak Djokovic won in singles and narrowly lost in doubles. Djokovic outplayed Jan-Lennard Struff 6-2, 6-4 and teamed with Nikola Cacic in a 7-6 (5), 3-6, 7-6 (5) loss to Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz.
   Germany is 1-0 and Serbia 1-1.
   Italy (2-0) reached the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over Colombia (0-1) in Turin, Italy.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Home cookin': Italy defeats U.S. in Davis Cup opener

Jannik Sinner, playing in Indian Wells last month,
crushed John Isner 6-2, 6-0 in 68 minutes today in
Turin, Italy. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The United States had the experience and height, but Italy had the homecourt advantage.
   Lorenzo Sonego and Jannik Sinner, making their Davis Cup debuts, won in straight sets today as Italy defeated the United States 2-1 in a round-robin opener in the Finals in Turin.
  Sonego, playing in his hometown, gave Italy a 1-0 lead with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka.
   Jannik Sinner, ranked No. 10 at age 20, then crushed 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner 6-2, 6-0 in 68 minutes to clinch the overall win.
   All but Sonego played in Northern California Challengers early in their careers.
   Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock defeated Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (5), 6-2. Ram and Musetti made their Davis Cup debuts at 37 and 19, respectively.
   Meanwhile, Serbia and defending (2019) champion Spain won 3-0. Serbia's Novak Djokovic dominated Austria's Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes in Innsbruck. Spain, playing without Rafael Nadal, overwhelmed Ecuador in Madrid.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, beat the San Diego Aviators 23-16 in Indian Wells, Calif., to clinch the regular-season crown.
   As the top seed in the WTT Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. (Tennis Channel) in Indian Wells, Springfield (8-3) will choose the order of play against the second-place Orange County Breakers (7-4). The Lasers seek their third WTT title in four years.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Ex-Cal star helps Sweden romp in Davis Cup opener

Andre Goransson, left, and former University of California, Berkeley teammate Florian
Lakat play doubles in the 2015 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sweden, with former University of California, Berkeley star Andre Goransson, got off to a sizzling start in the Davis Cup Finals today.
   But there was a catch.
   The Swedes won all three matches against Canada, the runner-up to Spain in the last (2019) Davis Cup, without dropping a set in a round-robin opener in Madrid.
   The Canadians played without their top three singles competitors: No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 14 Denis Shapovalov and No. 70 Milos Raonic (formerly No. 3).
   Brothers Elias and Mikael Ymer won their singles matches, losing no more than four games in a set, to clinch the overall victory. Goransson (Cal, 2014-17) and 44-year-old Robert Lindstedt (Fresno State, 1995-97) then beat Vasek Pospisil, the singles runner-up in the 2017 San Francisco Challenger, and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (5), 6-4.
   Also today, 2018 champion Croatia blanked Australia 3-0 in Turin, Italy, and 2017 titlist France defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in Innsbruck, Austria.
   The United States — with John Isner, Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe, Jack Sock and Rajeev Ram — is set to open Friday against Italy, featuring No. 10 Jannik Sinner, in Turin, Italy. Both teams will be without their top singles player: No. 7 Matteo Berrettini of Italy and No. 23 Taylor Fritz.
   The top two players in the world — Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Russia's Daniil Medvedev, respectively — are scheduled to compete. But No. 3 Alexander Zverev, who won the ATP Finals last week, is not on the German team.
   The tournament consists of 18 teams in six round-robin groups competing in Madrid, Turin and Innsbruck. Because of Austria's COVID lockdown, the Innsbruck matches are being played without fans.
   The group winners plus the two second-place teams with the most sets and games won will advance to the quarterfinals. Madrid will host two quarterfinals, and Turin and Innsbruck one each. The semifinals and Dec. 5 final will take place in the Spanish capital.
   ATP Challenger Tour — No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier of Germany dispatched Govind Nanda, a 20-year-old qualifier from Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger.
   Altmeier advanced to the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.
   In the Puerto Vallarta doubles quarterfinals, Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands and Reese Stalder of Costa Mesa, Calif., in the Los Angeles region eliminated third-seeded Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-3, 6-4.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers (7-3), with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, and Orange County Breakers (7-4) will meet in the WTT Finals on Sunday at 3 p.m. PST (Tennis Channel) in Indian Wells, Calif.
   Springfield needs one victory in its two remaining matches to win the regular-season crown and earn the top seed in the WTT Finals. The top seed will choose the order of play, a significant advantage.
   Indian Wells is hosting all matches in the two-week season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

NorCal's Nanda falls in Puerto Vallarta doubles

    Gijs Brouwer of the Netherlands and Reese Stalder of Costa Mesa, Calif., in the Los Angeles area topped Govind Nanda of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento region and Michael Redlicki of Miami 6-7 (2), 6-4 [10-6] in the first round in the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger.
   Nanda, 20, remains alive in singles. A qualifier ranked No. 480, he is scheduled to play No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier, a 23-year-old German ranked No. 100, for the first time on Thursday. 
   Altmeier reached the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

NorCal's Nanda annihilates Aragone in Puerto Vallarta

   Qualifier Govind Nanda, 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area crushed JC Aragone of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles region 6-2, 6-0 in 71 minutes today in the first round of the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Challenger. 
   Nanda, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 155 pounds (70 kilograms), won 22 of 27 points on his first serve (81 percent) and saved all three break points against him. Aragone, 26, converted only 20 of 49 first serve (41 percent).
   Nanda, ranked No. 480, is scheduled to play No. 2 seed Daniel Altmeier, a 23-year-old German ranked No. 100, for the first time on Thursday. Altmeier eliminated Michael Redlicki, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) left-hander originally from Chicago, 7-6 (5), 6-1. 
  Altmeier reached the round of 16 in last year's French Open as a qualifier in his first Grand Slam tournament.
   In the opening round of doubles, No. 3 seeds Christian Harrison of Bradenton, Fla., and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., beat Pedro Vives Marcos of Spain and Wu Tung-Lin of Chinese Taipei 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Monday, November 22, 2021

NorCal's Nanda advances to Puerto Vallarta main draw

   No. 2 seed Govind Nanda, a former UCLA standout now based in the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Carmichael, defeated No. 7 seed Jean Thirouin of France 7-6 (4), 6-3 today in final-round qualifying for the $52,080 Puerto Vallarta (Mexico) Open.
   Nanda, 20, is scheduled to play JC Aragone, 26, of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles area. Aragone graduated from the University of Virginia, where he helped the Cavaliers win three consecutive NCAA titles (2015-17).
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, with San Francisco Bay Area product Giuliana Olmos, beat the Orange County Breakers 25-18 in a battle for sole possession of first place. Springfield improved to 6-2, and Orange County fell to 5-3.
   The top two teams in the five-team league will meet in the WTT Finals on Sunday. The two-week season is being held in Indian Wells, Calif.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Zverev defeats Medvedev for second ATP Finals crown

