Thursday, April 18, 2019

Brooksby, 18, falls to No. 8 seed Polansky in thriller

   Eighth-seeded Peter Polansky of Canada edged Jenson Brooksby, an 18-year-old wild card from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (6) today to reach the quarterfinals of the Sarasota (Fla.) Open.
   Polansky, ranked No. 128, had 10 aces and no double faults in the 2-hour, 27-minute battle on Har-Tru (green clay) in 89-degree (31.7 Celsius) heat and 50 percent humidity.
   Brooksby, last year's USTA boys 18 national champion, had been 0-2 in Challenger main draws before this week. He dispatched American wild card Jared Hiltzik 6-1, 6-2 in the first round and Australian Marc Polmans, the 10th seed and runner-up in the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October, 6-3, 6-0 in the second round.
  Polansky, who won the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2013, was severely injured in a three-story fall from his hotel room in Mexico almost exactly 12 years ago.

Brooksby, 18, shocks 10th-seeded Polmans in Challenger

Jenson Brooksby, practicing in Sacramento last May, beat
Marc Polmans, the runner-up in the $100,000 Stockton
(Calif.) Challenger last October, today in the second round
of the $108,320 Sarasota (Fla.) Open. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Jenson Brooksby earned the biggest victory of his promising career on Wednesday.
   And it wasn't close.
   The 18-year-old wild card, from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, stunned 10th-seeded Marc Polmans 6-3, 6-0 on Har-Tru in the second round of the $108,320 Sarasota (Fla.) Open.
   Polmans, instantly recognizable by his legionnaire's cap, reached the final of the $100,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last October. At No. 163, the 21-year-old Australian is by far the highest-ranked player Brooksby has beaten. Brooksby routed top-seeded Dmitry Popko, then ranked No. 351, in the quarterfinals of a $25,000 tournament in Los Angeles in January for his best previous win.
   Brooksby, ranked No. 636, also surrendered only three games in his first-round victory over American Jared Hiltzik, a 24-year-old wild card and NCAA singles quarterfinalist in 2015 from the University of Illinois.
  Brooksby, who had been 0-2 in Challenger main draws before this week, is scheduled to play eighth-seeded Peter Polansky, a 30-year-old Canadian ranked No. 128, today for a quarterfinal berth.
   Polansky, who won the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2013, defeated Brooksby's comrade from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento, Collin Altamirano, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday in the second round.
   Both Brooksby (2018) and Altamirano (2013) won the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., to earn an automatic wild card in the main draw of the U.S. Open.
   Brooksby lost to Australian veteran John Millman 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 in oppressive humidity in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., in the opening round. Millman went on to stun Roger Federer in the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
   Brooksby plans to enroll at Baylor in Waco, Texas, in the fall or January 2020.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Anisimova, 17, tops Aussie for first WTA title

Amanda Anisimova, shown en route to the Sacramento Challenger title
in 2017, defeated Astra Sharma 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in Sunday's Bogota final
on the WTA tour. Photo by Rob Vomund
   In 2017, Amanda Anisimova won her first professional singles title in the $60,000 Sacramento Challenger at 15.
   On Sunday, the 17-year-old American earned her first WTA singles crown.
   The sixth-seeded Anisimova, considered a future Grand Slam champion, beat unseeded Astra Sharma of Australia 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on clay in the Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota.
   Sharma, a 23-year-old former Vanderbilt star, led by a service break at 3-2 in the second set. However, Anisimova broke right back with the help of three double faults.
   "I think this was a pretty big goal because I overcame so many challenges this week," Anisimova, who reached her first WTA singles final last year in Hiroshima (losing to Hsieh Su-wei), told "I'm really happy and proud of myself for how I got through them, and winning my first WTA title means so much."
   Four of Anisimova's five matches, including her last three, went to three sets in Bogota's altitude of 8,660 feet (2,640 meters).
   Anisimova soared 22 places to a career-high No. 54. She is the youngest player in the top 100, exactly three months younger than Iga Swiatek. The 17-year-old Pole jumped to No. 88 after losing to Polona Hercog of Slovenia in the Lugano final on Sunday.
   Sharma, who played No. 1 singles and doubles on the Vanderbilt team that lost to Stanford 4-3 in last year's NCAA final, catapulted 36 spots to No. 102 after her first WTA final.
   Sharma did win a title Sunday, though, as she and compatriot Zoe Hives teamed for their first WTA crown.
   College -- William Genesen defeated Jack Molloy 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Court 2 to give No. 12 Stanford (14-5, 3-3 Pacific-12 Conference) a 4-3 victory over No. 41 Cal (11-10, 3-3) on Saturday in Berkeley.
   The Cardinal played without its star, 13th-ranked Axel Geller, for the second consecutive match. Stanford did not disclose the reason.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Stanford grad Ahn falls to 17-year-old in Bogota

   Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, a 17-year-old wild card playing in her home country, defeated lucky loser Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 tonight in the second round of the Claro Open Colsanitas on clay in Bogota, Colombia.
   Osorio Serrano, ranked No. 438, overcame eight double faults in the 2-hour, 24-minute match played at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters).
   Ahn, ranked No. 205, saved two match points in a victory over top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 French Open champion, on Tuesday.

Stanford grad Ahn stuns top seed Ostapenko in Bogota

Kristie Ahn, playing in the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.)
Challenger last October, saved two match points in her
2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-5 win over Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Kristie Ahn, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate, scored the biggest victory of her career on Tuesday.
   The lucky loser from Upper Saddle River, N.J., saved two match points in a 2-6 7-6 (5), 7-5 victory over top-seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the first round of the Claro Open Colsanitas on clay in Bogota, Colombia.
   Ahn, ranked No. 205, trailed 3-0 and 4-2 in the second set of her first WTA main-draw match of the year.
   Ostapenko finished with 26 winners to Ahn's 11 but committed 56 unforced errors and 16 double faults. Ostapenko, who won the 2017 French Open two days after turning 20, has tumbled from a career-high No. 5 in March last year to No. 29.
   "It was a really tense match," the 5-foot-5 (1.68-meter) Ahn told reporters after the 2-hour, 31-minute battle at 8,660 feet (2,640 meters). "Obviously, playing in altitude is really difficult for both of us, but I was just really happy to come out with the win and fight for every point."
   Ahn is scheduled to face 17-year-old wild card Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia today. Osorio Serrano defeated Conny Perrin of Switzerland 6-4, 6-4 on Monday for her first WTA main-draw in.
   "Obviously, she's an incredible competitor," Ahn said. "The Colombian girls play so well here, they know the courts better than anyone, and having the home crowd behind her ... I think it will be a fun match."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Sanchez wins WTA doubles title; Gibbs, Ma fall in finals

Modesto product Maria Sanchez, playing singles in Berkeley
last July, won the Monterrey doubles title with Asia Muhammad
on Sunday. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Maria Sanchez, a 29-year-old Modesto product, won her fourth WTA doubles title and second in a row on Sunday.
   The third-seeded team of Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas and Sanchez beat unseeded Australians Monique Adamczak and Jessica Moore 7-6 (2), 6-4 to win the Abierto GNP Seguros in Monterrey, Mexico. Muhammad, 28, and Sanchez did not lose a set in their four matches.
   Sanchez, who also won a $115,000 tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, with Fanny Stollar of Hungary last month, rose 16 places to a career-high No. 53 in doubles.
   When Sanchez was 10, she lived in Guadalajara for a year with her family.
   ITF World Tennis Tour -- Fifth-seeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic crushed top-seeded former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs 6-0, 6-1 in the final of the $80,000 Innisbrook Open on clay in Palm Harbor, Fla. Gibbs, 26, improved 11 spots to No. 113.
   USTA International Spring Championships -- Top-seeded Hurricane Tyra Black, 18, of Boca Raton, Fla., outlasted Connie Ma, a 15-year-old wild card from Dublin in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 for the girls 18 title in Carson, Calif.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bryans, Easter Bowl, NorCal HOF, coach award, colleges

