Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mmoh wins showdown to reach Tiburon main draw

Michael Mmoh, shown last month in the U.S. Open, will meet
fellow American Tennys Sandgren today in the first round of
the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The first meeting in what could develop into one of the world's top rivalries went to Michael Mmoh.
   The 18-year-old American beat second-seeded Denis Shapovalov, a 17-year-old Canadian, 6-4, 6-4 on Monday in the final round of qualifying for the $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   Tiburon is located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
   Mmoh, a 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) right-hander with a two-handed backhand, won the USTA boys 18 national singles title last month to earn an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open. He lost to 55th-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round at Flushing Meadows.
   Shapovalov, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander with a one-handed backhand, took the Wimbledon boys singles crown in July and stunned 19th-ranked Nick Kyrgios in the opening round at Toronto later that month.
   Mmoh will face 25-year-old countryman Tennys Sandgren, a semifinalist at last week's $50,000 Columbus (Ohio) Challenger, for the second time today after a 10 a.m. match.
   Sandgren, a former Tennessee All-American, defeated Mmoh 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of a $25,000 Futures tournament in Los Angeles in January.
   The Tiburon main draw began Monday. All four seeds in action won, but only No. 6 Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., coasted. No. 2 Bjorn Fratangelo and No. 4 Frances Tiafoe, both of Boca Raton, Fla., and No. 8 Quentin Halys of France survived in three sets.
   Kozlov, Tiafoe and Halys, a Tiburon semifinalist last year, are teenagers. Fratangelo, a quarterfinalist the past two years, is 23.
   Highlighting today's schedule, No. 3 seed and defending champion Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., will play qualifier Brydan Klein of Great Britain after a 10 a.m. match, and No. 1 seed Benjamin Becker of Germany will face Tommy Paul, yet another U.S. teenager, not before 3 p.m.
   Becker, 35, reached the Columbus final as the top seed but lost to Danish wild card Mikael Torpegaard 6-4, 1-6, 6-2. Torpegaard, a junior at Ohio State, was playing on his home court.
   The Tiburon Challenger is being streamed live. Here are the singles qualifying draw, singles main draw, doubles main draw and today's schedule.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Teen stars to meet for main-draw berth in Tiburon

Michael Mmoh serves during his first-round
loss to French veteran Jeremy Chardy in the
recent U.S. Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Years from now, San Francisco Bay Area fans might boast that they saw the first match between Michael Mmoh and Denis Shapovalov.
   Two of the top teenagers in the world, they will meet today in the final round of qualifying for the $100,000 Wells Fargo Bank Tiburon Challenger. The 10 a.m. match at the Tiburon Peninsula Club could be streamed live.
   Mmoh, an 18-year-old American, eked out a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over Erik Crepaldi of Italy on Sunday. The second-seeded Shapovalov, 17, of Canada beat Swedish wild card Andre Goransson, a senior at nearby Cal, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
   Mmoh, a 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) right-hander with a two-handed backhand, won the USTA boys 18 national singles title last month. That gave him an automatic wild card in the U.S. Open, in which he lost to French veteran Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.
   Shapovalov, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander with a one-handed backhand, took the Wimbledon boys singles crown in July. He stunned 19th-ranked Nick Kyrgios in the first round at Toronto later that month and reached the semifinals of the $75,000 Gatineau (Canada) Challenger in August.
   Shapovalov is ranked No. 248 (fifth in Canada), and Mmoh is No. 356 (31st in the United States).
   Meanwhile, Australian veteran Matt Reid knocked off top qualifying seed Alessandro Giannessi of Italy 7-6 (3), 7-5.
   In Giannessi's previous two tournaments, he reached the second round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier before losing to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in straight sets and won the $120,000 Szczecin (Poland) Challenger on clay.
   Reid took advantage of a favorable draw to gain the Tiburon semifinals in 2014 as a qualifier. He also has advanced to the last two doubles finals in the tournament with countryman Carsten Ball.
   Filip Bergevi, another Swedish wild card and Cal senior, and Stanford junior Tom Fawcett lost to seeds in qualifying.
   Main-draw play will begin today not before 11:30 a.m. Four seeds will be in action during the day: No. 2 Bjorn Fratangelo of Boca Raton, Fla., No. 4 Frances Tiafoe of Boca Raton, No. 6 Stefan Kozlov of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and No. 8 Quentin Halys of France. All except Fratangelo, 23, are teenagers.
   Halys reached the semifinals last year, and Fratangelo has advanced to the quarterfinals the last two years.
   Here are the singles qualifying draw, today's schedule, singles main draw and doubles main draw.