Alexander Zverev practices his serve during last month's
BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Alexander Zverev has yet to win a Grand Slam title.
   But the 24-year-old German came away with the next-best individual prizes this year.
   Zverev, seeded third, added the Nitto ATP Finals title to his Olympic singles gold medal with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Daniil Medvedev, seeded second, in a matchup of mobile 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) giants today in Turin, Italy.
   Zverev, the 2018 champion who ousted top-seeded Novak Djokovic on Saturday, snapped a five-match losing streak to the 25-year-old Russian and evened the head-to-head series at 6-6.
   Medvedev must settle for winning his first major title in the U.S. Open this year. With his surprising 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 victory in the final, he prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man to sweep the four major titles in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969.
   Earlier today, Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut earned their second ATP Finals doubles title in three years. The third seeds beat second-seeded Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6 (0).
   Ram won the doubles title in San Jose, Calif., on the ATP Tour in 2011 with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky, who retired in 2018. Salisbury took the doubles crown in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with Brydan Klein.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Zverev downs Djokovic, will meet Medvedev for title

Alexander Zverev practices his serve
during last month's BNP Paribas Open
in Indian Wells. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Almost four months ago, Alexander Zverev ended Novak Djokovic's bid for a Golden Slam.
   Today, Zverev denied Djokovic a chance to tie Roger Federer with six ATP Finals titles.
   The third-seeded Zverev beat the top-seeded Djokovic 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy. Zverev, who saved a set point in the first set, also defeated Djokovic in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal.
   Zverev, the 2018 ATP Finals champion, is scheduled to face second seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Sunday at 8 a.m. PST (Tennis Channel) in a matchup of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) veterans. Medvedev dispatched No. 8 seed Casper Ruud, a semifinalist in the 2018 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger at 19 years old, 6-4, 6-2.
   Medvedev is 6-5 with five consecutive victories against Zverev, including a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6) decision in round-robin play this week.
   In Sunday's doubles final, second-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are set to play third-seeded Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut at 5:30 a.m. (Tennis Channel).
   Ram and Salisbury beat top-seeded Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 4-6 7-6 (3) [10-4]. Herbert and Mahut, the 2019 champions, dismissed fourth-seeded Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4.
   Ram won the doubles title in San Jose, Calif., on the ATP Tour in 2011 with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky, who retired in 2018. Salisbury took the doubles crown in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with Brydan Klein.
   Granollers, a 35-year-old Spaniard, advanced to the singles final in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger, losing to then-20-year-old Michael Mmoh

Friday, November 19, 2021

Rublev receives Ruud awakening in ATP Finals

Casper Ruud beat Andrey Rublev for the first time in five
career matches to reach the semifinals of the ATP Finals.
2017 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway edged No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia 2-6, 7-5, 7-6 (5) today to reach the semifinals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.
   Ruud had been 0-4 against Rublev, although three of the matches were on clay and Ruud retired in the other one.
   Both Ruud, 22, and Rublev, 24, played in Northern California Challengers as teenagers. Ruud, the son of former top-40 player Christian Ruud, advanced to the Fairfield semifinals at 19 in 2018. Rublev lost to former world No. 2 Tommy Haas in the first round in Aptos at 17 in 2015.
   Ruud is scheduled to face No. 2 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Saturday at 5 a.m. PST. Medvedev has not lost a set in two career matches against Ruud. 
   In the other semifinal, No. 1 seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic is set to meet No. 3 seed and 2018 titlist Alexander Zverev at noon. Djokovic is 7-3 against Zverev, who ended the Serb's bid for a Golden Slam in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics en route to the gold medal.
   In the first doubles semifinal, No. 1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia are slated to play No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain at 2:30 a.m. 
   No. 3 seeds and 2019 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France are set to meet No. 4 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina at 9:30 a.m.
   Tennis Channel will televise all four matches.
   Ram won the doubles title in San Jose on the ATP Tour in 2011 with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky, who retired in 2018. Salisbury took the doubles crown in the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with Brydan Klein.
   Granollers advanced to the singles final in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger at age 32, losing to 20-year-old Michael Mmoh.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Medvedev saves two match points in ATP FInals win

Daniil Medvedev practices during last month's
 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   No. 2 seed and defending champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia saved two match points in a 6-0, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8) victory over alternate Jannik Sinner, playing in his home country, today in the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy.
   Medvedev, who already had clinched a berth in Saturday's semifinals, finished 3-0 in round-robin play. The 20-year-old Sinner, who replaced injured countryman Matteo Berrettini, went 1-1.
   Sinner reached the second round of the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17 after winning the Lexington (Ky.) Challenger the previous week.
   Medvedev is scheduled to play the winner of Friday's match between No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev of Russia and No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway (Tennis Channel, 5 a.m. PST). 
   In Saturday's other semifinal, top seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic is scheduled to face No. 3 seed and 2018 titlist Alexander Zverev.
   Meanwhile, No. 1 doubles seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia joined No. 4 seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in the semifinals. They will meet teams to be determined.
   Granollers reached the singles final in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger at age 32.
   World TeamTennis — The Springfield (Mo.) Lasers, with San Francisco Bay Area product Mackenzie McDonald, are in second place at 3-1, one-half match behind the San Diego Aviators. The Chicago Smash, featuring Fresno, Calif., product Sloane Stephens, are fourth at 2-3.
   The top two teams in the five-team league will meet in the WTT Finals on Nov. 28. All matches are being played in Indian Wells.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Muguruza conquers Kontaveit for title in WTA Finals

