Sunday, September 24, 2017

U.S. prospects Mmoh, Rubin to meet in Tiburon

   Two of the United States' top men's prospects will meet on Monday in the first round of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.
   Fourth-seeded Michael Mmoh, 19, will face Noah Rubin, 21, for the second time not before 3 p.m. at the Tiburon Peninsula Club in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Rubin won 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of last year's $100,000 Stockton Challenger as Mmoh aggravated an abdominal strain at 2-2 in the first set. Rubin, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) and 150 pounds (68 kilograms), went on to lose to U.S. phenom Frances Tiafoe in the final.
   Mmoh, the 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) son of former journeyman pro Tony Mmoh, was the runner-up to Darian King at Tiburon last year as a qualifier.
   Rubin reached the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier in January, losing to eventual champion Roger Federer 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (3). As a junior, Rubin played at the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York and won the 2014 Wimbledon boys title.
   Mmoh is ranked No. 142 to Rubin's No. 195.
   Also on Monday, 2010 Tiburon champion Tobias Kamke of Germany will play Christian Garin of Chile. 
   In today's second round of qualifying, top seed and 2015 champion Tim Smyczek beat Greg Jones of Australia 6-4, 6-1.
   Smyczek will play fellow American Sekou Bangoura, who defeated former Cal star Andre Goransson of Sweden 6-2, 6-4, for a berth in the main draw.
   Here are the singles qualifying draw, the singles and doubles main draws, and Monday's schedule.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Top seed Bemelmans to face Stanford star in Tiburon

   Top-seeded Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium will face wild card Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior from Winnetka, Ill., on Monday or Tuesday in the first round of the Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.
   The singles draw for the $100,000 tournament at the Tiburon Peninsula Club, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, was held today.
   Bemelmans, a 29-year-old left-hander, reached the third round of Wimbledon as a qualifier in July. He is ranked No. 92 in the world. Fawcett, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters), is No. 8 in the college preseason rankings.
   Second-seeded Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., will meet Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sandgren, who lost in the first round of the French Open and U.S. Open this year in his first two Grand Slam main-draw appearances, is ranked No. 100.
   Sixth seed and defending champion Darian King of Barbados will play Mackenzie McDonald, who grew up in Piedmont in the Bay Area.
   Fourth-seeded Michael Mmoh, last year's runner-up, will take on Noah Rubin, the 2014 Wimbledon boys champion, in a matchup of top American prospects.
   In the first round of qualifying today, top seed and 2015 champion Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., beat Christopher O'Connell of Australia 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.
   Smyczek, 29, will face another Australian, Greg Jones, on Sunday after a 10 a.m. match on Center Court.
   Andre Goransson of Sweden defeated Bernardo Saraiva of Portugal 6-4, 6-3 in a matchup of former Cal and USF standouts, respectively.
   Falling were wild cards Florian Lakat of France, John Lamble of Saratoga in the Bay Area and Stevie Gould of nearby Corte Madera. Lakat played with Goransson at Cal, and Lamble starred at Santa Clara. Gould is ranked No. 1 in the Northern California 18s.
   Here are the singles main draw, singles qualifying draw and Sunday's schedule.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Ex-champ Smyczek seeded first in Tiburon qualies

   Two years is an eternity in pro tennis.
   Just ask Tim Smyczek.
   The American veteran, who won the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger in 2015, is seeded first in qualifying for this year's tournament.
   Smyczek (pronounced SMEE-check), a 29-year-old Milwaukee native now based in Tampa, Fla., is scheduled to play Christopher O'Connell, a 23-year-old Australian, on Saturday not before 1 p.m. at the Tiburon Peninsula Club. Play begins at 10 a.m.
   The 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) Smyczek is ranked No. 189 after reaching a career-high No. 68 in April 2015. O'Connell is No. 311.
   Smyczek, a consummate pro, is best known for his sportsmanlike gesture in a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the second round of the 2015 Australian Open. With Nadal, suffering from stomach cramps and dizziness, serving for the match at 6-5, 30-0 in the fifth set, Smyczek allowed the Spaniard another first serve after a fan yelled during his toss to cause a fault.
   The Tiburon qualifying draw also features former San Francisco Bay Area college stars Andre Goransson and Florian Lakat (both Cal), Bernardo Saraiva (USF) and John Lamble (Santa Clara), as well as Stevie Gould, ranked No. 1 in the Northern California 18s, of nearby Corte Madera.
   The main draw begins Monday.
   Here are the singles qualifying draw and Saturday's schedule.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tursunov, 34, will continue playing 'for now'

   Dmitry Tursunov isn't ready to retire.
   "I'll try to play for now," the 34-year-old Russian, who owns a townhouse in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom, texted recently.
   Tursunov has been unable to complete his last two matches, in the first round of the U.S. Open and the second round of qualifying for the $50,000 Atlantic Tire Championships in Cary, N.C., because of injuries. He returned to competition in July at Wimbledon after missing almost one year for the same reason.
   In fact, the 582nd-ranked Tursunov has been hampered by leg injuries for most of his career. During a rare period of good health, he climbed to a career-high No. 20 in 2006.
   Tursunov has won two singles matches in seven tournaments this year, and one of the victories was by walkover. He moved from his native Moscow to the San Francisco Bay Area at 12 to train and to the Sacramento area at 18.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Anderson upsets another seed for Redding title

