Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mayos survive three-setters in Jr. Orange Bowl

   Brothers Keenan and Aidan Mayo have been on parallel paths in the Junior Orange Bowl.
   Both Mayos, from the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, lost a set for the first time in this year's tournament but reached the quarterfinals in their respective age groups in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Keenan, seeded third in the boys 14s, wore down 17th-seeded Daniel Michalski of Poland 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-1.
   Keenan, already 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), is ranked first in the United States in the 14s. He won the USTA National Clay Court Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in July.
   Aidan, seeded ninth in the boys 12s, held off unseeded Juan Zabala Vargas of Ecuador 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. Mayo is ranked third nationally in the 12s.
   Keenan will face unseeded Chen-jui Ho of Taiwan today, and Aidan will play Sweden's Ross Weibull, also seeded ninth.
   The Mayos train at the USTA center in Carson in the Los Angeles area.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mayo brothers reach round of 16 in Jr. Orange Bowl

   Keenan Mayo had it tougher than his younger brother, Aidan, on Friday.
   But both residents of Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento, reached the round of 16 in the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Keenan Mayo, seeded third in the boys 14s, turned back 17th-seeded Jake Hersey of Great Britain 7-6 (6), 7-6 (0).
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Mayo won the USTA National Clay Court Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in July. He is ranked first in the United States.
   Aidan Mayo, seeded ninth in the 12s, beat unseeded Faris Khan of San Antonio 6-1, 2-1, retired (back). They are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the United States.
   Keenan Mayo will take on 17th-seeded Daniel Michalski of Poland for a quarterfinal berth. Michalski surprised ninth-seeded Joao Silva of Brazil 6-3, 6-4.
   Aidan Mayo will face unseeded Juan Zabala Vargas of Ecuador. Zabala Vargas dismantled unseeded Tony Huang of China 6-2, 6-1.
   The Mayos train at the USTA center in Carson in the Los Angeles area.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Mayos gain round of 32 in Junior Orange Bowl

   Brothers Keenan and Aidan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area moved into today's round of 32 in their respective age divisions at the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Keenan Mayo, seeded third in the boys 14s, defeated Yousef Khamis of Irvine 7-6 (6), 6-4. Aidan Mayo, seeded ninth in the boys 12s, topped Alvaro Guillen-Meza of Ecuador 6-2, 6-4.
   Also in the boys 12s, Spencer Brachman of Commack, N.Y., ousted top-seeded Shunsuke Mitsui of Japan 6-2, 6-2.
   Keenan Mayo, ranked No. 1 in his age group in the United States, will play 17th-seeded Jake Hersey of Great Britain.
   Aidan Mayo will take on Faris Khan of San Antonio. They are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the country in the 12s.
   The Mayos train at the USTA center in Carson.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Rankings mover of the week (up): Dennis Novikov

