Tuesday, August 26, 2014

U.S. Open Day 2 highlights: Bellis, 15, stuns 12th seed

CiCi Bellis earned a wild card in the U.S. Open by winning
the USTA Girls 18 National Championships in San Diego
three weeks ago. Photo courtesy of JFS Communications
   Match and upset of the day -- Catherine (CiCi) Bellis, a 15-year-old wild card from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, shocked 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round.
   Bellis, the second-ranked junior in the world, overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third set to become the youngest player to win a main-draw match in the U.S. Open since Anna Kournikova, also 15, in 1996.
   Cibulkova, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Li Na in the Australian Open in January and won last year's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Atherton is adjacent to Stanford, and Bellis grew up attending the tournament.
   Cibulkova, however, has won one match in four tournaments since Wimbledon, including a first-round loss to Garbine Muguruza at Stanford. Cibulkova's victory was over 17-year-old wild card Francoise Abanda in Montreal three weeks ago.
   Bellis will face Zarina Diyas, a 20-year-old Kazakh who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon this year. She is ranked 48th.
   Here's a link to my 2012 profile of Bellis: http://norcaltennisczar.blogspot.com/2012/06/little-bellis-gets-big-results.html
   Notable -- Marina Erakovic, a veteran from New Zealand, upset 20th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3). Kuznetsova, 29, won the U.S. Open 10 years ago for her first Grand Slam title. She also captured the French Open in 2009.
   Borna Coric, a 17-year-old qualifier from Croatia, ousted 29th-seeded Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1, 6-2. Rosol, 29, won his second career ATP title last week in Winston-Salem and stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon in 2012.
   U.S. report -- The women went 9-4 in singles and the men 3-5. Those figures include two all-American encounters. With the women's first round complete, 12 U.S. players remain. With some of the men's opening round still to be played, only five Americans are left.
   Northern California connection -- Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native and former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis, subdued Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey could meet top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the third round.
   Dmitry Tursunov, a Russian veteran based in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, lost to Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Tursunov, 31, had been sidelined since Wimbledon with a left ankle injury.
   Former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, 21, outlasted 41st-ranked Caroline Garcia of France 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 for her first Grand Slam main-draw victory. 
   Fast fact -- Roger Federer and Serena Williams each have captured 17 Grand Slam singles titles, including five in the U.S. Open. They headlined the night session and won in straight sets.
   Quote -- Bellis on her victory: “Believing was the number one thing that I had to do today. Just go out there and believe that you can win. If you do believe, there's two options. You can either believe and lose or believe and win, but if you don't believe you're going to lose anyway.”

U.S. Open Day 1 highlights: Venus wins match for ages

Venus Williams, 34, shown in last month's Bank of the
West Classic at Stanford, beat 43-year-old Kimiko
Date-Krumm in the first round of the U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Match of the day --No. 19 seed Venus Williams, 34, defeated 43-year-old Kimiko-Date Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Arthur Ashe Stadium. The combined age of 77 is believed to be a women's Grand Slam record.
   Biggest upset -- Nick Kyrgios is at it again. The 19-year-old Australian, who upended top-ranked Rafael Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals last month, ousted No. 21 seed Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (1). Kyrgios (pronounced KEER-ee-ose) incurred three code violations, one short of being defaulted. Youzhny, 32, reached the U.S. Open semifinals in 2006 and 2010 and quarterfinals last year.  
   Notable -- Andy Murray, the eighth seed and 2012 champion, overcame head-to-toe cramps to beat Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-3, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-5. Haase also cramped, but less severely. ... Past U.S. Open champions Novak Djokovic, seeded first, and Maria Sharapova, seeded fifth, won in straight sets.
   U.S. report -- The women went 3-1 and the men 0-2. Advancing were Williams, No. 21 Sloane Stephens and wild card Madison Brengle. Losing were wild card Danielle Collins, Donald Young and Bradley Klahn.
   Northern California connection -- Klahn, a 24-year-old Stanford graduate coming back from a foot injury, fell to Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5.
   Fast fact -- Sharapova won the final 10 games in her 6-4, 6-0 victory over Maria Kirilenko in a matchup of 27-year-old Russians and close friends.
   Quote -- The volatile Kyrgios, on the vocal support he received during his match: "I was really, really happy with that. It was awesome. I'm going to get scorched in Melbourne for saying it, but this is my favorite Grand Slam. Suits my personality a bit."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Players to watch in the U.S. Open

