Wednesday, May 4, 2016

McDonald, Manasse seeded sixth in NCAA singles

Mackenzie McDonald, from Piedmont in the San
Francisco Bay Area, recently led UCLA to the
Pac-12 title. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman 
   Mackenzie McDonald of UCLA and Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area and Maegan Manasse of Cal have received No. 6 singles seeds in the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Championships, respectively.
   The 64-player singles and 32-team doubles fields were announced today. The tournaments are scheduled for May 25-30 in Tulsa, Okla., after the team competitions May 19-24 in Tulsa.
   The singles and doubles brackets will be released on May 24.
   Two weeks ago in Ojai, Calif., McDonald (13-1) led UCLA to the Pacific-12 Conference championship, and Manasse (29-10) won the Pac-12 singles title.
  The men's singles field also includes No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford, Andre Goransson and Florian Lakat of Cal, Collin Altamirano (Sacramento) of defending champion Virginia and Alec Adamson of UC Davis.
   Defending champion Ryan Shane of Virginia is seeded eighth.
Cal's Maegan Manasse won the
Pac-12 singles title. 2015 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Other women's singles players include No. 9-16 seed Klara Fabikova of Cal, Taylor Davidson of Stanford, Giuliana Olmos (Fremont) of USC and Mayar Sherif Ahmed of Fresno State.
   Stanford junior Carol Zhao, last year's runner-up to since-departed Jamie Loeb of North Carolina, was omitted from the singles field after playing in pro tournaments for much of the season.
   The men's doubles field features No. 2 seeds McDonald and Martin Redlicki, No. 5-8 Cameron Klinger (San Jose) and Rhys Johnson of Vanderbilt, Filip Bergevi and Lakat of Cal, Maciek Romanowicz and Fawcett, and Shawn Hadavi and Richard Pham (Saratoga) of Columbia.
   Among the women's doubles teams are No. 4 seeds Manasse and Denise Starr, No. 5-8 Davidson and Caroline Doyle (San Francisco), No. 5-8 Olmos and Gabby Smith, Mayar Sherif Ahmed and Rana Sherif Ahmed, and Hadley Berg (Greenbrae) and Paige Cline (Kentfield).
   Here are the complete NCAA singles and doubles fields for the men and women

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cal women, Virginia men seeded first in NCAAs

   The Cal women and defending champion Virginia men, featuring sophomore star Collin Altamirano of Sacramento, received No. 1 overall seedings today in the NCAA Division I Tennis Championship.
   Both schools will open at home in the 64-team tournaments. The second-ranked Bears (19-1), who claimed the top seeding for the first time, will meet Texas-Rio Grande Valley (11-10) on May 13 at 1 p.m. The top-ranked Cavaliers (24-4) will face Monmouth (11-9) on May 14.
   The Cal men and Stanford women also will play at home. The 13th-seeded Bears (17-6) will meet Army (12-8) on May 14 at noon, and the 15th-seeded Cardinal (14-5) will face Texas A&M Corpus Christi (24-0) on May 13 at 2 p.m.
   The Stanford men (14-10), seeded 17-32, will play Notre Dame (15-13), seeded 33-48, on May 14 in Evanston, Ill.
   First-round winners will play at the same sites on the following day. The last four rounds in the men's and women's tournaments are scheduled for May 19-24 in Tulsa, Okla. The Stanford women could meet top-ranked Florida (21-2) in the round of 16.
   The Stanford men and women each have won 17 NCAA team titles. The women rank first, far ahead of second-place Florida with six. The men rank second behind USC with 21. The Cardinal women last won the title in 2013 and the men in 2000. Cal has never won the men's or women's title.
   In last year's finals, the Virginia men defeated Oklahoma 4-1, and the Vanderbilt women topped UCLA 4-2. The Bruins since have added freshman standout Alaina Miller of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Here are links to this year's brackets for the men and women.

