Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ex-Bank of the West champ, Belgian star enter San Jose

Johanna Konta plays in the 2016 U.S. Open one
month after winning the Bank of the West Classic
at Stanford. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Johanna Konta, who won the 2016 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford, and Elise Mertens, an Australian Open semifinalist in January, have entered the inaugural Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at San Jose State this summer.
   The acceptance list for the July 30-Aug. 5 tournament, which replaces the Bank of the West Classic, was announced today.
   Konta, 27, of Great Britain, and Mertens, 22, of Belgium join former world No. 1s Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka in the 28-player singles field. Mertens, who will make her San Francisco Bay Area debut, is ranked 17th, and Konta is 22nd.
   Also entered are Americans Madison Keys, CoCo Vandeweghe, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, CiCi Bellis and Sachia Vickery.
   Keys defeated Vandeweghe in the Bank of the West final last August and reached the U.S. Open final the following month.
   Bellis, a 19-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, has missed the last three months with an arm injury. It's uncertain when she will return.
   Williams won the Bank of the West Classic in 2011, 2012 and 2014, and Azarenka took the 2010 crown at Stanford. Each is fighting her way back up the rankings after having her first child. Sharapova also is trying to rebound after serving a 15-month doping suspension that ended in April last year.
   Three more wild cards (in addition to Azarenka), to be announced in the next two weeks, and four qualifiers will complete the field.
   To purchase tickets to the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, go to MubadalaSVC.com or call (866) 982-8497.
MUBADALA SILICON VALLEY CLASSIC
July 30-Aug. 5 at San Jose State
Acceptance list (with rankings)
Serena Williams, United States, 183
Madison Keys, United States, 10
CoCo Vandeweghe, United States, 15
Elise Mertens, Belgium, 17
Johanna Konta, Great Britain, 22
Maria Sharapova, Russia, 23
Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova, Russia, 28
Zhang Shuai, China, 29
Mihaela Buzarnescu, Romania, 30
Maria Sakkari, Greece, 35
Timea Babos, Hungary, 36
Danielle Collins, United States, 42
Kristina Mladenovic, France, 56
Alison Riske, United States, 61
Polona Hercog, Slovenia, 64
CiCi Bellis, United States, 67
Wang Qiang, China, 68
Ajla Tomljanovic, Australia, 72
Sachia Vickery, United States, 82
Vera Lapko, Belarus, 84
Victoria Azarenka (wild card), 85