   The U.S. Open is scheduled for today through Sept. 8 (seedings in parentheses):
      Novak Djokovic (1)
   Why he'll win -- Djokovic won Wimbledon last month, and he has reached the last four U.S. Open finals, triumphing in 2011.
   Why he won't -- The Serb got married after Wimbledon and lost in the third round of his two U.S. Open tuneup tournaments. He admitted he was "flat."
   NorCal connection -- None.
Roger Federer is interviewed by Mark Knowles of Tennis Channel
at Indian Wells in March. Photo by Paul Bauman
Roger Federer (2)
   Why he'll win -- Federer won the U.S. Open five straight times (2004-08) and has had a good summer, winning the Cincinnati title and reaching the final at Toronto.
   Why he won't -- The Swiss hasn't won a Grand Slam crown in more than two years (2012 Wimbledon). At 33, he eventually will wilt in the best-of-five-set format on unforgiving hardcourts in possible high heat and humidity.
   NorCal connection -- None.
Stan Wawrinka (3)
   Why he'll win -- Wawrinka won the Australian Open, also on a hardcourt, in January for his first Grand Slam title.
   Why he won't -- The Swiss has been unimpressive this summer, losing to Kevin Anderson in the third round at Toronto and Julien Benneteau in the quarterfinals at Cincinnati.
   NorCal connection -- None.
  Andy Murray (8)
   Why he'll win -- Murray won the U.S. Open two years ago and last year became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.
   Why he won't -- He underwent back surgery last September and hasn't reached a final since capturing Wimbledon
   NorCal connection -- Murray won the SAP Open in San Jose in 2006 at 18 years old and repeated in 2007. He also won the Aptos Challenger in 2005.
   David Ferrer (4) -- The 5-foot-9 (1.75-meter) Spaniard reached the U.S. Open semifinals in 2007 and 2012, but he's 32.
   Milos Raonic (5) -- The 23-year-old Canadian, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) with a devastating serve, reached his first Grand Slam semifinal last month at Wimbledon.
   Tomas Berdych (6) -- The Czech advanced to the Wimbledon final in 2010 and the U.S. Open semifinals in 2012, but he has struggled this summer.
   Grigor Dimitrov (7) -- Like Raonic, the 23-year-old Bulgarian advanced to his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon. However, he is 0-3 in the main draw at the U.S. Open.
   Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (9) -- The French veteran knocked off Federer to win the Toronto title this month. 
   John Isner (13) -- The United States' top hope defaulted his Winston-Salem quarterfinal on Thursday with a sprained ankle. Isner, 6-foot-10 (2.08 meters), could face Djokovic in the fourth round. 
   Marin Cilic (14) -- A two-time U.S. Open quarterfinalist, the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Croat led Djokovic two sets to one in the Wimbledon quarters last month before falling.
   It's all lining up for Federer. Rafael Nadal, last year's champion, is out with a right wrist injury. Djokovic might not be focused enough after getting married. And this is not Murray's year.
Serena Williams won her third Bank of the West title last month
at Stanford. Tri Nguyen/TriNguyenPhotography.com
Serena Williams (1)
   Why she'll win -- Williams is the two-time defending champion, and she has won two of her three tournaments since Wimbledon. Her loss to older sister Venus in the Montreal semifinals was a fluke.
   Why she won't -- The 17-time Grand Slam singles champion has failed to reach the quarterfinals in a major this year. 
   NorCal connection -- Williams won her third Bank of the West title last month at Stanford.
  Simona Halep (2)
   Why she'll win -- The 22-year-old Romanian reached her first Grand Slam final in this year's  French Open and followed up with a semifinal appearance at Wimbledon.
   Why she won't -- Halep has never advanced past the fourth round at the U.S. Open in four attempts.
   NorCal connection -- She lost to Sabine Lisicki in the first round of the 2011 Bank of the West Classic in her only appearance at Stanford.
Petra Kvitova (3)
   Why she'll win -- Kvitova won her second Wimbledon championship last month and captured the New Haven title last week.
   Why she won't -- The Czech has never been past the fourth round at the U.S. Open in six tries.
   NorCal connection -- None.
  Maria Sharapova (5)
   Why she'll win -- Sharapova has won five Grand Slam singles titles, including the 2006 U.S. Open.
   Why she won't -- She has slumped since capturing her second French Open title in early June.
   NorCal connection -- Sharapova was the runner-up to Victoria Azarenka in the 2010 Bank of the West Classic.
   Agnieszka Radwanska (4) -- The Polish veteran reached the Wimbledon final in 2012 and won the Montreal title this month.
   Angelique Kerber (6) -- A 2012 U.S. Open semifinalist, she fell to Williams in the Bank of the West final last month.    
   Eugenie Bouchard (7) -- The 20-year-old Canadian is the only woman to reach the semifinals or better in all three majors this year.
   Ana Ivanovic (8) -- The former world No. 1 advanced to the Cincinnati final recently, losing to Williams.
   Venus Williams (19) -- A two-time U.S. Open champion (2000 and 2001), she beat Serena to reach the Montreal final. 
   Sloane Stephens (21) -- A first-round loss at Wimbledon ended the 21-year-old American's streak of six appearances in the second week at majors.
   Madison Keys (27) -- The 19-year-old American won her first WTA title in June at Eastbourne on grass. 
   Serena Williams will salvage her year and tie Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for fourth place in career Grand Slam singles titles (second in the Open era to Steffi Graf with 22).