Browne, Jacutin-Mariona earn sweet titles in 30 Indoors

No. 3 seed Tyler Browne, left, beat No. 2 Calle Hansen
7-6 (1), 6-4 on Monday for the men's singles title in the
USTA National 30 Indoors. Photo by Paul Bauman
   GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- The way Tyler Browne looks now, it's hard to believe he had a weight problem as a kid.
   A lean 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 155 pounds (70.3 kilograms), Browne darted around the court during his 7-6 (1), 6-4 victory over towering Calle Hansen on Monday in the final of the USTA National Men's, Women's & Mixed 30 Indoor Championships at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center.
   After Browne not only reached a low, skidding backhand approach in the second set but ripped a forehand cross-court passing shot, Hansen yelled good-naturedly across the net, "What are you, top 100 in the world?"
   Browne developed his massive forehand, on which he employs an open stance and takes a big windup, by necessity.
   "I was a pretty chubby child," admitted Browne, the 30-year-old associate men's head coach at Cal, his alma mater. "I didn't want to hit more than three shots (during a point). When I was 16, my junior year in high school, a knee injury sidelined me, and one of the factors was weight. Losing weight helped me cure the injury and regain my fire. It was one of those life-changing moments."
   Earlier Monday, 5-foot (1.52-meter) Marisue Jacutin-Mariona of Los Altos in the San Francisco Bay Area overcame soreness, fatigue and an upset stomach to outslug Evgenia (Subbotina) Dockter of Atlanta 6-4, 6-2 for her second straight women's singles title in the tournament.
   Browne said that at 12 years old, he was 5-foot-5 (1.66 meters) and 165 pounds (75.0 kilograms).
   "My mom cooks everything," explained Browne, who lives in Walnut Creek. "She's a baker. The joke is my mom is the 'cookie lady.' When I was a child, I ate a lot of cookies.
   "She's the team mom (for Cal). She makes cookies and lasagna. The key was to stop eating my mom's cooking, even though she didn't like that."
   Browne's mother, Lindya, attended Monday's final. A tiny former player in Indonesia, she was armed with shopping bags full of homemade food, including chocolate chip brownies, butterscotch brownies, chocolate chip cookies, pecan chocolate chip mounds, lemon bars and banana bread.
   After Browne slimmed down in high school, he enrolled at Cal and earned second-team all-Pacific-12 Conference honors as a junior in 2006. On Cal's website, he was described as "an incredibly gifted athlete."
No. 2 seed Marisue Jacutin-Mariona play-
fully displays her gold ball in women's
singles. Photo by Paul Bauman 
   Immediately after Browne graduated from Cal in sociology in 2008, longtime Bears head coach Peter Wright hired him as an assistant.
   "I couldn't pass it up, but the competitive bug never leaves me," Browne said. "It's nice to get a chance to play once in a while."
   Browne became eligible for the 30s last year (his birthday is in August) but played only men's doubles and mixed doubles in the 2015 National Indoors, winning both.
   "I had never won a gold ball," he explained. "I wanted to make sure I was fully healthy for men's doubles and mixed. (Winning them) got the monkey off my back. I wanted to see if I could get one in singles (this year) to complete the trifecta."
   Browne also won titles in men's doubles and mixed doubles this time, making him 5 for 5 lifetime in the tournament.
   Even though Browne hadn't played a tournament since last summer, he was sharp against the 6-foot-5 (1.95-meter) Hansen and his booming serve. It wasn't really surprising -- Browne hits against young, powerful players every day in his job.
   Cal (17-6), ranked 16th nationally, will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Division I Championships today.
   "Fortunately, my job requires me to play a lot of tennis," Browne said. "I hit with the Cal guys and play sets with them if there's an odd man. My game has definitely evolved as a coach. I wish I had the brain in college that I have now."
   Hansen, a 36-year-old Swedish native and former Pepperdine All-American, returned to the USTA 30 Indoors for the first time since winning his second straight title in the tournament in 2013.
   "I took a break," said Hansen, the tennis director at the Westlake Athletic Club near Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles area. "I have a 10-month-old baby, and it's harder to travel."
   Browne said the key in the final was his return of serve.
   "Serving as well as he does, I had to make a lot of returns and put pressure on his second serve. When we got into a rally, I had to set up early and get him on the move," said the third-seeded Browne, who wore a Cal outfit in the title match.
   Hansen served for the first set at 5-3 but was broken on a wide cross-court backhand. Browne ran away with the tiebreaker, hitting three well-placed aces.
   Both players traded early breaks in the second set and held serve until the last game of the match. Hansen fell behind 0-30 on two forehand winners by Browne and couldn't recover.
Jacutin-Mariona, center, poses with singles runner-up Evegnia Dockter,
left, and third-place finisher Francesca LaO. Photo by Paul Bauman
 "He was just solid from the baseline," Hansen, seeded second, said of the match. "He moved the ball around a lot and got me running around. I like to move forward, but I didn't have much opportunity. I played pretty well: the first set was really good, the second up and down.
   "I don't play a lot of tournaments. I try to use a slice and slow the (pace) down, but it didn't bother him. I felt if I slowed it down, I had to run even more."
   Like Browne, Jacutin (pronounced Ja-COO-tin)-Mariona confesses to a sweet tooth but doesn't show it. When she indulges, she balloons from 110 pounds (49.9 kilograms) all the way up to 112 (50.8 kilograms).
   On Sunday, the second-seeded Jacutin-Mariona needed three hours to subdue Francesca LaO of San Francisco 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 in the semifinals.
   "I had sushi (Sunday) night, my body was hurting, and I didn't know how I was going to get out here (for the final)," said Jacutin-Mariona, a former No. 1 junior and woman in the Philippines who will turn 37 on May 14. "Waking up, everything seemed wrong. Moving around, I thought I'd feel better, and that's exactly what happened."
   Using her devastating two-handed forehand, Jacutin-Mariona bolted to a 5-1 lead in both sets. The top-seeded Dockter, a 32-year-old Belarus native making her tournament debut, put up a fight in the first set but tired in the second.
   "She was a little more consistent than I was and able to place the ball better," lamented Dockter, who was named second-team all-Southeastern Conference as a senior at Georgia in 2006. "She was able to hit the right shots when she needed them."
   Both Jacutin-Mariona and Dockter have two children and coach or teach tennis part-time.
   Better keep those kids away from cookies.
USTA NATIONAL 30 INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
In Gold River, Calif.
Men's singles
Final
   Tyler Browne (3), Walnut Creek, def. Calle Hansen (2), Newbury Park, 7-6 (1), 6-4.
Third place
   Jan Tiilikainen (1), Reno, def. Vittorio Fratta, Walnut Creek, 6-2, 6-1.
Men's doubles
Final
   Tyler Browne, Walnut Creek, and Nicholas Brunner (1), San Francisco, def. Justin Garcia and Whit Livingston, Sacramento, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Third place
   Derek Acker, South Wales, N.Y., and Calle Hansen, Newbury Park, def. Dave Kuhn, Elk Grove, and Seth Spector, Fair Oaks, 6-4, 6-3.
Women's singles
Final
   Marisue B. Jacutin-Mariona (2), Los Altos, def. Evgenia Dockter (1), Atlanta, 6-4, 6-2.
Third place
   Francesca LaO, San Francisco, def. Brooke Biddle, Dallas, 6-0, 6-2.
Women's doubles
Final
   Isabella Kling, Orangevale, and Laura McGaffigan (2), Folsom, def. Marisue B. Jacutin-Mariona, Los Altos, and Francesca LaO (1), San Francisco, 6-3, 6-3.
Third place
   Evgenia Dockter, Atlanta, and Erika Takeuchi, Seattle, def. Camille Benvenuti, Sacramento, and Stacey Griggs, Carmichael, walkover.
Mixed doubles
Final
   Tyler Browne, Walnut Creek, and Francesca LaO (1), San Francisco, def. Evgenia Dockter, Atlanta, and Vittorio Fratta, Walnut Creek, walkover.
Third place
   Lawrence Chan and Erika Takeuchi, Seattle, def. Michelle Chapple, Rancho Murieta, and Jeff Shin, Sacramento, 6-1, 6-2.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lipsky title, college tourney finals, USTA 30 Indoors

   Fourth-seeded Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky of the United States edged top-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland 6-4, 3-6 [10-8] today to win the Millennium Estoril Open in Portugal.
   Both champions are 34-year-old doubles specialists with Northern California connections.
   Butorac, a left-hander living in Cambridge, Mass., won the first of his 18 ATP World Tour doubles titles in the SAP Open in San Jose in 2007 with Jamie Murray, Andy's older brother who's now ranked No. 1 in men's doubles. Butorac also played for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2008.
   The last SAP Open was played in 2013 after 125 years in Northern California under various names, and the Capitals were disbanded in 2014 after 28 years in Sacramento.
   Lipsky, a right-hander living in Irvine, Calif., led Stanford to the NCAA team title in 2000 and reached the 2002 NCAA doubles final with David Martin. Two of Lipsky's 15 ATP doubles titles came in San Jose (2008 with Martin and 2011 with Rajeev Ram).
   Entering Estoril, Lipsky was ranked 42nd and Butorac 48th.
   Lipsky won his second straight Estoril title and third overall. He triumphed with Butorac in 2009 and Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, last year.
   "I wish I new the secret of our success here, because then I could just do the same thing everywhere else," Lipsky said on atpworldtour.com. "I love the weather here. It reminds me of California, where I live. If we could do this every week, it'd be great."
   Butorac has won at least one doubles title in each of the past 10 years and Lipsky in each of the past nine. Estoril was their third title together; they also won Valencia last year.
   "Eric and I have been friends for a long time, and we played together for six or eight months back in 2009," Lipsky said. "We've talked about playing together again for a long time. After Wimbledon last year, we gave it a shot and have had good success. Being friends on and off the court helps a lot in doubles."
   Colleges -- The third-seeded UNLV women surprised top-seeded Fresno State 4-2 to win the Mountain West Conference Championships in Fort Collins, Colo.
   The Lady Rebels (24-1), ranked 72nd, earned an automatic bid in the NCAA Championships, which begin May 13 at campus sites. The Bulldogs (19-9), ranked 47th, could receive an at-large bid when the bracket is announced on Tuesday. The NCAA singles and doubles fields will be released on Wednesday.
   The top-seeded Weber State men and third-seeded Idaho women also earned automatic NCAA bids with titles in the Big Sky Conference Championships at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   The Wildcats edged second-seeded Idaho 4-3, and the Vandals coasted past top-seeded Northern Arizona 4-0 for their second straight crown.
   USTA 30 Indoors -- No. 3 seed Tyler Browne, 30, of Walnut Creek defeated No. 1 Jan Tiilikainen, 44, of Reno 6-3, 6-4 in the men's semifinals of the USTA National Men's, Women's & Mixed 30 Indoor Championships at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center in Gold River.
   Tiilikainen has won the title six times, including the last two.
   Browne, a former Cal standout and now the associate head coach of the Bears men, will face No. 2 seed Calle Hansen of Newbury Park in the Los Angeles region for the title on Monday at 11 a.m.
   Hansen, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) former Pepperdine All-American, dominated unseeded Vittorio Fratta of Walnut Creek 6-0, 6-2.
   Hansen, 36, is playing in the USTA 30 Indoors for the first time since winning his second straight title in the tournament in 2013.
   On the women's side, No. 1 seed Evgenia Dockter of Atlanta and No. 2 seed and defending champion Marisue Jacutin-Mariona of Los Altos advanced to Monday's 9 a.m. final in contrasting fashion.
   Dockter crushed Brooke Biddle of Dallas 6-0, 6-1, while Jacutin-Mariona outlasted Francesca LaO of San Francisco 7-5, 4-6, 7-5.

Novikov doubles title, college tourneys, USTA 30 Indoors

Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay
Area won the doubles title in the Tallahassee (Fla.)
Challenger with Julio Peralta of Chile. 2015 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area and Julio Peralta of Chile on Saturday won the doubles title in the $50,000 Tallahassee (Fla.) Challenger for the second consecutive year.
   The top-seeded pair edged unseeded Peter Luczak, a former Fresno State star, and Marc Polmans of Australia 3-6, 6-4 [12-10] in the final on green clay.
   Novikov also won the Maui Challenger doubles crown in January with Jason Jung, a Los Angeles-area native who plays for Taiwan.
   Quentin Halys of France won the Tallahassee singles title in a battle of top teenage prospects. Halys, 19, defeated Frances Tiafoe, 18, of Boca Raton, Fla., 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2.
   Halys and Tiafoe reached the semifinals of the Tiburon and Fairfield Challengers, respectively, in Northern California last October.
   In the Estoril (Portugal) Open doubles semifinals, fourth-seeded Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky, a former Stanford All-American, beat second-seeded Treat Huey, a Washington, D.C., native who plays for the Philippines, and Max Mirnyi of Belarus 6-4, 7-5.
   Butorac, who played for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2008, and Lipsky will take on top-seeded Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland.
   Huey and Lipsky won the 2015 title.
   Colleges -- The No. 1-seeded Fresno State women beat No. 4 San Jose State 4-2 to reach the final of the Mountain West Conference Championships in Fort Collins, Colo. The Bulldogs, ranked 47th, will face UNLV, seeded third and ranked 72nd, for the title.
   The No. 8-seeded Fresno State men lost to No. 4 UNLV 4-2 in the Mountain West semifinals in Las Vegas.
   The Pepperdine women, seeded first and ranked eighth, pounded third-seeded Saint Mary's 4-0 in Claremont, Calif., to win their fourth straight title in the West Coast Conference Championships.
   The host Sacramento State men and women lost in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Championships at the Gold River Racquet Club. The No. 5-seeded Hornets men fell to No. 1 Weber State 4-1, and the No. 2 Hornets women lost to No. 3 and defending champion Idaho 4-2.
   The Sac State women had reached the Big Sky final for 14 consecutive years, winning 13 straight titles before falling in last year's final.
   USTA 30 Indoors -- Vittorio Fratta of Walnut Creek upset fourth-seeded Thomas Morton of Citrus Heights 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the USTA National Men's, Women's & Mixed 30 Indoor Championships at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center in Gold River.
   In today's men's semifinals, Fratta will face No. 2 seed Calle Hansen, 36, of Newbury Park at 9 a.m., and No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Jan Tiilikainen, 44, of Reno will play No. 3 Tyler Browne, 30, of Walnut Creek at noon.
   Browne, a former Cal standout and now the associate head coach of the Bears men, eliminated 2015 runner-up Ryan Sablan of Martinez 6-4, 6-2.
   Both women's semis are scheduled for 9 a.m. No. 1 seed Evgenia Dockter of Atlanta will face Brooke Biddle of Dallas, and No. 2 seed and defending champion Marisue Jacutin-Mariona of Los Altos will meet Francesca LaO of San Francisco.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tiilikainen, Hansen top men's field in USTA 30 Indoors