Garbiñe Muguruza excelled in the now-defunct Bank
of the West Classic at Stanford. 2017 photo by Mal Taam
   No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain defeated No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-3, 7-5 tonight to win the WTA Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico.
   Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, was the first Spaniard to reach the title match since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario lost to Steffi Graf in 1993.
   Not only did Muguruza feel at home in Mexico, the 5,138-foot (1,566-meter) altitude accentuated the 6-foot (1.82-meter) veteran's powerful game.
   Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament in 2017 before it moved to San Jose.
   Kontaveit was seeking her third consecutive title. She won four championships in 10 weeks after hiring coach Dmitry Tursunov.
   In the doubles final, No. 1 seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic beat No. 3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Elise Mertens of Belgium 6-3, 6-4.
   ATP Finals — No. 8 seed Casper Ruud of Norway outlasted alternate Cameron Norrie of Great Britain 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Turin, Italy.
   Ruud, a semifinalist in the 2018 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger, improved to 1-1 in round-robin play. Norrie, who won Tiburon and Stockton back-to-back in 2017 Northern California Challengers, replaced Stefanos Tsitsipas (elbow injury).
   Ruud is scheduled to play No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev (1-1) of Russia on Thursday for a semifinal spot. Norrie cannot advance.
   Meanwhile, No. 2 doubles seeds Rajeev Ram of Carmel, Ind., and Joe Salisbury of Great Britain saved two match points in a 6-7 (7), 6-0 [13-11] victory over No. 3 seeds and 2019 champions Pierre Hugues-Herbert and Nicolas Mahut of France.
   Ram and Salisbury, who won the U.S. Open doubles title last month, moved to 2-0 but are not guaranteed to reach the semis.
   Ram took the doubles crown in San Jose on the ATP Tour in 2011 with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky. Salisbury captured the 2017 Stockton Challenger with Brydan Klein. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Muguruza, Kontaveit to meet for title in WTA Finals

Garbiñe Muguruza won doubles title in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic
at Stanford and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament
in 2017 before it moved to San Jose. 2017 photo by Mal Taam
   In the first all-Spanish semifinal in WTA Finals history, No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza dispatched No. 7 seed Paula Badosa 6-3, 6-3 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
   The 6-foot (1.82-meter) Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, became the first Spaniard to reach the title match since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario lost to Steffi Graf in 1993.
   Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament in 2017 before it moved to San Jose.
   Muguruza is scheduled to face No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. PST (Tennis Channel). Kontaveit, playing in the WTA Finals for the first time this year, beat No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 for her 13th victory in her last 14 matches.
   Muguruza leads the head-to-head series 3-2. Kontaveit, who hired coach Dmitry Tursunov in August, seeks her third consecutive title.
   Sakkari advanced to the San Jose final in 2018, losing to Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania. 
   In the doubles semifinals, No. 1 seeds and reigning French Open champions Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic topped No. 4 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez of Stuart, Fla., and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 3-6, 6-3 [10-6].
   No. 3 seeds and reigning Wimbledon champions Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei and Elise Mertens of Belgium routed No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara of Japan 6-2, 6-2.
   The doubles final is set for Wednesday at 3 p.m. on Tennis Channel. 
   Shibahara, 23, was born in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area and starred at UCLA. Melichar-Martinez won the San Jose doubles title in 2019 with Kveta Peschke, who was 44 at the time.
   ATP Finals — Alternate Jannik Sinner, playing in his home country, drubbed No. 7 seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-2, 6-2 in a round-robin match in Turin, Italy.
   Sinner, 20, will rise one notch to crack the top 10 in the year-end rankings at No. 10. He reached the second round of the 2019 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17 after winning the Lexington (Ky.) Challenger the previous week.
   Also today, No. 4 doubles seeds Marcel Granollers of Spain and Horacio Zeballos of Argentina defeated No. 1 seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic of Croatia 6-4, 7-6 (4) to improve to 2-0. 
   Granollers, the singles runner-up in the 2018 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger at age 32, and Zeballos qualified for the semifinals when No. 6 seeds Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek beat No. 8 seeds Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau 7-6 (2), 7-5.
   College — Blue-chip recruit Emma Sun of Newbury Park in the Los Angeles region verbally committed to Stanford. Sun is ranked No. 14 in the class of 2022 by tennisrecruiting.net.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Sakkari subdues Sabalenka, advances in WTA Finals

No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari will face No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit in the semifinals
of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara. 2018 photo by Mal Taam
   In a matchup of former San Jose runners-up, No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece defeated No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 7-6 (1), 6-7 (6), 6-3 tonight to reach the semifinals of the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
   Sakkari won the last five games to snap a four-match losing streak to Sabalenka, who contracted COVID early last month and said she "couldn't move for four days."
   Sakkari is scheduled to face No. 8 seed Anett Kontaveit on Tuesday. The 25-year-old Estonian is 28-5 with three titles since hiring coach Dmitry Tursunov in August. A 38-year-old Moscow native, Tursunov trained in Northern California as a junior and professional.
   Also Tuesday, No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza is set to play No. 7 seed Paula Badosa in the first all-Spanish semifinal in the history of the WTA Finals. 
   No. 5 seed Iga Swiatek beat Badosa, who won Indian Wells last month, 7-5, 6-4 today to end Badosa's winning streak at eight matches. Badosa already had qualified for the semis, while Swiatek had been eliminated from contention.
   In San Jose finals, Sakkari lost to Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania in the inaugural 2018 tournament, and Sabalenka fell to Zheng Saisai of China in 2019.
   Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament in 2017 before it moved to San Jose.
   Meanwhile, the top four doubles seeds advanced to the semifinals: No. 1 Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, No. 2 Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, No. 3 Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens, and No. 4 Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs.
   Shibahara was born in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area and starred at UCLA but represents Japan. Melichar-Martinez won the San Jose title in 2019 with Kveta Peschke, who was 44 at the time.
   ATP Finals — No. 1 seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic downed No. 8 seed Casper Ruud 7-6 (4), 6-2 in a round-robin opener in Turin.
   Ruud, a semifinalist in the 2018 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger at 19, became the first Norwegian to compete in the ATP Finals in the tournament's 51-year history.
   No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev topped No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4. Rublev played in the 2015 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger at 17, losing to former world No. 2 Tommy Haas in the first round.
   No. 2 doubles seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury beat No. 7 seeds Jamie Murray, Andy's older brother, and Bruno Soares 6-1, 7-6 (5).
   Murray won the first of his 26 tour-level doubles titles in San Jose in 2007 with Eric Butorac. Ram took the San Jose crown four years later with former Stanford star Scott Lipsky. Salisbury captured the 2017 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger with Brydan Klein.