Monday, June 18, 2018

Despite soft serve, Rai claims Sectional girls 14 title

Rhea Rai, left, defeated Gayathri Krishnan to win the girls 14
title in the NorCal Junior Sectionals. Photo by Paul Bauman
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Give Rhea Rai credit for honesty.
   When asked after winning the NorCal 14s Junior Sectional Championships if she likes to mix up her serve, Rai said, "No, I just don't have a really good serve that goes in a lot, and the sun was in my eyes all the time over there, so I had to just (toss the ball low and softly slice it).
   "I've practiced that serve a lot, which is why it goes in. Otherwise, my serve isn't that good."
   Compensating with strong groundstrokes, the top-seeded Rai beat fifth-seeded Gayathri Krishnan 6-2, 6-2 today at the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa in a matchup of left-handers from Cupertino (near San Jose). It was Rai's first sectional title.
   "I'm really happy because I (rarely) get first place," gushed Rai, ranked No. 8 in Northern California and No. 189 nationally in the 14s. "I usually get second or third place.
   "I've been training a lot recently. Last week, I did more than I usually do (to prepare for the Sectionals). And because summer (vacation) started, I want to start training more."
   Top-seeded Nicholas Chen of Oakland won the boys 14 title, outplaying third-seeded Dylan Tsoi of El Dorado Hills in the Sacramento area 6-3, 6-3. Chen also won the fall sectional crown two years ago in the 12s in Stockton.
Nicholas Chen, right, beat Dylan Tsoi for the
 boys 14 title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In both of today's finals, the older, bigger, more powerful player won. Rai and Chen will be freshmen in high school in the fall, and Krishnan and Tsoi will be eight-graders.
   Like Rai, Tsoi was candid afterward.
   "(Chen) has a way bigger server than me, so breaking him is a lot harder and he can easily break me by just hitting my second serves," conceded Tsoi, ranked No. 14 in NorCal and No. 208 nationally in the 14s.
   Both champions said their final was closer than the score indicated.
  "I wouldn't call it easy," Rai said. "A lot of games went to deuce. I guess I was able to convert them. She's a really good player, though."
   The boys final featured many long, athletic rallies.
   "We had a ton of deuce games, so it could have gone either way," said Chen, ranked No. 3 in NorCal and No. 56 nationally in the 14s. "Even though it was 6-3, 6-3, it was pretty tight. Just a couple of games (made the difference)."
   The final was Chen's closest match in the tournament. Rai lost one set en route to the final.
   Rai said she does not know Krishnan well, "but she goes to the same school as my friend, and I played her once or twice (before). I've never practiced with her."
   Rai is getting to know Krishnan better, though. And working on her serve.
Boys 14
At Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles final
   Nicholas Chen (1), Oakland, def. Dylan Tsoi (3), El Dorado Hills, 6-3, 6-3.
Doubles final
   Nicholas Chen, Oakland, and Emon van Loben Sels (1), Sacramento, def. Jason Lew and Patrick Toman (2), Pleasant Hill, 6-4, 6-2.
Girls 14
At Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles final
   Rhea Rai (1), Cupertino, def. Gayathri Krishnan (5), Cupertino, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles final
   Maryia Hrynashka (1), Rancho Cordova, and Lauren Joyce (1), Lodi, def. Ava Martin, Menlo Park, and Natasha Rajaram (4), Cupertino, 6-1, 6-4.
Boys 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles final
   Kosei Ogata (1), Saratoga, def. Min Htun (5), Sacramento, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Doubles semifinals
   Nav Dayal, Roseville, and Karthikeya Gannavarapu (1), Pleasanton, def. Ted Nguyen, Elk Grove, and Daniel Wu (3), El Dorado Hills, 6-0, 6-2.
   Min Htun, Sacramento, and Luke Stratakos (2), Saratoga, def. Kosei Ogata and Somei Ogata (5), Saratoga, 7-5, 6-4.
Doubles final
   Min Htun, Sacramento, and Luke Stratakos (2), Saratoga, def. Nav Dayal, Roseville, and Karthikeya Gannavarapu (1), Pleasanton, 3-6, 6-1 [14-12].
Girls 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles final
   Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, def. Penelope Wong (9), Mountain View, 6-0, 6-0.
Doubles final
   Anushka Jaiswal, Fremont, and Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, def. Varsha Jawadi, San Mateo, and Mila Mulready, Burlingame, 1-6, 7-6 (2) [10-6].

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chaudhary channels Nadal for Sectional boys 18 title