U.S. Open TV schedule

(All times in California; all coverage live)
   First round, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   First round, ESPN, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
   First round, ESPN2, 3-8 p.m. 
   First round, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   First round, ESPN, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 
   First round (men), second round (women), Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   First round (men), second round (women), ESPN, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
   First round (men), second round (women), ESPN2, 3-8 p.m.
   Second round, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   Second round, ESPN, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Second round, ESPN2, 3-8 p.m. 
   Second round (men), third round (women), Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   Second round (men), third round (women), ESPN, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Second round (men), third round (women), ESPN2, 3-8 p.m.
   Third round, CBS, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Third round, CBS Sports Network, 8-9 a.m.
   Third round, CBS Sports Network, 12:30-3 p.m.         
   Third round, Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m.
   Third round (men), fourth round (women), CBS and CBS Sports Network, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Third round (men), fourth round (women), Tennis Channel, 4-8 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 1
   Fourth round, CBS and CBS Sports Network, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Fourth round, ESPN2, 4-8 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 2
   Fourth round (men), quarterfinals (women), ESPN, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
   Fourth round (men), doubles, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 3
   Doubles, juniors, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   Quarterfinals, ESPN, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Quarterfinals, ESPN2, 3-8 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 4
   Doubles, juniors, Tennis Channel, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
   Men's quarterfinals, doubles, ESPN, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
   Doubles exhibition, Tennis Channel, 4-5 p.m. 
   Men's quarterfinals, ESPN, 5-8 p.m. 
Friday, Sept. 5
   Women's semifinals, mixed doubles final, CBS, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6
   Men's semifinals, women's doubles final, CBS, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 7 
   Men's doubles final, ESPN2, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
   Women's final, CBS, 1:30-4 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 8
   Men's final, CBS, 2-5 p.m.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Neighborly advice: Keep an eye on Roseville trio