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Muguruza ends Kontaveit streak, advances in Finals

Garbiñe Muguruza snapped Anett Kontaveit's winning streak at 12 matches.
2017 photo by Mal Taam
   Garbiñe Muguruza had two psychological advantages over Anett Kontaveit tonight in the WTA Finals.
   Muguruza, a 28-year-old Spaniard, was more motivated and feels at home in Mexico.
   Those factors helped the sixth-seeded Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion, defeat the eighth-seeded Kontaveit 6-4, 6-4 to finish 2-1 in round-robin play and reach the semifinals in Guadalajara. Kontaveit, a 25-year-old Estonian, already had qualified for the semifinals.
   Muguruza struggled with her service toss, and Kontaveit had trouble with her forehand.
   Kontaveit's winning streak ended at 12 matches. She lost for only the third time in her last 31 matches, a hot streak that began shortly after she hired Dmitry Tursunov as her coach. A 38-year-old Moscow native, Tursunov trained in Northern California as a junior and professional.
   Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles semifinals in the last year of the tournament in 2017 before it moved to San Jose.
   Earlier today, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova outlasted No. 2 seed Barbora Krejcikova 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an all-Czech encounter. Krejcikova, who won her first Grand Slam singles title in the French Open in June, led 4-2 in the second set.
   It was the second consecutive match in which a player or team triumphed after getting blanked in the first set. In doubles Saturday night, Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk edged Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos, a San Francisco Bay Area product who represents Mexico, 0-6, 6-3 [11-9].
   Pliskova finished 2-1 in round-robin play but was eliminated when Muguruza won. Krejcikova went 0-3.
   In round-robin doubles, No. 5 seeds Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai, the reigning U.S. Open champions, topped No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, a 23-year-old Bay Area native, 4-6, 6-3 [10-7] to improve to 1-2. Aoyama and Shibahara (2-1) already had clinched a semifinal berth.
   No. 4 seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs beat No. 7 seeds Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac 6-4, 3-6 [10-2] in an elimination match. In San Jose, Melichar-Martinez won the 2019 title with then-44-year-old Kveta Peschke, and Jurak and Klepac took this year's crown.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Badosa beats Sakkari in WTA Finals to extend streak

   No. 7 seed Paula Badosa of Spain defeated No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari of Greece 7-6 (4), 6-4 today in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
   Badosa, who won Indian Wells last month in her previous tournament, improved to 2-0 in round-robin play with her eighth consecutive victory. Sakkari, the runner-up in the inaugural (2018) Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, fell to 1-1. 
   No. 1 doubles seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova also improved to 2-0, dominating No. 3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens 6-3, 6-1.
   No. 1 singles seed Aryna Sabalenka topped No. 5 seed Iga Swiatek 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to move to 1-1. Swiatek, last year's French Open champion, was eliminated at 0-2.
   No. 6 doubles seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk edged No. 8 seeds Sharon Fichman and Giuliana Olmos, a San Francisco Bay Area product who represents Mexico, 0-6, 6-3 [11-9]. Guarachi and Krawczyk improved to 1-1, and Fichman and Olmos dropped to 0-2.
   Krawczyk has captured the last three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, two with Joe Salisbury and one with Neal Skupski. Krawczyk and Olmos won the doubles crown in the 2017 (last) Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger.
   ATP Tour — Tommy Paul, the champion of the 2019 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger, claimed his first ATP title. Unseeded, he outlasted third seed and defending (2019) champion Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the Stockholm Open.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Kontaveit extends win streak, clinches semifinal berth

Anett Kontaveit earned her first victory in four career
matches against Karolina Pliskova. 2016 photo by
Paul Bauman
   Nobody seems to be able to stop Anett Kontaveit these days.
   The Estonian, seeded eighth, defeated Karolina Pliskova, seeded third, 6-4, 6-0 today in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara for her 12th consecutive victory and 28th in her last 30 matches. 
   The hot streak began just after Kontaveit hired Dmitry Tursunov, a 38-year-old Moscow native who trained in Northern California as a junior and professional, as her coach.
   Kontaveit beat Pliskova, the Stanford runner-up in 2015, for the first time in four meetings and clinched a semifinal berth with a 2-0 round-robin record. Pliskova fell to 1-1.
   Later, sixth-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza, who won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro, outlasted second-seeded Barbora Krejcikova 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to improve to 1-1 in round-robin play. Krejcikova, this year's French Open champion, dropped to 0-2.
   In doubles, second-seeded Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, a 23-year-old native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, beat fourth-seeded Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs 6-4, 7-6 (5) to improve to 2-0 in round-robin play. Melichar won the San Jose title in 2019 with Kveta Peschke, who was 44 at the time.
   Fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai, the reigning U.S. Open champions, lead seventh-seeded Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac, the San Jose winners in August, 7-6 (10), 2-2.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Sakkari wins WTA Finals debut; Sabalenka upset

Maria Sakkari became the first Greek woman to play in the WTA Finals
in singles or doubles. 2019 photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari defeated No. 5 seed Iga Swiatek, last year's French Open champion, 6-2, 6-4 today in a round-robin opener in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
   Sakkari, the runner-up in the 2018 (inaugural) Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, became the first Greek woman to play in the WTA Finals in singles or doubles.
   In a doubles round-robin opener, No. 3 seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens beat No. 6 seeds Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk 7-6 (3), 6-2.
   During the night session, No. 7 seed Paula Badosa of Spain dominated No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka, the San Jose runner-up in 2019, 6-4, 6-0. Badosa, the Indian Wells champion last month, reeled off the last 10 games to extend her winning streak to seven matches.
   Sabalenka tested positive for COVID just before Indian Wells and said she "couldn't move for four days."
   No. 1 doubles seeds Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova beat No. 8 seeds Giuliana Olmos, a product of Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Sharon Fichman 6-4, 6-1.
   Top-ranked Ashleigh Barty chose not to defend her 2019 title because of COVID travel and quarantine restrictions. The WTA Finals were not held last year due to the pandemic.
   ATP Tour — In the doubles quarterfinals of the Stockholm Open, an ATP 250 tournament, Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Andres Molteni of Argentina eliminated wild cards Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) and Robert Lindstedt (Fresno State, 1995-97), 44, of Sweden 6-3, 6-4.
   Gonzalez and Molteni were coming off a 6-7 (5), 7-5 [10-7] victory over No. 1 seeds Ivan Dodig of Croatia and Marcelo Melo of Brazil.
   CollegeVivian Ovrootsky of San Jose, Calif., signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Texas, and Alexis Blokhina of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., verbally committed to Stanford. They are ranked fourth and sixth, respectively, in the girls' class of 2022 by tennisrecruiting.net.
   Ethan Quinn of Fresno, Calif., signed to enroll at Georgia. He is the third-ranked high school boys senior at tennisrecruiting.net.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Kontaveit wins WTA Finals debut, extends streak

