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.

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