Calle Hansen returns to the USTA National 30 Indoors
for the first time since winning his second straight title
in the tournament in 2013. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Jan Tiilikainen is the men's top seed, the two-time defending champion and a six-time winner in the $2,000 USTA National Men's, Women's and Mixed 30 Indoor Championships.
   But the 44-year-old teaching pro from Reno is not the favorite in the tournament, which began Friday at the Spare Time Indoor Tennis Center in the Sacramento suburb of Gold River.
   That distinction goes to second-seeded Calle Hansen, 36, of Newbury Park in the Los Angeles area. The former Pepperdine All-American returns to the 30 Indoors for the first time since winning his second straight title in the tournament in 2013.
   The 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) Hansen, a Swedish native, defeated the 5-foot-11 (1.80-meter) Tiilikainen, originally from Finland, in the 2012 semifinals and 2013 final.
   Both competitors are scheduled to play in today's quarterfinals after receiving first-round byes. Tiilikainen will face Michael Kwong of Woodland at 11 a.m., and Hansen will meet Jordan Boyls of Folsom at 1 p.m.
   Tyler Browne, a 30-year-old former Cal standout from Walnut Creek, is seeded third.
   Women's singles begins with today's quarterfinals. Top-seeded Evgenia Dockter of Atlanta drew a first-round bye, and second seed and defending champion Marisue Jacutin-Mariona of Los Altos is scheduled to play Rachel Janssen of Farmers Branch, Texas, at 11:30 a.m.
   Matt Seeberger, a doubles specialist from Redwood City ranked No. 178 in the world, is seeded second with Kwong. They are scheduled to play Derek Acker of South Wales, N.Y., and Hansen in the first round (quarterfinals) today at 4 p.m.

Oh, brother: Fresno State men stun Utah State

   In a matchup of coaching brothers, the eighth-seeded Fresno State men stunned top-seeded Utah State 4-2 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Championships in Las Vegas.
   Jeremy Moser clinched the victory for Fresno State, coached by Luke Shields, on Court 6. Moser, a freshman from Switzerland, defeated Andrew Nakajima of Utah State, coached by Clancy Shields, 7-5, 6-4.
   The Bulldogs will play fourth seed and host UNLV today. The Rebels beat fifth-seeded New Mexico 4-2.
   Fresno State also reached the women's semifinals in Fort Collins, Colo. The top-seeded Bulldogs will face fourth-seeded San Jose State after both teams won easily.
   Meanwhile, the top-seeded Pepperdine and third-seeded Saint Mary's women reached the final of the West Coast Conference Championships in Claremont, Calif., with 4-0 victories.
   The Waves, ranked eighth, whipped fourth-seeded Santa Clara, and the Gaels blitzed second-seeded Gonzaga.
   In the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Men's Championships, No. 5 seed and host Sacramento State beat No. 4 Montana 4-2 at the Gold River Racquet Club. The Hornets will take on No. 1 Weber State today.