Anett Kontaveit has won 11 consecutive matches
and 26 of her last 28. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Red-hot Anett Kontaveit, seeded No. 8, defeated No. 2 seed Barbora Krejcikova, the reigning French Open champion, 6-3, 6-4 today in a round-robin opener in the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.
   Both 25-year-olds made their WTA Finals singles debuts. Kontaveit, from Estonia, has won 11 consecutive matches and 26 of her last 28. She began working with coach, Dmitry Tursunov, a 38-year-old Moscow native who trained in Northern California as a junior and professional, just before her hot streak.
   In a doubles round-robin opener, No. 2 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, a native of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area, downed No. 7 seeds Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac, the San Jose champions in August, 6-0, 6-4.
   During the night session, No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova, the Stanford runner-up in 2015, edged No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza, who won the Stanford doubles title in 2014 with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (6) in a battle of former world No. 1s. No. 4 seeds Nicole Melichar, the San Jose doubles champion in 2019 with then-44-year-old Kveta Peschke, and Demi Schuurs dominated No. 5 seeds Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-2. 
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the first round of doubles in the €66,640 ($76,530) Peugeot Slovak Open in Bratislava, N.Sriram Balaji and Divij Sharan of India ousted No. 3 seeds David Pel and "Yosemite" Sem Verbeek (University of the Pacific, 2013-16) of the Netherlands 6-3, 6-4.
   In the opening round of doubles in the $52,080 Knoxville (Tenn.) Challenger, Ruben "Sandwich" Gonzales of the Philippines and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia dismissed JC "Penney" Aragone of Yorba Linda in the Los Angeles region and Dennis "Vladimir" Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-1, 6-3. 
   Jason "Carl" Jung, a native of Torrance in the L.A. area who represents Chinese Taipei, and Mitchell "Freddy" Krueger of Dallas beat wild cards Martin "God" Damm of Bradenton, Fla., and Govind Nanda of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area 6-4, 6-4.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 6 seed Strong Kirchheimer of Cary, N.C., outplayed wild card Keenan "Pass The" Mayo of Sacramento 6-0, 6-4 in the first round of a $25,000 tournament in Harlingen, Texas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Another men's blue-chip recruit commits to Stanford

   Stanford men's coach Paul Goldstein received his third commitment from a blue-chip recruit in three weeks on Monday.
   Michael Zheng of Montville, N.J., said he plans to attend Stanford. Now ranked sixth in the class of 2022 on tennisrecruiting.net, he reached the round of 16 in the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in August.
   Goldstein previously received commitments from Samir Banerjee, the reigning Wimbledon boys singles champion, and Nishesh Basavareddy. 
   Wednesday is the first day players can sign National Letters of Intent. 
   CollegeBob Bryan and Mike Bryan were inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame on Saturday with Jayne Appel-Marinelli (women's basketball), Josh Childress (men's basketball), Toby Gerhart (football/baseball), Alix Klineman (women's volleyball), Elle Logan (women's rowing) and Julia Smit (women's swimming and diving).
   In their two years at Stanford, the Bryan twins helped the Cardinal win the NCAA team title in 1997 and 1998. Bob Bryan achieved a rare "Triple Crown" in 1998, sweeping the NCAA singles, doubles (with Mike) and team crowns.
   Professionally, the Bryans amassed a record 16 Grand Slam men's doubles titles and won an Olympic gold medal in the 2012 London Games.
   WTA Tour — Three of the eight singles players in the WTA Finals, which begin Wednesday in Guadalajara, are former runners-up in San Francisco Bay Area stops on the tour: No. 1 seed Aryna Sabalenka (San Jose in 2019), No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova (Stanford in 2015) and No. 4 seed Maria Sakkari (San Jose in 2018). No. 6 seed Garbiñe Muguruza won the Stanford doubles title with just-retired Carla Suarez Navarro in 2014.
   In the eight-team doubles field, No. 7 seeds Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepac claimed the San Jose title this year.
   Nicole Melichar-Martinez, seeded fourth with Demi Schuurs, took the San Jose crown in 2019 with then-44-year-old Kveta Peschke.
   Ena Shibahara, seeded second with Shuko Aoyama, was born in the Bay Area, and Giuliana Olmos, seeded eighth with Sharon Fichman, grew up there.
   ATP Tour — In the first round of doubles in the Stockholm Open, wild cards Andre Goransson (University of California, Berkeley, 2014-17) and Robert Lindstedt (Fresno State, 1995-97), 44, of Sweden beat alternates Karl Friberg of Sweden and Mohamed Safwat of Egypt 6-1, 3-6 [10-6].
   USTA Pro Circuit — In the opening round of doubles in a $25,000 tournament in Harlingen, Texas, No. 3 seeds Francis Casey Alcantara of the Philippines and Mark Whitehouse of Great Britain edged Yuta Kikuchi, a Cal senior, and Sho Shimabukuro of Japan 6-4, 3-6 [10-8]. 
   Kareem Al Allaf of Syria and Toby D. Boyer of the United States beat Americans Colin Markes and Keenan Mayo, a resident of Sacramento, Calif., 4-6, 6-3 [10-3].

Monday, November 8, 2021

Injured Brooksby withdraws from Next Gen ATP Finals

Jenson Brooksby leaves the court after practice during
last month's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Photo
by Paul Bauman 
   Jenson Brooksby's breakthrough year is over.
   The 21-year-old resident of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area withdrew from this week's Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan because of an abdominal injury. He also pulled out of last week's Paris Masters with the injury after winning two three-set qualifying matches to reach the main draw.
   The Next Gen ATP Finals features the top eight 21-and-under players of 2021. 
   Brooksby has skyrocketed from No. 307 when he turned pro last December to No. 56. After winning three Challenger tournaments and reaching the final of another in the first half of the year, he advanced to:
   —His maiden ATP final in Newport, R.I., in the first grass-court tournament of his life.
   —Two semifinals on the ATP Tour (Washington and Antwerp).
   —The fourth round of the U.S. Open, drubbing top-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-1 in the first set before the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion dominated the next three sets.
   In the process, Brooksby racked up six victories over top-50 players: No. 15 Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 25 Aslan Karatsev, No. 25 Reilly Opelka, No. 42 Taylor Fritz, No. 43 John Millman and No. 44 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Stanford's Fery falls in ITA Fall singles, doubles finals

   No. 3 seed August Holmgren, a University of San Diego redshirt senior from Denmark, defeated No. 2 seed Arthur Fery, a Stanford sophomore from Great Britain, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 today to win the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego. Fery held a match point.
   In the men's doubles final, No. 1 seeds Matej Vocel and Robert Cash of Ohio State topped No. 2 seeds Fery and Alexandre Rotsaert 2-6, 6-4 [10-7].
   No. 5 seed Eryn Cayetano, a USC junior from Long Beach, Calif., won the women's singles title with a 6-0, 5-7, 7-5 victory over No. 2 seed Daria Frayman, a Princeton junior from Russia.
   Frayman handed Stanford freshman Connie Ma, from Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, her first collegiate loss in the quarterfinals. Ma swept the singles and doubles titles in last month's ITA Northwest Regional Championships at Stanford.
   In today's women's doubles final, No. 4 seeds Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of North Carolina edged No. 3 seeds Tatsiana Sasnouskaya and Yuliia Starodubtseva of Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va., 4-6, 6-2 [11-9]. Scotty won the NCAA doubles title with Makenna Jones in May.
   ATP Tour — Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain outlasted Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the Bay Area, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Stockholm Open.
   ATP Challenger Tour — JC Aragone of Yorba Linda, Calif., in the Los Angeles region dominated Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-2, 6-2 in first-round qualifying in the $52,080 Knoxville (Tenn.) Challenger.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Kasatkina, San Jose runner-up, helps Russians win Cup

Daria Kasatkina, playing in San Jose in August, beat Jil Teichmann of Switzer-
land 6-2, 6-4 today in the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague. Photo by Mal Taam
   The Russian Tennis Federation defeated Switzerland 2-0 today in Prague to win the Billie Jean King Cup (formerly Fed Cup) for the first time in 13 years and fifth time overall.
   Daria Kasatkina, the San Jose runner-up in August, began the day with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jil Teichmann. Liudmila Samsonova then outlasted Belinda Bencic, who won the singles gold medal in this year's Tokyo Olympics, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
   Switzerland fell to 0-2 in Billie Jean King Cup finals.
   The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from international competition for four years in August, but athletes not implicated in doping are allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
   WTA Tour — No. 3 seed Anna Bondar of Hungary beat No. 1 seed Mayar "Who Shot The" Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egpyt 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Argentina Open on clay in Buenos Aires. It's the first WTA tournament in Argentina in 34 years.
   College — No. 2 seed Arthur Fery "Cross the Mersey" of Stanford outlasted No. 5 seed Matej Vocel of Ohio State 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the semifinals of the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego.
   Fery, who has won three consecutive three-set matches, is scheduled to face No. 3 seed August Holmgren of the University of San Diego on Sunday. Holmgren beat No. 1 seed Clement Chidekh of Washington 6-0, 1-6, 6-3.
   In the doubles semifinals, No. 4 seeds Fery and Alexandre Rotsaert defeated No. 7 seeds Lui Maxted and Pedro Vives Marcos of Texas Christian 6-3, 7-5. Fery and Rotsaert are set to meet No. 1 seeds Robert Cash and Vocel, who eliminated No. 3 seeds Andres Martin and Marcus McDaniel, from Vacaville, Calif., of Georgia Tech 5-7, 6-1 [10-6].

Friday, November 5, 2021

U.S. falls to Russians in Billie Jean King Cup semis

Danielle Collins, shown en route to the San Jose title in August, won all three
of her singles matches in the Billie Jean King Cup. She did not play doubles.
Photo by Mal Taam
   The Russian Tennis Federation defeated the United States 2-1 today to reach the final of the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly Fed Cup, in Prague.
   In the decisive doubles match, Veronika Kudermetova and Liudmila Samsonova outclassed Shelby Rogers and CoCo Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-3.
   With Samsonova serving for the match at 5-3, the Russians trailed 0-40 but reeled off the next four points to advance. They will face Switzerland, which beat Australia 2-0, on Saturday at 8 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel).
   Vandeweghe reached the final of the now-defunct Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012 and 2017.
   Samsonova gave the Russians a 1-0 lead with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sloane Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product who has tumbled from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 63.
   Danielle Collins, the San Jose champion in August, then outlasted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who advanced to the French Open final in June, 6-7 (9), 7-6 (2), 6-2.
   Collins won all three of her singles matches this week. She did not play doubles. Pavlyuchenkova played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World Team Tennis as the world's top junior at 15 in 2006.
   The United States, which has won a record 18 Billie Jean King Cup titles, was missing its top four singles players — No. 15 Sofia Kenin, No. 20 Jessica Pegula, No. 23 Coco Gauff and No. 25 Jennifer Brady — and top five doubles competitors — No. 14 Nicole Melichar-Martinez, No. 16 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 17 Caty McNally, No. 19 Gauff and No. 23 Desirae Krawczyk.
   The Russian Tennis Federation has its top five singles players — No. 12 Pavlyuchenkova, No. 28 Daria Kasatkina, No. 31 Kudermetova, No. 32 Ekaterina Alexandrova and No. 40 Samsonova — and its top doubles competitor, No. 11 Kudermetova. Kasatkina fell to Collins in the San Jose final.
   The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from international competition for four years in August, but athletes not implicated in doping are allowed to compete under a neutral flag.
   WTA Tour — No. 1 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt beat No. 6 seed Ekaterine Gorgodze of Georgia 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Argentina Open on clay in Buenos Aires. It's the first WTA tournament in Argentina in 34 years.
   College — No. 2 seed Arthur Fery of Stanford won two three-set matches to reach the semifinals of the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego.
   Fery also reached the doubles quarterfinals with Alexandre Rotsaert. Seeded fourth, they advanced by walkover. 
   No. 3 seeds Andres Martin and Marcus McDaniel, from Vacaville, Calif., of Georgia Tech eliminated Timothy Sah, playing in his hometown, and Max Basing of Stanford 6-4, 7-6 (4).
   In the women's singles quarterfinals, No. 5 seed Eryn Cayetano of USC beat unseeded Mariia Kozyreva of Saint Mary's in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-2, 6-2. Earlier today, Kozyreva ousted No. 1 seed Abigail Forges of UCLA in three sets.
   No. 2 seed Daria Frayman, a Princeton junior from Russia, eliminated Connie Ma, a Stanford freshman from Dublin in the Bay Area, 6-4, 6-4.    
   No. 4 doubles seeds Fiona Crawley and Elizabeth Scotty of North Carolina downed Angelica Blake and Ma 6-2, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals. Scotty won the NCAA doubles title with Makenna Jones in May.
   In a late match, No. 5 seeds Victoria Flores and Lisa Zaar of Pepperdine beat Jessica Alsola, from Fresno, Calif., and Erin Richardson of the University of California, Berkeley 6-4, 6-2.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Aussies, Swiss advance to Billie Jean King Cup semis

Alja Tomljanovic, the runner-up in the 2017 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger and a
Wimbledon quarterfinalist this year, lifted Australia to a 2-1 victory over Belarus
today in the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague. 2017 photo by Rob Vomund
   Australia defeated Belarus 2-1 today to reach the semifinals of the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly Fed Cup, in Prague.
   Storm Sanders beat Yuliya Hatouka, making her Cup debut, 6-3, 6-3 to give the Aussies a 1-0 lead. Alja Tomljanovic, who reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon this year, then topped Aliaksandra Sasnovich 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. 
   Sanders and compatriot Daria Gavrilova won the doubles title in the 2014 Sacramento (Calif.) Challenger. Three years later, Tomljanovich advanced to the Sacramento singles final.
   The top two singles players in the world, Ashleigh Barty of Australia and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, and former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus skipped the Billie Jean King Cup. 
   In Friday's semifinals (Tennis Channel), the United States will face the Russian Tennis Federation at 2:30 a.m. PDT, and Australia will play Switzerland, a 2-1 winner over the Czech Republic, at 9 a.m.
   WTA Tour — No. 1 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt dismissed Katharina Gerlach of Germany 6-3, 6-2 in the second round of the Argentina Open on clay in Buenos Aires. It's the first WTA tournament in Argentina in 34 years.
   USTA Pro Circuit — In a second-round matchup of qualifiers, Moyuka Uchijima of Japan defeated Maegan Manasse, an assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley and ex-Bears All-American, 6-4, 6-2.
   No. 1 doubles seeds Anna Danilina of Kazakhstan and Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine beat Fernanda Contreras Gomez of Mexico and Maribella Zamarripa of St. Helena, Calif., in the Napa region 6-1, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals.
   Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Sho Shimabukuro of Japan dominated qualifier Keenan Mayo of Sacramento, Calif., 6-2, 6-2 in the second round of a $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville, Ark.
   In the second round of the $15,000 Dick Savitt Futures in Ithaca, N.Y., No. 6 seed Luke Johnson of Great Britain beat Connor Farren, a San Francisco Bay Area product, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2.
   Abraham Asaba of Ghana and Guy Orly Iradukunda of Burundi eliminated Farren and Jesse Flores of Costa Rica 6-2, 7-6 (0) to reach the quarterfinals.
   College — No. 2 seed Arthur Fery of Stanford dispatched Jordan Hasson of Oklahoma 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego.
   Fery also advanced in doubles with Alexandre Rotsaert; they are seeded fourth. Their teammates, Timothy Sah and Max Basing, are scheduled to meet third-seeded Marcus McDaniel (Vacaville, Calif.) and Andres Martin of Georgia Tech in the second round on Friday.
   In women's singles, Stanford freshman Connie Ma, from Dublin in the Bay Area, ousted No. 7 seed Snow Han of USC 6-3, 6-1, but another Cardinal freshman, Alexandra Yepifanova, lost to No. 5 seed Eryn Cayetano of USC 7-5, 6-4.
   Mariia Kozyreva of Saint Mary's in the San Francisco Bay Area eliminated Anna Riedmiller of Denver 6-4, 6-3.
   Advancing in doubles were Ma and Angelica Blake, and Cal's Jessica Alsola (Fresno, Calif.) and Erin Richardson. Yepifanova and Niluka Madurawe (Sunnyvale in the Bay Area) lost their opener.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

U.S. beats Spain to reach Billie Jean King Cup semis

Sloane Stephens, playing in San Jose in August, beat Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-4, 6-4
today in the United States' 2-1 win over Spain in the Billie Jean King Cup in Prague.
Photo by Mal Taam 
   One day after suffering an embarrassing loss, the United States somehow advanced to the semifinals of the Billie Jean King Cup, formerly Fed Cup, in Prague.
   Behind Sloane Stephens and Danielle Collins, the Americans defeated Spain 2-1 today to win Group C, even though all three teams finished round-robin play at 1-1 overall and 3-3 in matches. 
   The United States, which lost to Slovakia 2-1 on Tuesday, will meet the Russian Tennis Federation on Friday. The other semifinal matchup will be determined Thursday.
   Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product who has plunged from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 63, beat Nuria Parrizas Diaz, ranked No. 66, 6-4, 6-4. Collins, ranked No. 30, then demolished No. 37 Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-1, 6-0 in 59 minutes to give the U.S. an insurmountable lead. Spain won the doubles match. 
   Collins, 27, claimed her first two WTA titles back-to-back in Palermo on clay and San Jose on hardcourts this summer. Sorribes Tormo ousted top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, the reigning Wimbledon champion, in the first round of the Tokyo Olympics in late July. 
   The United States, which has won a record 18 Billie Jean King Cup titles, is missing its top four singles players — No. 15 Sofia Kenin, No. 20 Jessica Pegula, No. 23 Coco Gauff and No. 25 Jennifer Brady — and top five doubles players — No. 14 Nicole Melichar-Martinez, No. 16 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 17 Caty McNally, No. 19 Gauff and No. 23 Desirae Krawczyk.
   Five-time champion Spain played without its top two singles competitors, No. 5 Garbiñe Muguruza and No. 11 Paula Badosa, this week.
   The Russian Tennis Federation has its top five singles players — No. 12 Anasastia Pavlyuchenkova, No. 28 Daria Kasatkina, No. 31 Veronika Kudermetova, No. 32 Ekaterina Alexandrova and No. 40 Liudmila Samsonova — and its top doubles competitor, No. 11 Kudermetova. Kasatkina fell to Collins in the San Jose final.
   ATP Challenger Tour — In the first round of doubles in Charlottesville, Va., No. 3 seeds Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who represents the Philippines, and Frederik Nielsen of Denmark defeated JC Aragone of Yorba Linda, Calif., in the Los Angeles region and Dennis Novikov of San Jose, Calif., 6-4, 6-1. 
   At Wimbledon in 2012, Nielsen and Great Britain's Jonathan Marray became the only wild cards in the tournament's 144-year history to capture the men's doubles title. Goran Ivanisevic (2001) is the only man to accomplish the feat in singles.
   Aragone graduated from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, helping the Cavaliers win three consecutive NCAA team titles (2015-17).
   USTA Pro Circuit — Qualifier Maegan Manasse, an assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley and former Bears All-American, topped American wild card Elizabeth Mandlik, the 20-year-old daughter of International Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova of the Czech Republic, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the opening round of a $25,000 tournament in Orlando, Fla.
   In Fayetteville, Ark., qualifier Keenan Mayo of Sacramento, Calif., eliminated U.S. wild card Tyler Zink 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the first round of a $15,000 tournament.
   Mayo's younger brother, Aidan, lost to No. 6 seed Luke Johnson of Great Britain 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 in the opening round of the $15,000 Dick Savitt Futures in Ithaca, N.Y. Connor Farren, a San Francisco Bay Area product, beat lucky loser Jonathan Sorbo of Canada 7-6 (4), 6-4.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Slovakia shocks U.S. in Billie Jean King Cup