Roger Federer posed with Sam Riffice, far left, three years
ago at the La Quinta resort in the Palm Springs area. Riffice,
12 at the time, is now 6 feet tall. Also shown are Riffice's
coach, Amine Khaldi, second from left, and Khaldi's friend
Steve Mohibi. Photo courtesy of Amine Khaldi.
   Sam Riffice grew up in the same Sacramento-area development as brothers Keenan and Aidan Mayo.
   Now the focus is on the tennis development of the promising juniors, splintering both Roseville families.
   Riffice (pronounced RIFF-iss), ranked No. 6 nationally in the 16-and-unders, has been based at the USTA Training Center Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla, for almost two years.
   The 15-year-old, who has hit with young American pros Denis Kudla and Ryan Harrison at the center, received a wild card into U.S. Open boys qualifying next week in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Keenan Mayo, ranked No. 1 in the 14s, and Aidan, No. 4 in the 12s, are situated at the USTA Training Center West in Carson.   
   Keenan, 14, has been compared to world No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Aidan, 11, has dazzled U.S. pros Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish in Carson with his quickness, clean strokes and pro-like comportment.
   "Keenan has great natural power," observed Vahe Assadourian, the Mayos' coach at the USTA center and previously at the Gorin Tennis Academy in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay. "Aidan is just a great athlete. He's talented in more ways than probably I've ever seen. He's capable of things most pros on the tour can't do now -- the way he positions himself on the court and transitions from offense to defense and into the net. He has every shot. He volleys great, can hit topspin and slice and has great movement. He's built to be a professional athlete in multiple sports.
   "Johnson, Querrey, Fish and other male and female pros ranked 60 to 200 see him hit, and they're amazed. They start asking questions about him, and they don't do that with any other player."
   Amine Khaldi, one of Riffice's coaches, cited "mental (toughness) and love of the game" as his pupil's greatest strengths.
   "He takes that extra step, working harder than anybody," said Khaldi, a teaching pro at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento region. "That's his mentality. He really pushes the envelope. He wakes up early for conditioning and does what it takes to get better. He doesn't just work on his strengths; he works on his weaknesses so he can close the gap.
   "He also watches tennis (on television); you don't see kids doing that. He spends long hours watching the top pros."
   Riffice's mother, Lori, recently quit her job as a teaching pro at the Johnson Ranch Racquet Club in Roseville after 23 years and moved to Boca Raton. Sam's father, Eric, remains in Roseville. An air traffic controller, he's a year and a half from retirement. Sam's two siblings, older brothers who do not play tennis, are in college. 
   The Mayos moved to Southern California with their father, Jim, four months ago. The boys' mother, Brigitte, stayed in Roseville. Both parents are attorneys, and they have no other children.
Keenan, right, and Aidan Mayo display their
medals at the USTA National Selection Tour-
nament in Austin, Texas, in February. Aidan
won the boys 12 singles, and Keenan was the
runner-up in boys 14 singles. Photo courtesy
of Jim Mayo.
   Sam Riffice and Keenan Mayo have far more in common than growing up a few houses apart and training at the USTA centers. The parallels, in fact, are eerie:
   -- Both are already 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall with classic American games featuring big serves and forehands.
   -- In last month's USTA National Clay Court Championships, Mayo won the boys 14 singles title in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., while Riffice took the boys 16 doubles crown (with Vasil Kirkov) in Delray Beach, Fla.
   -- Riffice reached the round of 16 in the prestigious Les Petits As (The Small Champions), for players 12 to 14, in Tarbes, France, last year. Mayo advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament this year. Past champions include Rafael Nadal, Michael Chang, Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters and Lindsay Davenport.
   Riffice and Mayo shouldn't feel too bad about not winning the title. Neither did Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic when they played in Tarbes.
   -- Riffice was one of three boys on the U.S. team in last year's ITF World Junior Finals, for players 14 and under, on clay in the Czech Republic. Mayo played on this year's team. The United States finished second among 16 teams last year and seventh this year as Mayo went 2-0 in singles and 3-2 in doubles.
   -- Like Lori Riffice, Brigitte Mayo has the tennis background in the family. She played Northern California junior tournaments while growing up in San Jose before focusing on academics at UCLA.
   Jim Mayo, who's 6-foot-7 1/2, comes from a basketball family. He played on the junior varsity at Colgate, near Syracuse, N.Y., and his 6-foot-4 sister Suzanne played with Rebecca Lobo for powerhouse Connecticut in the early 1990s. 
   The similarities between Riffice and Keenan Mayo provide an irresistible angle for the media, irking Keenan's parents.
   "We'd like to see Keenan stand on his own and not always be in Sam's shadow," Jim Mayo admitted. "Sam probably doesn't want to be linked to Keenan all the time, either. It almost detracts from their individual achievements."
The Mayos pose in Pensacola, Fla., in March after the
USTA National Spring Team Championships in Mo-
bile, Ala. Keenan won a silver ball for second place.
Photo courtesy of Jim Mayo
   But even Jim Mayo admits "it's almost a carbon copy" and that he and Brigitte "have used Sam's success as a template for Keenan and Aidan in terms of the way he's navigating through the tennis world."
   Added Keenan Mayo: "I know what (Riffice) has done the year before when he was my age. He's a guideline."
   Riffice and Keenan Mayo met eight or nine years ago when they played on opposing basketball teams in a youth league. Predictably, they describe each other in similar terms.
   "He was the best player on his team," Riffice recalled. "They won by one or two points. He was pretty wild and energetic. He was always running around."
   Mayo remembered that Riffice was "definitely competitive, pretty hard core."
   Because Riffice has always been one age group ahead of Mayo, they have rarely faced each other in tennis tournaments.
   "I've never lost to him in a match or practice," said Riffice, a singles quarterfinalist in the USTA Boys 16 National Championships in Kalamazoo, Mich., earlier this month. "It gets pretty intense in practice. It's no different than in a match. We really want to beat each other. We're both really competitive. We don't want to lose in anything."
   Six months ago, "Sam was probably four inches taller than Keenan," Jim Mayo said. Keenan is projected to be 6-foot-4 (1.94 meters) or, like Berdych, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters).
   "I'm a little more consistent and stronger (than Mayo) right now," said Riffice, whose father is 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters). "I can handle his pace. But if he keeps growing, he's going to be a lot tougher."
   Aidan, under 5 feet (1.52 meters), is considerably smaller than Keenan was at 11.
   "Keenan is going to be bigger, but Aidan is going to be faster," Brigitte Mayo said.
   Aidan won the Little Mo Nationals three years ago in Austin, Texas. Past champions include Andy Roddick and Harrison.
    This year in the boys 12s, Aidan reached the semifinals of the USTA National Clay Courts in Winston-Salem, N.C., and the quarterfinals of the USTA Nationals in Little Rock, Ark.
   Brigitte Mayo could tell Keenan and Aidan -- whose names were chosen from among 10,000 in a book, not because of Irish heritage -- were natural athletes when they were infants.
   "Before Keenan could walk on his 10-month birthday," she recalled, "he would go into the closet and hit Ping-Pong balls in the air with a metal hanger. It was unbelievable. I have pretty good hand-eye coordination, and I could hit one out of 10 balls. He could hit nine out of 10. It was insane."
   When did Brigitte know Aidan was athletically gifted?
   "When he came out of the womb," she asserted.
Riffice and Khaldi relax after a tough workout.
Photo courtesy of Amine Khaldi
   Like Keenan, Aidan excelled in baseball, basketball and soccer before settling on tennis.
   "He was the best one (in the league) in all the sports he played," Brigitte said of her ambidextrous younger son. "He was an incredible athlete from the get-go.
   "His feet when he played soccer were as if he was dribbling the ball with his hands. His first soccer coach played in college. He said, 'I've never seen anything like this kid.' "
   Aidan attended public school through the fourth grade but now -- like Keenan and Riffice, both high school freshmen -- studies independently.
   "At regular school, you get to see your friends every day, but with homeschool, you get to focus on tennis," said Aidan, who will begin the sixth grade next month. "I like homeschool more. You don't have to sit at your desk all day listening to the teacher."
   Riffice began playing tennis at 5 on a racquetball court because at the time he lived in Graeagle, a mountain town northeast of Sacramento where it often snowed.
  "He always had good hand-eye coordination," Lori Riffice said. "You could tell early that he had good hands. He had good touch on volleys. He was a catcher in baseball."
   Sam was 11 the first time he defeated his mother in tennis.
   "It's a moment you always want as a parent and coach," Lori said. "I was pretty upset but proud."
   All three juniors hope to play professionally.
   "I want to become the best pro I can, hopefully top five," Keenan Mayo said. "Those are my dreams. I hope if I keep working hard, it will work out."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