Aryan Chaudhary, left, beat Eric Hadigian 6-4, 6-0 for the
NorCal Boys 18 Junior Sectional singles title at the Natomas
Racquet Club in Sacramento. Photo by Paul Bauman
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- He's neither Spanish nor left-handed, and he doesn't have a corkscrew forehand.
   But Aryan Chaudhary (pronounced AH-ree-un CHOD-uh-ree) has some Rafael Nadal in him.
   Like Nadal, Chaudhary is tenacious.
   "I don't give up on any balls," Chaudhary asserted.
   Largely for that reason, the second-seeded Chaudhary dismantled top-seeded Eric Hadigian 6-4, 6-0 today to win the NorCal Boys 18 Junior Sectional singles title at the Natomas Racquet Club.
   Chaudhary, a 15-year-old resident of Santa Clara in the San Francisco Bay Area, won the last eight games.
   "It was pretty tough," insisted Chaudhary, adding that he has not lost a set in three matches against Hadigian (pronounced HAD-i-gun). "The guy hits the ball really deep. I just told myself I had to grind for every single ball, get every single ball back and do my best to put him under pressure. I just didn't give up on any ball. I think that worked out pretty well in the end."
   Another 15-year-old, Luke Casper of Santa Cruz, won the boys 16 title at Natomas. The top-seeded Casper overpowered fifth-seeded Mason Fung of San Francisco 6-2, 6-2.
   Hadigian, 6-foot-2 (1.88 meters) and 175 pounds (79.4 kilograms), repeatedly ripped flat groundstrokes into the corners during the final. And Chaudhary, 6 feet (1.83 meters) and 155 pounds (70.3 kilograms), repeatedly kept the ball in play until Hadigian made an error.
Aryan Chaudhary, playing great defense, won the last
 eight games of the final. Photo by Paul Bauman
   "He's a great side-to-side mover and made me hit a lot of balls," said Hadigian, an 18-year-old Sacramentan who's headed to the University of Arizona in the fall of 2019. "Looking back, it would have been nice when he was on defense if I closed the net a little better. Yeah, his defense is great."
   Hadigian, ranked first in Northern California and 65th nationally in the 18s, broke serve for the only time in the match to even the first set at 4-4. But Chaudhary, ranked second in the NorCal 18s and 16s and 22nd nationally in the 16s, broke right back when Hadigian netted a low backhand.
   Serving for the first set, Chaudhary trailed 0-40 but won the next five points.
   "I just told myself, I'm going to put a couple of first serves in and make him play; I'm not going to give him any easy errors," Chaudhary, the runner-up in last year's Easter Bowl 14s, said of the pivotal game. "Then I just ended up running for every single ball. I got a couple of unforced errors from his side, took control of the game and won the set."
   Hadigian lamented that he was "upset with myself for being undisciplined on a couple of those points at 0-40. On the 0-40 point, I went for a return I shouldn't have. That was tough. It would have been nice to get a break there."
   Chaudhary, who did not lose a set in six tournament matches, recorded his second service break of the second set to lead 3-0 on a point that typified the match. After he made a series of great gets, Hadigian slugged an overhead wide.
Luke Casper, left, defeated Mason Fung 6-2, 6-2 for the
boys 16 singles title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   On Chaudhary's first match point, Hadigian mis-hit a forehand that struck the opposite fence.
   "I was a little frustated with how I was playing (in the second set) and some of the errors I was making, but I gave it my all," Hadigian said. "He was playing too well and lifted his game as well, so this is a tough situation."
   Attending the match were Arizona coach Clancy Shields and his brother, Fresno State coach Luke Shields.
   Chaudhary, who will be a junior at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, eventually could face Hadigian, a senior who takes online classes, in the Pacific-12 Conference.
   "If I could get in, I would love to go to Stanford," Chaudhary said of the university located only 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Santa Clara. "That's always been my dream."
   Casper, playing aggressively, won the last four games of each set against Fung.
   "It seemed to work when I hit extremely hard and moved him around," said Casper, ranked fourth in NorCal and 72nd nationally in the 16s. "Then he gave me weak balls to put away."
   Whereas Casper did not lose more than three games in a set in his six tournament matches, Fung survived long three-set battles in the third round and quarterfinals. He overcame a 2-5 deficit in the third set and saved three match points in a 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (8) victory over third-seeded Hugo Hashimoto of San Jose in the quarters.
Luke Casper, playing aggressively, won the last four
games of each set in the final. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Fung, ranked 10th in NorCal and 224th nationally in the 16s, said those marathons took a toll on him in the final but weren't "the main factor. He just played really well."
   Casper, who will be a sophomore at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, is the fourth of seven children. The oldest, Caroline, represented the family at today's final.
   Caroline reached the NCAA Division III semifinals as a sophomore at Pomona College last year and the NCAA quarterfinals this year. Their father Mark, a lawyer, played tennis at Santa Clara University.
   Fung, 16, will be a senior at St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco. He said he has not received any college scholarship offers and is looking at schools.
   Fung's brother Jayson plays at D-III Amherst in Massachusetts, but Mason said he could stay near home and play for one of his two coaches, Pablo Pires De Almeida, at the University of San Francisco or at Santa Clara.
NORCAL JUNIOR SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday's results
Boys 18
At Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Eric Hadigian (1), Sacramento, def. Andrei Volgin (4), Fremont, 6-0, 7-5.
   Aryan Chaudhary (2), Santa Clara, def. Daniel Baturyn (3), San Leandro, 6-4, 6-2.
Singles final
   Chaudhary def. Hadigian, 6-4, 6-0.
Doubles final
    James Bell, Fremont, and Aryan Chaudhary (5), Santa Clara, def. Zachery Lim, Fairfield, and Daniel Papacica (1), Carmel, 7-5, 3-6 [10-7].
Boys 16
At Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Luke Casper (1), Santa Cruz, def. Philip Martin (9), Los Altos, 6-1, 6-2.
   Mason Fung (5), San Francisco, def. Theodore Dean (2), Livermore, 6-4, 6-1.
Singles final
   Casper def. Fung, 6-2, 6-2.
Doubles final
   Theodore Dean, Livermore, and Joseph Teh (4), San Jose, def. Luke Casper, Santa Cruz, and Philip Martin (2), Los Altos, 1-6, 6-1 [10-5].
Girls 18
At Copper River Country Club in Fresno
Singles final
   Anna Campana (3), Hillsborough, def. Muskan Mahajan, San Ramon, 6-4, 6-1.
Doubles semifinals
   Anna Campana, Hillsborough, and Jennamarie Gordon (1), Saratoga, def. Klara Kosan, Carmichael, and Jozephine Yen, Los Altos, walkover.
   Katherine Duong, Cupertino, and Stephanie Nguyen (2), Fremont, def. Taylor Gould, Los Altos, and Anna Yu, Palo Alto, walkover.
Doubles final
   Duong and Nguyen (2) def. Campana and Gordon, 6-3, 7-5.
Girls 16
At Copper River Country Club in Fresno
Singles final
   Allura Zamarripa (2), Saint Helena, def. Tomi Main (1), Seaside, 6-4, 7-6 (0).
Doubles semifinals
   Allura Zamarripa and Maribella Zamarripa (1), Saint Helena, def. Mirabelle Brettkelly and Claire Galerkin, San Francisco, walkover.
   Tomi Main, Seaside, and Makenna Thiel (2), Piedmont, def. Madison Weekley, Alamo, and Sophia Zaprianov, Concord, 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles final
   Zamarripa and Zamarripa (1) def. Main and Thiel (2), 6-0, 6-2.
Boys 14
At Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Nicholas Chen (1), Oakland, def. Luke Bollinger (9), Napa, 6-1, 6-2.
   Dylan Tsoi (3), El Dorado Hills, def. Ryan Hoang (5), San Rafael, 6-3, 6-4.
Girls 14
At Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Rhea Rai (1), Cupertino, def. Emily Novikov (5), Campbell, 6-3, 6-3.
   Gayathri Krishnan (5), Cupertino, def. Emily Zhao (2), Cupertino, 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles semifinals
   Maryia Hrynashka (1), Rancho Cordova, and Lauren Joyce (1), Lodi, def. Gayathri Krishnan, Cupertino, and Kamila Wong, Palo Alto, 6-2, 7-5.
   Ava Martin, Menlo Park, and Natasha Rajaram (4), Cupertino, def. Sofia Daryaie, Los Gatos, and Emma Pell (2), San Rafael, 6-3, 4-6 [18-16].
Boys 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles semifinals
   Kosei Ogata (1), Saratoga, def. Sterling Davies (3), El Dorado Hills, 6-3, 6-2.
   Min Htun (5), Sacramento, def. Karthikeya Gannavarapu (4), Pleasanton, 6-3, 6-3.
Doubles quarterfinals
   Nav Dayal, Roseville, and Karthikeya Gannavarapu (1), Pleasanton, def. Arnav Bhandari, San Ramon, and Jack Satterfield (5), Lafayette, 8-6.
   Ted Nguyen, Elk Grove, and Daniel Wu (3), El Dorado Hills, def. Ajay Ravichandran, Union City, and Elbert Said (5), San Ramon, 8-4.
   Kosei Ogata and Somei Ogata (5), Saratoga, def. Arin Pallegar, Granite Bay, and Tej Patil (4), San Jose, 8-6.
   Min Htun, Sacramento, and Luke Stratakos (2), Saratoga, def. Dhyey Patel, Napa, and Aryan Yenni (5), Fremont, 8-6.
Girls 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles semifinals
   Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, def. Clarissa Sutami (9), Folsom, 6-2, 6-2.
   Penelope Wong (9), Mountain View, def. Aoi Kunimoto (2), Palo Alto, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Doubles semifinals
   Anushka Jaiswal, Fremont, and Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, def. Clarissa Sutami, Folsom, and Penelope Wong, Mountain View, 7-5, 6-3.
   Varsha Jawadi, San Mateo, and Mila Mulready, Burlingame, def. Rachel Hernandez and Sophie Hernandez (2), Los Gatos, 7-5, 6-1.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hadigian tops fellow academy player in Sectionals