   Nobody can say Robin Anderson backed into the singles title of the $25,000 Ascension Project Women's Challenger.
   The unseeded Anderson, a 24-year-old former UCLA star from Matawan, N.J., upset four seeds to earn the second and biggest crown of her career.
   In today's final, the 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) Anderson defeated No. 6 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa 6-1, 6-4. Anderson also knocked off No. 2 Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway in the first round, No. 5 Karman Kaur Thandi of India in the quarterfinals and No. 4 Jovana Jaksic, a Serbian living in Sacramento, in the semifinals.
   While Anderson had a tough road to the final, Simmonds' hardly could have been easier. After two straight-set victories, she received a walkover in the quarterfinals and a retirement at 4-1 in the semifinals.
   Anderson, the 2013 runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela as a UCLA junior-to-be, pocketed $3,919 for the championship. Her other singles title came in a $10,000 hardcourt tournament in Landisville, Pa., in 2011.
   Simmonds, 25, collected $2.901. The 5-foot-5 (1.65-meter) left-hander was seeking her 17th singles crown and fourth in a $25,000 tournament. Her other titles came in smaller events.
   Both finalists will rise to about No. 302 in the Sept. 24 rankings, Anderson from No. 369 and Simmonds from No. 330. They have been ranked as high as No. 183 and No. 158, respectively.
   Unseeded players also won the doubles title as Daneika Borthwick of Great Britain and Ana Veselinovic of Montenegro beat third-seeded Harriet Dart of Great Britain and Maria Sanchez of the United States 6-3, 6-4.
   Veselinovic stunned top-seeded Sofya Zhuk, the 2015 Wimbledon girls champion at age 15, in the first round of singles en route to the quarterfinals. Sanchez, a 27-year-old Modesto product, won the 2011 Redding doubles title with since-retired Yasmin Schnack of Sacramento.
   Here are the complete singles and doubles draws.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Anderson beats Sacramento's Jaksic in Redding

   Robin Anderson will play for the singles title in Redding, Calif., again.
   The unseeded former UCLA star from Matawan, N.J., beat fourth-seeded Jovana Jaksic, a Serbian living in Sacramento, 6-4, 6-3 today in the $25,000 Ascension Project Women's Challenger at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness.
   The 24-year-old Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), had eight aces and no double faults as she upset a seed for the third time in the tournament. She knocked off No. 2 Ulrikke Eikeri of Norway in the first round and No. 5 Karman Kaur Thandi of India in the quarterfinals.
   Anderson, the 2013 runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela, will try to make it four seeds when she meets No. 6 Chanel Simmonds of South Africa on Sunday after the 1 p.m. doubles final.
   Simmonds, a 25-year-old left-hander, has played only 19 minutes total in the last two rounds. She led 4-1 today when eighth-seeded Katie Swan of Great Britain retired with an upper-leg injury. Qualifier Urszula Radwanska, the younger sister of 11th-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, withdrew from her quarterfinal against Simmonds with foot blisters.
   Simmonds, 5-foot-5 (1.65 meters), and Anderson have met once. Simmonds won 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 in the first round of qualifying for the $50,000 Lexington (Ky.) Challenger on a hardcourt in 2015.
   In Sunday's doubles final, third-seeded Harriet Dart of Great Britain and Maria Sanchez from Modesto will play unseeded Daneika Borthwick of Great Britain and Ana Veselinovic of Montenegro. Sanchez won the 2011 doubles title with since-retired Yasmin Schnack of Sacramento.
   Admission to the tournament is free. Here are the singles and doubles draws and Sunday's schedule.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sacramento's Jaksic reaches semis in 25K Redding

   Fourth-seeded Jovana Jaksic, a Serbian living in Sacramento, subdued unseeded American Caitlin Whoriskey 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 in 2 hours, 40 minutes today in the quarterfinals of the $25,000 Ascension Project Women's Challenger in Redding, Calif.
   Sacramento is a 2 1/2-hour drive south of Redding.
   Jaksic, 23, will face unseeded Robin Anderson, a 5-foot-3 (1.61-meter) American, for the first time in Saturday's second semifinal at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness.
   Anderson, the 2013 singles runner-up and doubles champion (with Lauren Embree), outlasted fifth-seeded Karman Kaur Thandi of India 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-3 in 2 hours, 51 minutes.
   In the first semifinal at 4 p.m., No. 6 seed Chanel Simmonds of South Africa will meet No. 8 Katie Swan of Great Britain for the first time.
   Simmonds, a 25-year-old left-hander, advanced when qualifier Urszula Radwanska, a former top-30 player, withdrew with foot blisters. Radwanska, the younger sister of 11th-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska, needed 3 hours, 28 minutes to beat third-seeded Harriet Dart of Great Britain 7-6 (2), 1-6, 7-6 (5) on Thursday.
   Swan, 18, dispatched Ana Veselinovic of Montenegro 6-3, 6-3. Veselinovic, a 29-year-old left-hander, ousted top-seeded Sofya Zhuk, the 2015 Wimbledon junior girls champion at age 15, in the opening round.
   Maria Sanchez, a 27-year-old Modesto product, reached the doubles final with Dart. The third seeds outclassed second-seeded Jaksic and Simmonds 6-3, 6-1. Dart and Sanchez, who won the 2011 title with since-retired Yasmin Schnack of Sacramento, will play unseeded Daneika Borthwick of Great Britain and Veselinovic on Sunday.
   Admission to the tournament is free. Here are the singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule.