Sunday, February 7, 2016

Roundup: Brown, Bellis, Fed Cup, Brits, Cal women

Richard Gasquet of France practices his sensational one-handed
backhand at Indian Wells in 2014. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Saturday's semifinal in Montpellier, France, was a microcosm of Dustin Brown's career.
   Up one minute, down the next.
   Richard Gasquet, the top seed and defending champion, pulled off perhaps the comeback of the year to defeat Brown 1-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Open Sud de France.
   Brown, a 31-year-old German qualifier playing in his first ATP World Tour semifinal, bolted to a 6-1, 3-0 lead in 35 minutes.
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Brown had 27 winners at that stage and finished with 17 aces.
   Last year, Brown defeated former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the second round at Wimbledon on Centre Court and lost to then-No. 419 Sekou Bangoura in straight sets in the first round of the $100,000 Tiburon (Calif.) Challenger.
   Two weeks after the Tiburon loss, Brown advanced to the final of the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger. He lost to U.S. sensation Taylor Fritz, who was 17 years old at the time.
   Gasquet, 29, became the eighth active player to reach 25 tour-level finals. He will play 34-year-old countryman Paul-Henri Mathieu, who held off 18-year-old Alexander Zverev, a 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) German, 7-6 (11), 7-5.
   Women's Challenger in Midland, Mich. -- CiCi Bellis, a 16-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, reached her first Challenger doubles final.
   Wild cards Bellis and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., edged third-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta 3-6, 6-3 [10-6] in the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic.
   Gibbs won the 2012 NCAA doubles crown with Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette.
   Bellis and Neel, who routed top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez in the quarterfinals, will face second-seeded Naomi Broady of Great Britain and Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C.
   Broady, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters), and Rogers crushed Americans Lauren Davis and Grace Min 6-0, 6-0 in 38 minutes.
   Fed Cup in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii -- The United States coasted to a 2-0 lead over Poland in World Group II.
   Sloane Stephens defeated Magda Linette 6-2, 6-4, and Venus Williams beat Paula Kania 7-5, 6-2.
   Williams, 35, has won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford twice (2000 and 2002) and reached the final seven times.
   Kania and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic advanced to the doubles final at Stanford in 2014, losing to Garbine Muguruza and Carla Suarez Navarro.
   Williams will try to clinch the best-of-five-match series for the United States in today's first match against Linette.
   Top-ranked Serena Williams of the United States and No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland skipped this weekend's competition.
   The winner will advance to the World Group playoffs in April for a chance to compete for the Fed Cup title in 2017.
   Men's Challenger in Dallas -- In an all-British matchup, second-seeded Kyle Edmund, 21, outclassed unseeded Daniel Evans 6-3, 6-2 to win the $100,000 RBC Tennis Championships.
   Both players helped Great Britain win its first Davis Cup championship in 79  years in 2015.
   Edmund reached the semifinals of the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger last August before losing to eventual champion John Millman.
   Evans, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters), held a championship point before losing to former Stanford All-American Bradley Klahn in the 2013 Aptos final.
   Klahn, a 25-year-old left-hander, hopes to return to competition soon after undergoing surgery for a herniated disc for the second time.
   ITA Women's Team Indoors in Madison, Wis. -- No. 6 Cal defeated No. 7 Virginia 4-1 to reach the semifinals of the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.
   The Bears (4-0) will meet No. 16 Ohio State, which stunned No. 1 and reigning NCAA champion Vanderbilt 4-3.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Roundup: Brown, Bellis, Date-Krumm, Cal women

Dustin Brown, volleying in the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger
last October, reached an ATP World Tour semifinal for the first time.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Dustin Brown is undefeated against Rafael Nadal.
   But until Friday, the 31-year-old German had never reached the semifinals on the ATP World Tour.
   Brown finally broke through -- as a qualifier, no less -- with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium in the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.
   Brown, 6-foot-5 (1.96 meters) and only 172 pounds (78 kilograms), had been 0-8 in tour-level quarterfinals.
   "I'm just very happy to finally make it to a semifinal after so many tries," Brown, who stunned Nadal in the second round on Centre Court at Wimbledon last year to improve to 2-0 against the 14-time Grand Slam singles champion (tied for second all-time). "I've played lots of times against Ruben and lost a tight one last time. Basically, I tried to play aggressively like the past couple of days, and I'm happy it worked out."
   Brown finished as the runner-up to Taylor Fritz of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area in the $50,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last October. Fritz was 17 at the time.
   Bemelmans, a 28-year-old left-hander, won the doubles title in the 2014 Aptos Challenger with Laurynas Grigelis of Lithuania.
   The 133rd-ranked Brown, who has a Jamaican father and wears dreadlocks down to his waist, will meet top-seeded and 10th-ranked Richard Gasquet of France for the first time.
   Gasquet, the defending champion who also won the title in 2013, beat Marcos Baghdatis, the 2014 Aptos singles champion, 6-4, 6-4.
   In the other semifnal, 18-year-old Alexander Zverev of Germany will face 34-year-old Paul-Henri Mathieu of France.
   Zverev, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), stunned second-seeded Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, in the second round.
   Mathieu defeated John Millman, a 26-year-old Australian playing in his first ATP quarterfinal, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3.
   Last August, Millman became the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos Challenger to win the title.
   Women's Challenger in Midland, Mich. -- Wild cards CiCi Bellis, 16, of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., whipped top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez, a 26-year-old Modesto product, 6-1, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic.
   Muhammad and Sanchez won last week's $50,000 Maui Challenger.
Kimiko Date-Krumm, playing in the Stockton
Challenger last summer, announced she will
have knee surgery. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Bellis ousted No. 2 singles seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round before losing to U.S. wild card Robin Anderson.
   Bellis and Neel will play third-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles region and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta.
   Gibbs won the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette.
   Date-Krumm surgery -- Kimiko Date-Krumm announced she will undergo left knee surgery, jeopardizing her career.
   After losing in the first round of qualifying in last month's Australian Open, the 45-year-old Japanese marvel had an MRI that revealed a torn meniscus.
   Date-Krumm climbed to a career-high No. 4 in 1995. Last summer, she reached the semifinals of the $50,000 Stockton Challenger, quarterfinals of the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger and, as a qualifier, second round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Date-Krumm overcame a huge deficit to stun then-No. 24 Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the first round at Stanford. One year earlier there, Lisicki set a record that still stands with a 131.0-mph (201.8-kph) serve.
   ITA Women's Team Indoors in Madison, Wis. -- Cal, seeded fourth and ranked sixth, blitzed host Wisconsin 4-0 in the opening round of 16 in the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship.
   The Bears (3-0) will play Virginia (4-1), unseeded and ranked seventh, in today's quarterfinals.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Brown stuns Simon, Millman advances in Montpellier

Dustin Brown, serving in the final of the
$50,000 Fairfield Challenger last October,
upset 15th-ranked Gilles Simon on the
ATP World Tour. Photo by Paul Bauman
  Two players who starred in Northern California Challengers last year recorded big victories on Thursday in the second round of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier on the elite ATP World Tour.
   Dustin Brown, a 31-year-old German qualifier, surprised third-seeded and 15th-ranked Gilles Simon of France 6-4, 6-4.
   Meanwhile, John Millman of Australia reached his first ATP quarterfinal with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
   Brown was the runner-up to U.S. sensation Taylor Fritz in the $50,000 Fairfield Challenger last October. Fritz was 17 at the time.
   Last August, Millman became the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos Challenger to win the title.
   The mercurial Brown, who has a Jamaican father and wears dreadlocks down to his waist, achieved his biggest victory since defeating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon for the second time last June.
   Simon extended top-ranked and eventual champion Novak Djokovic to five sets in the fourth round of last month's Australian Open.
   Roger-Vasselin had ousted fifth-seeded Gael Monfils of France 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the first round. Monfils won the inaugural title in 2010 and in 2014.
   Brown, ranked No. 133, will face No. 107 Ruben Bemelmans, a Belgian left-hander who advanced to his first ATP quarterfinal since losing to Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic at Vienna in October 2013.
   Wild cards Bemelmans and Laurynas Grigelis of Lithuania won the Aptos doubles title in 2014.
   Millman, 26, will play 34-year-old Paul-Henri Mathieu, who upset fourth-seeded Benoit Paire 6-3, 6-3 in an all-French matchup. Mathieu is ranked No. 93 but climbed as high as No. 12 in 2008.
   Win or lose, the 78th-ranked Millman will crack the top 70 in the world for the first time on Monday.
   All seeds have been eliminated in the bottom half of the draw, where Millman is situated.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bellis, 16, loses to Anderson in 100K Midland

Robin Anderson, 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), beat CiCi
Bellis, 16, of Atherton 7-5, 6-3 in the second round
in Midland, Mich. 2013 photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis could not back up her big win in the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic.
   The 16-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to wild card Robin Anderson of the United States 7-5, 6-3 today in the second round in Midland, Mich.
   Bellis, the world's top junior at 15 in 2014, had ousted No. 2 seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round.
   The 22-year-old Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), will play another U.S. teenager, qualifier Alexandra Sanford, in Friday's quarterfinals.
   The 17-year-old Sanford, who plans to attend the University of North Carolina in the fall, eliminated American Alexa Glatch 6-4, retired.
   In tonight's last match, third-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles region and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta beat Anderson and Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
   Gibbs won the 2012 NCAA doubles title with Stanford teammate Mallory Burdette.
   Townsend in 2012 became the first U.S. girl to hold the year-end No. 1 junior ranking since Gretchen Rush in 1982. The following year, Townsend played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis. 
   Gibbs and Townsend will play the winner of Friday's match between top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Maria Sanchez, a Modesto product, and wild cards Bellis and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn. 
   Muhammad and Sanchez won the Maui doubles title last week.

Rankings, TV 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
   Collin Altamirano, 20-year-old Sacramento resident -- No. 813 in singles (+1), 965 in doubles (no change).
   Bob Bryan, 36-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 5 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 37-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 6 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   Bradley Klahn, 25-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 935 in singles (-332).
   Scott Lipsky, 34-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 39 in doubles (-1).
   Mackenzie McDonald, 20-year-old resident of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 379 in singles (no change), No. 575 in doubles (-1).
   Dennis Novikov, 22-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 150 in singles (+3), No. 171 in doubles (+17).
   Sam Querrey, 28-year-old San Francisco native -- No. 60 in singles (-2), No. 37 in doubles (+1).
   Matt Seeberger, 31-year-old San Francisco native and former UC Santa Cruz star -- No. 156 in doubles (+2).
   Dmitry Tursunov, 33-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area -- No. 263 in doubles (+2).
Women
   Kristie Ahn, 23-year-old former Stanford star -- Career-high No. 202 in singles (+1), career-high No. 395 in doubles (+19).
   Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 33-year-old San Jose resident and former Cal star -- No. 19 in doubles (-1).
   CiCi Bellis, 16-year-old resident of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 219 in singles (+12).
   Alexandra Facey, 22-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 626 in doubles (+1). 
   Kat Facey, 22-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area -- No. 626 in doubles (+1).
   Nicole Gibbs, 22-year-old former Stanford star -- No. 103 in singles (+3), No. 158 in doubles (-4).
   Michaela Gordon, 16-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area -- No. 655 in singles (+5), No. 713 in doubles (+145). 
   Maegan Manasse, 20-year-old Cal junior -- No. 532 in doubles (no change), No. 757 in singles (-2).
   Maria Sanchez, 26-year-old Modesto product -- No. 76 in doubles (+12), No. 180 in singles (+10).
   Karina Vyrlan, 17-year-old Sacramento resident -- No. 937 in doubles (+17).
   Carol Zhao, 20-year-old Stanford junior -- Career-high No. 179 in doubles (+15), No. 339 in singles (+6).
TV SCHEDULE
(All broadcasts on Tennis Channel; all times in California)
Today
   Montpellier (men), early rounds, 3 a.m.-2 p.m., 8 p.m.-midnight.
   Quito (men), early rounds, 2-5 p.m.    
Friday
   Montpellier (men), early rounds/quarterfinals, 3 a.m.-2 p.m., 8 p.m.-midnight.
   Quito (men), quarterfinals, 2-5 p.m.
Saturday
   Fed Cup (Switzerland at Germany), Montpellier (men), Quito (men), 4 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
   Fed Cup, Poland at United States, 1-5 p.m., 7 p.m.-midnight.
Sunday
   Fed Cup (Switzerland at Germany), Montepellier (men), Quito (men), 3 a.m.-noon.   
   Fed Cup, Poland at United States, noon-6 p.m., 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday.   
CALENDAR
   Friday-Monday -- Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women's Team Indoor Championships, Madison, Wis.
   Saturday-Sunday -- Fed Cup, first round, United States vs. Poland in World Group II, Kailua Kona, Hawaii.
   Feb. 12-15 -- Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men's Team Indoor Championships, Charlottesville, Va.
   March 2-6 -- Little Mo Internationals, Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, Calif.
   March 4-6 -- Davis Cup, first round, United States at Australia.
   March 7-20 -- BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, Calif. 2015 champions: Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep, Vasek Pospisil/Jack Sock, Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza.
   April 2-10 -- Easter Bowl, Indian Wells, Calif.
   April 15-17 -- Maze Cup (Northern California vs. Southern California juniors), Alpine Hills Tennis & Swimming Club, Portola Valley.
   April 16-17 -- Fed Cup semifinals.
   April 16-17, 23-24 -- NorCal Junior Excellence, Rio Del Oro Racquet Club, Sacramento, Calif.
   April 20-24 -- Pacific-12 Conference Men's and Women's Championships, Ojai, Calif.
   April 27-30 -- Big West Conference Men's and Women's Championships, Indian Wells, Calif. www.bigwest.org.
   April 28-30 -- West Coast Conference Men's and Women's Championships, Claremont, Calif.
   April 28-May 1 -- Mountain West Conference Women's Championships, Fort Collins, Colo. www.themw.com.
   April 29-May 1 -- Mountain West Conference Men's Championships, Las Vegas. www.themw.com.
   April 29-May 1 -- Big Sky Conference Men's and Women's Championships, Gold River Racquet Club, Gold River, Calif., www.bigskyconf.com.
   April 29-May 2 -- USTA National Men's, Women's and Mixed 30 Indoor Championships, Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center, Gold River, Calif.
   May 13-14 -- NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Team Championships, first and second rounds at campus sites.
   May 19-24 -- NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Team Championships, round of 16 through finals, Tulsa, Okla.
   May 25-30 -- NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Singles and Doubles Championships, Tulsa, Okla. 
   May 22-June 5 -- FRENCH OPEN, Paris. 2015 champions: Stan Wawrinka, Ivan Dodig/Marcelo Melo, Serena Williams, Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Mike Bryan.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No. 6 seed Gibbs falls to 6-foot-2 Broady in Midland

Naomi Broady, playing in the $50,000 Stockton
Challenger last July, stunned former world No. 1
Ana Ivanovic en route to the Auckland quarterfinals
last month. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs got further in Melbourne than in Midland.
   After reaching the second round of the Australian Open as a qualifier last month, the sixth-seeded Gibbs lost to Naomi Broady of Great Britain 6-4, 7-6 (4) today in the opening round of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Michigan.
   In both tournaments, the undersized Gibbs struggled against tall, powerful players.