Bob Bryan, serving, and Mike Bryan play in the 2016
U.S. Open. The ex-Stanford stars won their sixth Miami
Open title on Saturday. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Bryan brothers and Vivian Ovrootsky won big titles on Saturday.
   Third seeds and ex-Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan beat unseeded Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 7-5, 7-6 (6) for their sixth Miami Open crown and second in a row.
   The 40-year-old Bryan twins saved four set points in the second-set tiebreaker. They also survived four match points in their 7-6 (7), 6-7 (8) [14-12] semifinal victory over top-seeded Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Marcelo Melo of Brazil.
   The Bryans collected their 118th tour-level title and second since Bob returned to action in January after missing eight months. He underwent hip replacement surgery last August.
   "A doctor was cutting me open eight months ago, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it back on court," said Bob, who lives in the Miami suburb of Sunny Isles Beach. "To win this title is a dream and certainly wasn't possible eight months ago. This huge for us."
   Ovrootsky, a 14-year-old San Jose resident, downed DJ Bennett of Belleview, Fla., 6-3, 6-4 for the Easter Bowl girls 16 title in Indian Wells. Ovrootsky was seeded ninth and Bennett 10th.
   "I didn't play my best tennis today, and DJ played unbelievable tennis today, and her forehand was really on," Ovrootsky, who also received the USTA Sportsmanship Award in her age group, told publicist Steve Pratt. "I just had to get through the match and stay offensive."
   Ovrootsky, who won an ITF Level 4 tournament in Irvine last week, extended her winning streak to 12 matches.
   "It was tiring, but I think I recovered well, which is why I was able to move the way I did today," said Ovrootsky, who has won three USTA gold balls and two silver balls.
   Ovrootsky takes online classes and trains under Nick Fustar at the Eagle Fustar Tennis Academy.
   Two other San Francisco Bay Area residents, Ria Bhakta of Saratoga and Natasha Rajaram of Los Altos, lost in finals on Thursday.
   Third-seeded Tsehay Driscoll of Pacific Palisades in the Los Angeles area topped the second-seeded Bhakta 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 for the girls 14 singles title.
   Unseeded Daniela Borruel of Buena Park in the L.A. region, and Rebecca Kong of San Diego dominated second-seeded Thea Latak, from the Chicago suburb of Burr Ridge, Ill., and Rajaram 6-3, 6-1 for the girls 12 doubles crown.
   NorCal Hall of Fame -- The USTA Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame will enshrine prominent coach Brad Stine and four others at a luncheon on Friday, June 21, at the Peninsula Golf & Country Club in San Mateo. The event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  Stine has coached Jim Courier, Kevin Anderson, Mardy Fish, Andrei Medvedev and other pros. Also inducted will be:
   --Elly Hakami, who reached No. 32 in the world in singles in 1988 and No. 68 in doubles in 1987.
   --Jeff Greenwald, a sports psychologist, author and top 40-and-over player.
   --Administrators Linda Peltz and Mike Skinner.
   Developmental Coach of Year -- Joseph Gilbert, the owner and director of the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills Athletic & Social Club in Sacramento, became the first two-time winner of the Team USA Developmental Coach of the Year award.
   Gilbert coaches:
   --Collin Altamirano and Jenson Brooksby, the 2013 and 2018 USTA boys 18 national champions, respectively.
   --Ishaan Ravichander and Mason Nguyen, the boys 18 and 12 winners, respectively, in the USTA National Winter Championships in January.
   --Zachery Lim, who won the boys 16 title in the International Spring Championships in Carson last April.
   Colleges -- Caroline Lampl edged Rianna Valdes 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) to give the No. 7 Stanford women (14-1, 5-0 Pac-12) a 4-3 victory over No. 16 USC (13-3, 3-1) in Los Angeles.
   Emily Arbuthnott, one of the Cardinal's top players, missed the match for an undisclosed reason.
   No. 11 UCLA (12-4, 4-1) routed No. 15 Cal (9-5, 3-2) 6-1 in Los Angeles.
   The No. 12 USC men (13-6, 3-0) outplayed No. 10 and host Stanford (12-4, 2-2) 4-1. No. 19 UCLA (10-4, 3-0) beat No. 40 Cal (9-9, 2-2) 4-2 in Berkeley.
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