No Americans qualify for U.S. Open

Modesto product Maria Sanchez lost in the
final round of qualifying for the U.S. Open.
2013 photo by Paul Bauman

  The U.S. Open hasn't even started, and Americans already are struggling.
   Of the 32 male and female qualifiers, none are from the United States.
   Only three Americans even reached Friday's final round of qualifying in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Take a bow, Rajeev Ram, Maria Sanchez and Melanie Oudin.
   Sanchez, a 24-year-old Modesto product, lost to 16th-seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-3, 6-2.
   Sanchez has tumbled from a career-high No. 107 last summer to No. 303. She graduated from USC in 201.
   Sasnovich, 20, will make her first appearance in the singles main draw of a Grand Slam tournament. Ranked No. 125, she will face No. 66 Anna Schmiedlova of Slovakia in the first round. The winner likely will play 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, formerly ranked No. 1.
   Schmiedlova, who will turn 20 on Sept. 13, reached the third round of this year's French Open after knocking off Venus Williams.
   The U.S. Open is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 8.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Querrey could face Djokovic early in U.S. Open

Sam Querrey could meet top seed Novak Djokovic
in the third round of the U.S. Open. 2014 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Sam Querrey has a good chance to reach the third round of the U.S. Open.
   But then the San Francisco native could face top seed Novak Djokovic. The Serbian star has reached the last four finals at Flushing Meadows, winning in 2011.
   The U.S. Open draw was held Thursday, and play is scheduled for Monday through Sept. 8.
   Querrey, a former Sacramento Capital in World TeamTennis, will meet Maximo Gonzalez of Argentina for the first time in the opening round.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey is ranked 56th after reaching a career-high No. 17 in 2011. Gonzalez, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters), is ranked 83rd.  
   The winner likely will play 28th-seeded Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain in the second round. Querrey improved to 4-0 lifetime against Garcia-Lopez with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 6-4 victory on Thursday in the quarterfinals at Winston-Salem, N.C. Their last three meetings, however, have gone to 6-4 in the third set.
   Querrey, 26, has never advanced past the fourth round of singles in a Grand Slam tournament. He got that far at the U.S. Open in 2008 and 2010 and at Wimbledon in 2010.
   Two players coming off injuries, Dmitry Tursunov and Bradley Klahn, also drew unseeded opponents in the first round.
   Tursunov, a Russian veteran based in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, will take on Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia. Klahn, who graduated from Stanford in 2012, will play Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
   On the women's side, wild card and former Stanford star Nicole Gibbs will go against Caroline Garcia of France. Catherine Bellis, a 15-year-old wild card from Atherton (near Stanford), will face 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, the runner-up to Li Na in this year's Australian Open.
   Modesto product Maria Sanchez advanced to the last round of qualifying with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 20th-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan. Sanchez, 24, will meet 16th-seeded Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus today.
   Collin Altamirano, an 18-year-old wild card from Sacramento, lost in the second round of men's qualifying to eighth-seeded Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania 2-6, 6-1, 6-1.