   The 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Gibbs, who won the 2012 and 2013 NCAA singles titles at Stanford, defeated 5-foot-5 (1.66-meter) Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic in the first round of the Australian Open before losing to 6-foot (1.84-meter) Kristina Mladenovic, a Frenchwoman seeded 28th.
   Broady, 6-foot-2 (1.89 meters) with an unorthodox one-handed backhand, pounded 18 aces and won 84 percent of the points on her first serve to Gibbs' five aces and 67 percent.
   Gibbs, a resident of Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area, is ranked No. 103 and Broady No. 112.
   Broady, who will turn 26 on Feb. 28, stunned former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the first round at Auckland on the elite WTA tour last month en route to the quarterfinals as a qualifier. Broady also won the doubles title in the $50,000 Sacramento Challenger in 2013 with Storm Sanders of Australia.
   Broady will meet Jovana Jaksic of Serbia in the second round. Jaksic, 22, defeated Gibbs' former teammate at Stanford, 5-foot-5 (1.65-meter) Kristie Ahn, in the first round.
   Two other players with Northern California ties lost in the first round. Modesto product Maria Sanchez fell to Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, and 16-year-old Michaela Gordon of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area succumbed to wild card Robin Anderson, 22, of the United States 6-1, 6-3.
   Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela in the $25,000 Redding Challenger in 2013 and won the doubles title with countrywoman Lauren Embree.
   Gordon advanced to the Wimbledon girls quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015 and, at 15 years and 1 month old, the quarters of the 2014 Redding Challenger.
   Anderson will face another 16-year-old from the Bay Area, CiCiBellis of Atherton, for the first time on Thursday. Bellis, the world's top junior at 15 in 2014, ousted No. 2 seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany on Tuesday. 
   In the opening round of doubles, wild cards Bellis and Ingrid Neel, 17, of Rochester, Minn., defeated Samantha Crawford of Tamarac, Fla., and Sharon Fichman of Canada 7-5, 7-5.
   Bellis and Neel, who signed a letter of intent in November to attend the University of Florida, will take on top-seeded Asia Muhammad and Sanchez in the quarterfinals. Muhammad and Sanchez won the Maui doubles title last week.
   Also in the quarters, third-seeded Gibbs and Taylor Townsend of Atlanta will meet Anderson and Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bellis ousts No. 2 seed, defending champ in Midland

CiCi Bellis, a 16-year-old amateur, defeated a top-100 player
for the third time in her career. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis achieved one of the biggest wins of her young career today.
   The 16-year-old amateur from Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area upset No. 2 seed and defending champion Tatjana Maria of Germany 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the $100,000 Dow Corning Tennis Classic in Midland, Mich.
   Maria, ranked No. 68, is the third top-100 player Bellis has beaten.
   At 15, Bellis knocked off No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the opening round of the 2014 U.S. Open, becoming the youngest player to win a match at Flushing Meadows since Anna Kournikova at 15 in 1996.
   Bellis also defeated No. 32 Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan in the second round at Miami last March before losing to Serena Williams 6-1, 6-1.
   The 28-year-old Maria, who's married with a 2-year-old daughter, was coming off a second-round appearance in the Australian Open and reached the third round at Wimbledon last year.
   But Maria made repeated baseline errors against the 219th-ranked Bellis, who's listed at 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters) and only 110 pounds (50 kilograms), and lost her serve seven of 11 times.
   Not only is Maria one of the few women with a one-handed backhand, she switched from two hands in mid-career.
   Bellis, who ended 2014 as the No. 1 junior in the world, will face the winner of Wednesday's match between 22-year-old wild card Robin Anderson of the United States and another 16-year-old from the Bay Area, qualifier Michaela Gordon of Saratoga.
   Anderson, only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), was the runner-up to Adriana Perez of Venezuela in the $25,000 Redding Challenger in 2013 and won the doubles title with countrywoman Lauren Embree.
   Gordon advanced to the Wimbledon girls quarterfinals in 2014 and 2015 and, at 15 years and 1 month old, the quarters of the 2014 Redding Challenger.