Dennis Novikov won singles titles in $15,000 Futures
tournaments in Merida, Mexico, last week and the
previous week. 2014 file photo by Paul Bauman 
   Dennis Novikov was born in Moscow and lives in San Jose. 
   But the 21-year-old American apparently also feels at home in Mexico.
   Novikov ended his year -- finally -- with singles titles in $15,000 Futures tournaments in Merida last week and the previous week. He also reached the doubles final in the first tourney with former UCLA teammate Clay Thompson.
   Novikov, 6-foot-3 (1.90 meters) with a booming serve, jumped 38 spots to a career-high No. 331 in the world singles rankings with the first Merida crown. Ranked No. 636 at the beginning of the year, he will improve to about No. 292 on Monday with his latest title.
   Novikov won the singles and doubles titles in the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2012 to earn wild cards for both main draws in the U.S. Open. 
   Amazingly, Novikov reached the second round in each event at Flushing Meadows. He shocked  86th-ranked Jerzy Janowicz, a 6-foot-8 (2.03-meter) Pole and Wimbledon semifinalist last year, in singles and teamed with Michael Redlicki to knock off U.S. veterans Bobby Reynolds and Michael Russell in doubles.
   Novikov turned pro last year after leading UCLA to the NCAA final as a sophomore.
WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Collin Altamirano, 18-year-old Sacramentan -- No. 744 in singles (-5), No. 873 in doubles (-4).
   Bob Bryan, 36-year-old former Stanford star -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 36-year-old former Stanford star -- Career-high No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Bradley Klahn, 24-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 148 in singles (no change), No. 152 in doubles (no change).
   Scott Lipsky, 33-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 32 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mackenzie McDonald, 19-year-old Piedmont resident -- No. 637 in singles (-4), No. 588 in doubles (-1).
   Dennis Novikov, 21-year-old San Jose resident -- Career-high No. 331 in singles (+38), career-high No. 418 in doubles (+47).
   Sam Querrey, 27-year-old San Francisco native and former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis (2012-13) -- No. 35 in singles (no change), No. 64 in doubles (no change).
   Matt Seeberger, 30-year-old Los Altos resident -- No. 459 in doubles (-1).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 31-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area -- No. 110 in singles (no change), No. 178 in doubles (+1).
Women
   Kristie Ahn, 22-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 639 in singles (+6), No. 706 in doubles (no change).
   CiCi Bellis, 15-year-old resident of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 256 in singles (+3), career-high No. 822 in doubles (+3).
   Hadley Berg, 18-year-old resident of Greenbrae in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 945 in doubles (+2).
   Alexandra Facey, 21-year-old resident of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 735 in doubles (-1).
   Kat Facey, 21-year-old resident of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 735 in doubles (-1).
   Nicole Gibbs, 21-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 95 in singles (no change), No. 832 in doubles (+6). 
   Michaela Gordon, 15-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area -- Career-high No. 693 in singles (+6).
    Lejla Hodzic, 28-year-old former Stanford standout -- No. 741 in doubles (no change).
    Raquel Kops-Jones, 32-year-old San Jose resident and former Cal star -- No. 12 in doubles (no change), No. 798 in singles (+6).
   Maria Sanchez, 25-year-old Modesto product -- Career-high No. 79 in doubles (no change), No. 240 in singles (no change).
   Karina Vyrlan, 16-year-old Sacramentan -- No. 965 in singles (+3).
   Allie Will, 23-year-old native of San Mateo in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 159 in doubles (+1), No. 541 in singles (-1).
   Carol Zhao, 19-year-old Stanford sophomore -- No. 295 in singles (+3), No. 512 in doubles (+2).
TV SCHEDULE
   No tournaments scheduled. 
CALENDAR
   Through Tuesday -- Junior Orange Bowl, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles, Coral Gables, Fla. jrorangebowl.com
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2015 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 18 and 16 singles and doubles, Scottsdale, Ariz. phoenixtennis.com
   Dec. 27-Jan. 2, 2015 -- USTA National Winter Championships, boys and girls 14 and 12 singles and doubles, Tucson, Ariz. reffkintenniscenter.com
   Jan. 19-Feb. 1, 2015 (Jan. 18-31, 2015, in United States) -- AUSTRALIAN OPEN. 2014 champions: Stan Wawrinka, Li Na, Lukasz Kubot/Robert Lindstedt, Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci, Kristina Mladenovic/Daniel Nestor. ausopen.com
   Feb. 7-8, 2015 -- Fed Cup first round, United States at Argentina. fedcup.com
   Feb. 13-16, 2015 -- Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships, Chicago. itatennis.com
   March 6-8, 2015 -- Davis Cup first round, United States at Great Britain. daviscup.com
   March 9-22, 2015 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif. 2014 champions: Novak Djokovic, Flavia Pennetta, Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan, Hsieh Su-Wei/Peng Shuai. bnpparibasopen.com 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sacramento loses legends tournament

James Blake, 34, beat John McEnroe, 55, to win the Champions
Shootout in Sacramento in February. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Professional tennis in Northern California suffered another blow last week when Sacramento lost its legends tournament after one year.
   The capital was omitted from next spring's PowerShares Series schedule of one-night tournaments in 12 North American cities.
   The Champions Shootout follows the departures of the SAP Open in San Jose and Sacramento Capitals of WorldTeam Tennis.
   The SAP Open was replaced on the ATP World Tour calendar in February by Rio de Janeiro after 125 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Also in February, the Capitals announced they were moving to Las Vegas after 28 years in Sacramento. Instead, the franchise folded after owner Deepal Wannakuwatte was charged with defrauding investors in his medical supply business of more than $100 million. He was sentenced last month to 20 years in prison.
   NorCal still has the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford on the WTA tour; men's Challengers in Aptos, Napa, Sacramento and Tiburon; and women's Challengers in Gold River in the Sacramento area and Redding.
   James Blake, 34, won the Champions Shootout at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento in February, defeating 55-year-old International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe 6-3 in the final. Blake was only six months removed from playing on the ATP World Tour.
   Hall of Famers Pete Sampras and Jim Courier lost in the semifinals of the four-man tournament, which drew an announced crowd of 2,460 at the home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
   The 2015 PowerShares Series will begin March 24 in Salt Lake City and end May 2 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Set to compete are five Hall of Famers -- Sampras, McEnroe, Courier, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang -- likely future Hall of Famer Andy Roddick and former top-10 players Blake and Mark Philippoussis.