NorCal products Sanchez, Novikov win doubles titles

Maria Sanchez, who was born and raised in Modesto,
rose to a career-high No. 56 in doubles. 2015 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Two pros from Northern California won doubles titles on Sunday.
   Third-seeded Maria Sanchez, who was born and raised in Modesto, and Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands beat second-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium and Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-2, 6-4 in the $75,000 ColemanVision Tennis Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
   Dennis Novikov, who grew up in San Jose and lives in nearby Milpitas, and Mikelis Libietis of Latvia topped Canadians Philip Bester and Peter Polansky 7-5, 7-6 (4) in a matchup of unseeded teams in the $50,000 Columbus (Ohio) Challenger.
   Sanchez improved five spots in the world rankings to a career-high No. 56 after winning her 17th ITF (minor-league) doubles title and first with Krajicek.
   Sanchez, a 26-year-old USC graduate, has won one WTA (major-league) doubles crown. She teamed with Sharon Fichman of Canada for the Auckland crown in 2014.
   Novikov and Libietis, who won the 2014 NCAA doubles title with Tennessee teammate Hunter Reese, stopped Bester and Polansky's winning streak at seven matches. They won the title in the $50,000 Cary (N.C.) Challenger the previous week.
   Bester and Adil Shamasdin of Canada defeated Novak Djokovic and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia in the first round at Toronto on the ATP World Tour in July.
   The 22-year-old Novikov jumped 39 places to No. 177 in doubles. His career high is No. 160.
  Novikov, who won his fourth Challenger doubles title and first with Libietis, is seeded fifth in singles in this week's $100,000 Wells Fargo Bank Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

U.S. teen Mmoh advances in Tiburon qualifying

Michael Mmoh, 18, slugs a backhand during his loss
to veteran Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round
of the recent U.S. Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Michael Mmoh, who won the USTA boys 18 national title last month, dispatched Luke Bambridge of Great Britain 6-3, 6-3 on Saturday in the first round of qualifying for the $100,000 Wells Fargo Bank Tiburon Challenger at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   Mmoh, 18, is scheduled to face Erik Crepaldi of Italy today at 10 a.m. on Court 1. Crepaldi beat No. 6 seed and countryman Edoardo Eremin 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-0.
   Also advancing were Swedish wild cards Andre Goransson and Filip Bergevi of Cal, Stanford's Tom Fawcett and Connor Farren of Hillsborough in the San Francisco Bay Area. All will face seeds today.
   Goransson will take on second-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada at 10 a.m. on Center Court. Shapovalov, 17, won the Wimbledon boys singles title in July,
   Tiburon is located across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.
   Here are the singles qualifying draw, today's schedule and singles main draw.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