   Eric Hadigian and Zachery Lim know each other well.
   The players from the JMG Tennis Academy in Sacramento met today in the quarterfinals of the NorCal Boys 18 & 16 Junior Sectional Championships. The top-seeded Hadigian beat the fifth-seeded Lim 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 at the Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento.
   Hadigian, a rising senior who has verbally committed to Arizona, is scheduled to face No. 4 Andrei Volgin of Fremont on Sunday at 10 a.m. Volgin outlasted unseeded Sam Gibson of Chico 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-4.
   In the other semifinal at 10 a.m., No. 2 seed Aryan Chaudhary of Santa Clara will meet No. 3 Daniel Baturyn of San Leandro. The final is set for 2 p.m.
NORCAL JUNIOR SECTIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday's schedule
Boys 18
At Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Eric Hadigian (1), Sacramento, vs. Andrei Volgin (4), Fremont, 10 a.m.
   Aryan Chaudhary (2), Santa Clara, vs. Daniel Baturyn (3), San Leandro, 10 a.m.
Singles final
   Players TBD, 2 p.m.
Doubles final
   Zachery Lim, Fairfield, and Daniel Papacica (1), Carmel, vs. James Bell, Fremont, and Aryan Chaudhary (5), Santa Clara, 5 p.m.
Boys 16
At Natomas Racquet Club in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Luke Casper (1), Santa Cruz, vs. Philip Martin (9), Los Altos, 8 a.m.
   Theodore Dean (2), Livermore, vs. Mason Fung (5), San Francisco, 9 a.m.
Singles final
   Players TBD, noon.
Doubles final
   Luke Casper, Santa Cruz, and Philip Martin (2), Los Altos, vs. Theodore Dean, Livermore, and Joseph Teh (4), San Jose, 3:30 p.m.
Girls 18
At Copper River Country Club in Fresno
Singles final
   Anna Campana (3), Hillsborough, vs. Muskan Mahajan, San Ramon, 8 a.m.
Doubles semifinals
   Anna Campana, Hillsborough, and Jennamarie Gordon (1), Saratoga, vs. Klara Kosan, Carmichael, and Jozephine Yen, Los Altos, 11 a.m.
   Katherine Duong, Cupertino, and Stephanie Nguyen (2), Fremont, vs. Taylor Gould, Los Altos, and Anna Yu, Palo Alto, 11 a.m.
Doubles final
   Teams TBD, 2 p.m.
Girls 16
At Copper River Country Club in Fresno
Singles final
   Tomi Main (1), Seaside, vs. Allura Zamarripa (2), Saint Helena, 8 a.m.
Doubles semifinals
   Allura Zamarripa and Maribella Zamarripa (1), Saint Helena, vs. Mirabelle Brettkelly and Claire Galerkin, San Francisco, 1 p.m.
   Tomi Main, Seaside, and Makenna Thiel (2), Piedmont, vs. Madison Weekley, Alamo, and Sophia Zaprianov, Concord, 1 p.m.
Doubles final
   Teams TBD, 3:30 p.m.
Boys 14
At Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Nicholas Chen (1), Oakland, vs. Luke Bollinger (9), Napa, 12:30 p.m.
   Dylan Tsoi (3), El Dorado Hills, vs. Ryan Hoang (5), San Rafael, 12:30 p.m.
Girls 14
At Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento
Singles semifinals
   Rhea Rai (1), Cupertino, vs. Emily Novikov (5), Campbell, 11:30 a.m.
   Emily Zhao (2), Cupertino, vs. Gayathri Krishnan (5), Cupertino, 11:30 a.m.
Doubles semifinals
   Maryia Hrynashka (1), Rancho Cordova, and Lauren Joyce (1), Lodi, vs. Gayathri Krishnan, Cupertino, and Kamila Wong, Palo Alto, 3:30 p.m.
   Sofia Daryaie, Los Gatos, and Emma Pell (2), San Rafael, vs. Ava Martin, Menlo Park, and Natasha Rajaram (4), Cupertino, 3:30 p.m.
Boys 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles semifinals
   Kosei Ogata (1), Saratoga, vs. Sterling Davies (3), El Dorado Hills, 9 a.m.
   Karthikeya Gannavarapu (4), Pleasanton, vs. Min Htun (5), Sacramento, 9 a.m.
Doubles quarterfinals
   Nav Dayal, Roseville, and Karthikeya Gannavarapu (1), Pleasanton, vs. Arnav Bhandari, San Ramon, and Jack Satterfield (5), Lafayette, 1:30 p.m.
   Ted Nguyen, Elk Grove, and Daniel Wu (3), El Dorado Hills, vs. Ajay Ravichandran, Union City, and Elbert Said (5), San Ramon, 1:30 p.m.
   Kosei Ogata and Somei Ogata (5), Saratoga, vs. Arin Pallegar, Granite Bay, and Tej Patil (4), San Jose, 1:30 p.m.
   Min Htun, Sacramento, and Luke Stratakos (2), Saratoga, vs. Dhyey Patel, Napa, and Aryan Yenni (5), Fremont, 1:30 p.m.
Girls 12
At University of the Pacific in Stockton
Singles semifinals
   Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, vs. Clarissa Sutami (9), Folsom, 9 a.m.
   Aoi Kunimoto (2), Palo Alto, vs. Penelope Wong (9), Mountain View, 9 a.m.
Doubles semifinals
   Anushka Jaiswal, Fremont, and Aspen Schuman (1), Menlo Park, vs. Clarissa Sutami, Folsom, and Penelope Wong, Mountain View, 1:30 p.m.
   Rachel Hernandez and Sophie Hernandez (2), Los Gatos, vs. Varsha Jawadi, San Mateo, and Mila Mulready, Burlingame, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, June 15, 2018