Mayo brothers win Junior Orange Bowl openers

   Brothers Keenan and Aidan Mayo of Roseville in the Sacramento area won their opening matches today at the Junior Orange Bowl in Coral Gables, Fla.
   Keenan Mayo, seeded third, received a first-round bye and overwhelmed Christopher Herrera of Guatemala 6-0, 6-1 to reach the round of 64 in the boys 14s.
   The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Mayo, ranked No. 1 in his age group in the United States, won the USTA National Clay Court Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in July.
   Aidan Mayo, one of eight players seeded ninth, outclassed Mathias Musil of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the boys 12s. Mayo is ranked third in the United States.
   The Mayos train at the USTA center in Carson.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bellis clinches year-end No. 1, wins doubles title

CiCi Bellis, 15, meets the press after stunning Australian Open runner-up Dominika
Cibulkova in the first round of the U.S. Open in August. Photo courtesy of USTA
   Despite falling short of the Orange Bowl girls 18 singles title, CiCi Bellis had a great week.
   The 15-year-old sensation from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area clinched the year-end No. 1 junior ranking on Friday and picked up the doubles title today at the prestigious clay-court tournament in Plantation, Fla.
   Bellis rose from No. 2 to No. 1 by reaching the quarterfinals after previously top-ranked Shilin Xu of China lost in the first round. The second-seeded Bellis then fell to 13th seed and eventual champion Sofia Kenin, 16, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., in the semifinals.
   In the doubles final, Bellis and Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic edged seventh-seeded Miriam Kolodziejovz of the Czech Republic and Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia 7-5, 2-6 [10-4].
   Bellis and Vondrousova reached the French Open girls final in June, a prelude to Bellis' stunning victory over 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the U.S. Open in August. Cibulkova had marched to her first Grand Slam final in January, losing to now-retired Li Na in the Australian Open.
   Here's a link to my 2012 profile of Bellis: http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com/2012/06/little-bellis-gets-big-results.html
   Another 16-year-old from Pembroke Pines in the Miami area won the boys 18 singles title. Second-seeded Stefan Kozlov topped unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 for his first Orange Bowl crown in four singles finals. He had lost in the boys 12, 14 and 18 title matches.
   Americans swept the boys and girls 18 singles crowns for the first time since Timothy Neilly and Jessica Kirkland in 2004 and won in six of the eight Orange Bowl finals. Kozlov also won the doubles crown with Michael Mmoh of Temple Hills, Md. They were seeded first.
   Showing remarkable skill and maturity in the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger in October, Kozlov advanced to the final before losing to U.S. Davis Cup veteran Sam Querrey.
   The Orange Bowl is the most prestigious non-Grand Slam junior tournament in the world.
   Past Orange Bowl champions on clay include Chris Evert (1969-70), Bjorn Borg (1972), John McEnroe (1976), Ivan Lendl (1977), Gabriela Sabatini (1984), Mary Joe Fernandez (1985), Jim Courier (1987) and Anna Kournikova (1995).
   Former winners on hard courts include Roger Federer (1998), Elena Dementieva (1998), Andy Roddick (1999), Vera Zvonareva (2000-01), Marcos Baghdatis (2003), Nicole Vaidisova (2003) and Caroline Wozniacki (2005). 
    The Junior Orange Bowl, for boys and girls 14s and 12s, is scheduled for Wednesday through Dec. 23 at various sites in the Miami area.
ORANGE BOWL
In Plantation, Fla.
Finals
   Boys 18 singles -- Stefan Kozlov (2), Pembroke Pines, Fla., def. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Greece, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   Boys 18 doubles -- Stefan Kozlov, Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Michael Mmoh (1), Temple Hills, Md., def. Yunseong Chun and Seong Chan Hong (2), South Korea, 6-4, 7-6 (5).
   Boys 16 singles -- Sam Riffice (2), Roseville, def. Mattias Siimar (10), Estonia, 6-1, 1-6, 7-5.
   Boys 16 doubles -- Basil Khuma, India, and Christian Lakoseljac, Canada, def. Kristofer Siimar and Mattias Siimar (8), Estonia, 6-3, 6-4.
   Girls 18 singles -- Sofia Kenin (13), Pembroke Pines, Fla., def. Ingrid Neel, Rochester, Min., 6-3, 6-3.
   Girls 18 doubles -- CiCi Bellis, Atherton, and Marketa Vondrousova (1), Czech Republic, def. Miriam Kolodziejova, Czech Republic, and Tereza Mihalikova (7), Slovakia, 7-5, 2-6 [10-4].
   Girls 16 singles -- Bianca Andreescu (8), Canada, def. Dominique Schaefer (11), Peru, 7-5, 6-3.
   Girls 16 doubles -- Emma Decoste, Stuart, Fla., and Kariann Pierre-Louis, Miami, def. Sofia Munera Sanchez, Colombia, and Camila Vargas Gomez (1), Peru, 6-1, 7-5.