U.S. prospect Mmoh to make NorCal pro debut

Michael Mmoh, 18, unleashes a forehand in
a first-round loss to French veteran Jeremy
Chardy in the recent U.S. Open. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   Michael Mmoh, one of the United States' top prospects, is scheduled to make his Northern California pro debut today.
   Mmoh, who won the USTA boys 18 national title last month, will play Luke Bambridge of Great Britain at 10 a.m. in the first round of qualifying for the $100,000 Wells Fargo Bank Tiburon Challenger at the Tiburon Peninsula Club.
   "Michael is one of the most athletic people you will ever see on a tennis court," fellow U.S. prospect Reilly Opelka, a close friend of Mmoh's, told The New York Times last September. "There is nothing he can't do out there."
   By winning the USTA boys 18s in Kalamazoo, Mich., Mmoh earned an automatic berth in the main draw of the U.S. Open. He lost to 55th-ranked Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round at Flushing Meadows.
   Mmoh, the 18-year-old son of former ATP journeyman Tony Mmoh from Nigeria, also won a $25,000 Futures tournament in Bakersfield, Calif., in March.
   The top two qualifying seeds in Tiburon, 145th-ranked Alessandro Giannessi of Italy and 247th-ranked Denis Shapovalov of Canada, received first-round byes. 
   In Giannessi's last two tournaments, he reached the second round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier before losing to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in straight sets and won the $120,000 Szczecin (Poland) Challenger on clay.
   Shapovalov, 17, also had an outstanding summer. He won the Wimbledon boys singles title, stunned 19th-ranked Nick Kyrgios in the first round at Toronto before losing to former world No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov and reached the semifinals of the $75,000 Gatineau (Canada) Challenger.
   The top entries in the main draw of the Tiburon Challenger, which begins Monday, are No. 97 Benjamin Becker of Germany, No. 110 Bjorn Fratangelo of Boca Raton, Fla., and No. 112 and defending champion Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla.
   Here are the qualifying draw and today's schedule.     

Friday, September 23, 2016

Exhibition to feature three former No. 1s in doubles

Tennis Channel commentator Mark Knowles interviews Roger
Federer at Indian Wells in 2014. Knowles will return to the Sac-
ramento area, where he starred for the Capitals in World Team-
Tennis, for a doubles exhibition on Oct. 1. Photo by Paul Bauman
   These are tough times for men's professional tennis in Sacramento.
   The Capitals of World TeamTennis folded in 2014 after 28 seasons. A one-night legends tournament starring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Jim Courier lasted one year in 2014. Ditto for the WTT's California Dream in 2015. A Challenger tournament is moving to nearby Stockton next month after 11 years.
   Into the void steps a one-day exhibition featuring three former world No. 1 doubles players on Oct. 1 at the Antelope Community Tennis Center in the Sacramento area.
   Former Capitals Mark Knowles and Brian MacPhie will face Rick Leach and Jonathan Stark in a best-of-three-set match at 4 p.m. All except MacPhie reached No. 1.
   The all-day event, hosted by ex-Capitals coach Wayne Bryan, will begin with a pro-am at 10 a.m. A children's clinic will be held at noon, and top juniors will play exhibition sets at 2 p.m.
   Tickets cost $25, and pro-am spots can be purchased for $500. Sponsorship opportunities and VIP seating also are available. Proceeds benefit the Sacramento Community Tennis Association, whose mission is to help underprivileged children play the sport.
   Leach, 51, Knowles, 45, and Stark, 45, combined for 15 Grand Slam doubles titles. Leach won nine (five men's and four mixed), Knowles four (three men's and one mixed), and Stark two (one men's and one mixed).
  MacPhie, a 44-year-old left-hander originally from San Jose, peaked at No. 22 in men's doubles. He reached five Grand Slam quarterfinals in men's doubles, one with Knowles (2001 U.S. Open).
  Bryan, Knowles and MacPhie were adopted Sacramentans.
  Bryan, the father of doubles stars and identical twins Bob and Mike Bryan, coached the Capitals for 12 of his 13 WTT seasons (Idaho in 1999 and Sacramento in 2002-13). He won three Coach of the Year awards and two WTT titles.
   Knowles, affectionately known as "Knowlzee," played all 12 of his WTT seasons (2001-07 and 2009-13) with the Capitals.The Bahamas native competed on two league championship teams and won three WTT Male MVP awards.
   MacPhie played seven seasons for the Capitals (1996-2002). Known menacingly as "The Hammer," he helped the team win five WTT titles and, like Knowles, earned three league Male MVP awards.
   All four players starred at Pacific-12 Conference schools -- Stark at Stanford, Knowles at UCLA, and Leach and MacPhie at USC,
   To purchase tickets to the exhibition, go to ticketleap.com. For more information, call (916) 757-3739.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rankings, schedule, calendar

WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 7 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   John Paul Fruttero, 35-year-old former Cal All-American -- No. 378 in doubles (+2).
   Ryan Haviland, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American -- No. 721 in singles (+45).
   John Lamble, 24-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star -- No. 652 in doubles (+3), career-high No. 809 in singles (+3). 
   Scott Lipsky, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American -- No. 44 in doubles (no change).
   Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 385 in singles (+14), career-high No. 468 in doubles (+3).
   Dennis Novikov, 22-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 133 in singles (-7), No. 216 in doubles (-3).
   Sam Querrey, 28-year-old San Francisco native -- No. 29 in singles (no change), No. 73 in doubles (-1).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 33-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area -- No. 409 in singles (-5), No. 270 in doubles (+2).
Women
   Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American -- No. 214 in singles (+16), No. 481 in doubles (no change).
   Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 33-year-old San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 20 in doubles (no change).
   CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area -- Career-high No. 115 in singles (+5), No. 248 in doubles (-5).
   Alexandra Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 645 in doubles (-1). 
   Kat Facey, 23-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 645 in doubles (-1).
   Nicole Gibbs, 23-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 72 in singles (+1), career-high No. 107 in doubles (+2).
   Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 619 in doubles (-1), No. 774 in singles (-6). 
   Maegan Manasse, 21-year-old Cal junior -- No. 607 in doubles (-2), No. 960 in singles (-1).
   Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product -- No. 61 in doubles (+1), No. 295 in singles (-13).
   Sloane Stephens, 23-year-old Fresno product -- No. 27 in singles (+1), No. 872 in doubles (-6).
   Karina Vyrlan, 17-year-old Sacramentan -- No. 912 in doubles (-5).
   Carol Zhao, 21-year-old Stanford junior -- No. 304 in doubles (+1), No. 361 in singles (-1).
TV SCHEDULE 
(All times in California; all broadcasts on Tennis Channel)
Thursday  
   Metz (men), St. Petersburg (men), Tokyo (women), 1:30 a.m.
Friday
   Metz (men), St. Petersburg (men), Tokyo (women), 3 a.m.
   Metz (men), St. Petersburg (men), Tokyo (women), 8 p.m. (live).
 Saturday 
   Metz (men), St. Petersburg (men), Tokyo (women), 9 a.m.
   Metz (men), St. Petersburg (men), Tokyo (women), Guangzhao, 8 p.m. (live).  
CALENDAR 
   Monday-Oct.2 -- $100,000 Wells Fargo Tiburon Challenger (men), Tiburon Peninsula Club, Tiburon, Calif. Qualifying begins Saturday. Champions in 2015: Tim Smyczek, Johan Brunstrom/Frederik Nielsen. 
   Oct. 1 -- Exhibition (Mark Knowles, Brian MacPhie, Rick Leach, Jonathan Stark, host Wayne Bryan), 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Antelope Community Tennis Center in Sacramento area. Pro-am 10 a.m.-noon, kids clinic noon-1 p.m., junior exhibition 2-3 p.m., pro players 4-6 p.m. ticketleap.com (search for SCTA Big Event), (916) 757-3739. 
   Oct. 3-9 -- $100,000 Stockton Challenger (men), Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, University of the Pacific. Qualifying begins Oct. 1. Champions in 2015 (Sacramento): Taylor Fritz, Blaz Kavcic/Grega Zemlja.
   Oct. 3-9 -- $25,000 Redding Challenger (women), Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness. Qualifying begins Oct. 1. Champions in 2015: Heidi El Tabakh, Ashley Weinhold-Caitlin Whoriskey. 
   Oct. 10-16 -- $50,000 Fairfield Challenger (men), Solano College, Fairfield, Calif. Qualifying begins Oct. 8. Champions in 2015: Taylor Fritz, Johan Brunstrom/Frederik Nielsen.
   Oct. 23-30 -- WTA Finals, Singapore. 2015 champions: Agnieszka Radwanska, Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza.
   Nov. 12-13 -- Fed Cup final, Czech Republic at France.
   Nov. 13-20 -- ATP World Tour Finals, London. 2015 champions: Novak Djokovic, Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau.
   Nov. 25-27 -- Davis Cup final, Argentina at Croatia.