Danielle Collins, the San Jose champion in August, won her singles match today
in the Billie Jean Cup. 2021 photo by Mal Taam 
   Viktoria Kuzmova and Tereza Mihalikova, saving a match point in doubles, lifted Slovakia to a stunning 2-1 victory over the United States today in the round-robin phase of the Billie Jean Cup, formerly Fed Cup, in Prague.
   Kuzmova and Mihalikova edged CoCo Vandeweghe, the runner-up in the now-defunct Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2012 and 2017, and Caroline Dolehide 6-2, 6-7 (5) [12-10].
   The Slovaks led 8-4 in the match tiebreaker, but the Americans reeled off fourth consecutive points, escaped a match point at 8-9 and earned a match point at 10-9.
   Kuzmova defeated Shelby Rogers 6-4, 6-4 in the opening match. Danielle Collins, who won the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in August, then defeated Anna Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-2.
   Slovakia improved to 1-1 in Group C, and the United States fell to 0-1. The Americans will meet Spain (1-0) on Wednesday. 
   Twelve teams are divided into four groups, with the group winners advancing to Friday's semifinals.
   The United States is missing its top four singles players (No. 15 Sofia Kenin, No. 20 Jessica Pegula, No. 23 Coco Gauff and No. 25 Jennifer Brady) and top five doubles players (No. 14 Nicole Melichar-Martinez, No. 16 Bethanie Mattek-Sands, No. 17 Caty McNally, No. 19 Gauff and No. 23 Desirae Krawczyk).
   WTA Tour — No. 1 seed Mayar Sherif (Fresno State, 2015-16) of Egypt edged Andrea Lazaro Garcia of Spain 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) in the first round of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. It's the first WTA tournament in Argentina in 34 years.
   In the opening round of the Dow Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich., No. 2 seed Misaki Doi of Japan edged Katie Volynets, 19, of Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (5).
   Volynets saved five match points with Doi, a 30-year-old left-hander who won last week's $80,000 Challenger in Tyler, Texas., serving at 5-2 in the third set.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 7 seed Maegan Manasse, an assistant coach at the University of California, Berkeley and former Bears All-American, beat No. 15 seed Alexa Graham from Garden City, N.Y., 6-4, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying for a $25,000 tournament in Orlando, Fla.
   Fernanda Contreras Gomez of Mexico and Maribella Zamarripa of St. Helena, Calif., in the Napa region triumphed in the first round of doubles.
   Meanwhile, No. 10 seed Keenan Mayo of Sacramento, Calif., outplayed No. 5 seed Oscar Mesquida Berg of Spain 6-3, 6-2 to qualify for a $15,000 tournament in Fayetteville, Ark.
   They met again in doubles, with Mesquida Berg and Matic Spec of Slovenia beating Mayo and Jake Van Emburgh from Belleair Beach, Fla., 4-1, retired. Mayo is scheduled to play in the first round of singles on Wednesday.
   In the $15,000 Dick Savitt Futures in Ithaca, N.Y., Connor Farren, a native of Redwood City in the Bay Area, and Jesse Flores of Costa Rica won in the opening round of doubles.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Brooksby pulls out of Paris Masters with injury

Jenson Brooksby practices during last month's BNP Paribas
Open in Indian Wells. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Rising star Jenson Brooksby, a 21-year-old qualifier from the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Carmichael, withdrew from the Paris Masters today because of an abdominal injury.
   Brooksby, who has skyrocketed from No. 307 to No. 56 in his first year as a professional, won his qualifying matches in 2 hours, 33 minutes on Saturday and 3:02 on Sunday. He is scheduled to play in the Next Gen ATP Finals, featuring the top eight 21-and-under players this year, Nov. 9-13 in Milan.
   Replacing Brooksby in Paris was Dominik Koepfer, a 27-year-old German left-hander who saved seven match points in a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (9) victory over 34-year-old wild card Andy Murray, the 2016 champion. The first-round match lasted 3:01.
   Koepfer, a former All-American at Tulane University in New Orleans, reached the Aptos (Calif.) Challenger final and U.S. Open round of 16 in 2019.
   Also in Paris, Dusan Lajovic of Serbia eliminated Mackenzie McDonald, a 26-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-3, 6-4.
   In the opening round of doubles, Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Gonzalo Escobar of Ecuador topped Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Ben McLachlan (University of California, Berkeley, 2011-14) of Japan 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3) [10-6]. 
   Klaasen, 39, and McLachlan, 29, are winless in their last five tournaments. They advanced to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics and won the Washington title in the summer.
   USTA Pro Circuit — No. 7 seed Maegan Manasse, a Cal assistant coach and former Bears All-American, advanced to the second (final) round of qualifying in a $25,000 tournament in Orlando, Fla., with a 6-3, 6-0 victory over McKenna Schaefbauer, a University of South Carolina commit from Normal Ill.
   But Maribella Zamarripa, a University of Texas freshman from St. Helena in the Napa region, lost to No. 16 seed Adriana Reami, a former North Carolina State star from Miami, by the same score.
   In Fayetteville, Ark., No. 10 seed Keenan Mayo, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), of Sacramento beat wild card Jake Sweeney, a University of Arkansas freshman from Hilton Head Island, S.C., 7-6 (4), 6-4 to reach the second (last) round of qualifying in a $15,000 tournament.
   College — Eleven days after Wimbledon boys singles champion Samir Banerjee verbally committed to Stanford, blue-chip recruit Nishesh Basavareddy of Carmel, Ind., did the same.
   Basavareddy is ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2022 by tennisrecruiting.net. He won the 14s in the Orange Bowl and USTA National Clay Court Championships.
   Signing day is Nov. 10.
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