McDonald falls in first ATP quarterfinal, nears top 100

Mackenzie McDonald, playing in the San Francisco
Challenger in February, will rise to about No. 103
in the world after reaching his first ATP World Tour
quarterfinal. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Playing in his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal, wild card Mackenzie McDonald lost to Jeremy Chardy of France 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5) today on grass in the Libema Open in s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands.
   McDonald, a 23-year-old product of Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, led 4-2 in the third-set tiebreaker.
   The 31-year-old Chardy, ranked
No. 72, won the $147,000 Surbiton (Great Britain) Challenger on grass last week.
   McDonald, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 160 pounds (73 kilograms), stunned eighth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 6-2 in the first round and beat qualifier Alex Bolt, a 25-year-old left-hander from Australia, 6-4, 7-5 in the second round.
   Seppi, at No. 49, is the highest-ranked player McDonald has defeated. McDonald has beaten six other top-100 players.
   Two years after sweeping the NCAA singles and doubles titles as a UCLA junior and then turning pro, McDonald is on the verge of cracking the top 100 in the world. The protege of former world No. 6 Wayne Ferreira will rise from No. 110 to No. 101 in Monday's updated rankings.
   McDonald was 0-6 in ATP main-draw matches before s-Hertogenbosch but reached the second round of the Australian Open in January as a qualifier for his first Grand Slam main-draw victory. After beating qualifier Elias Ymer of Sweden in the first round of the main draw, McDonald lost to third-ranked Grigor Dimitov 8-6 in the fifth set.
   McDonald has won two Challenger singles titles: $100,000 tournaments in Fairfield, a 40-minute drive north of Piedmont, last October and Seoul last month.

Sacramento women's pro tourney moves to Berkeley

Amanda Anisimova won the $60,000 FSP Gold River Women's
Challenger at age 15 last July. Photo by Rob Vomund
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Five years ago, California's capital had several marquee tennis events.
   The 27th-largest metropolitan area in the country with a population of 2.3 million, Sacramento offered the Capitals of World TeamTennis, a $100,000 men's Challenger, a $50,000 women's Challenger, the Big Sky Conference championships and the USTA National 30 Indoor Championships.
   Now they're all gone. Sacramento also lost a four-man legends tournament featuring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and James Blake after only one year in 2014.
   The $60,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger, the latest big event to leave Sacramento, ended a six-year run last summer.
   "We lost our headline sponsor," tournament director Michael Burchett explained this week, referring to Freight Solution Providers (FSP), "and we had difficulty trying to replace them. ...
   "Sacramento has a lot of companies, but they have their decision-making outside of the area. We're competing with the Kings (of the NBA), the River Cats (the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate) and the Republic (of the United Soccer League). Unfortunately, these (tennis) events don't attract a lot of people, so it's hard to get sponsorship."
   Lielani Steers, the CEO of the shipping company based in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova, did not return a phone call for comment.
   Winning singles titles in the Gold River Women's Challenger were, in order, Modesto product Maria SanchezMayo Hibi of Japan, Olivia Rogowska of Australia, Anhelina Kalenina of Ukraine, Sofia Kenin of Pembroke Pines, Fla., and Amanda Anisimova of Aventura, Fla. Hibi (17), Kenin (17) and Anisimova (15) were teenagers at the time.
   Fortunately for Northern California fans, the tournament will be replaced by the $60,000 Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge, July 16-22. Past members of the Berkeley Tennis Club, founded in 1906, include International Tennis Hall of Famers Don Budge, Helen Wills Moody, Helen Jacobs and Hazel Wightman.
   "The USTA is giving (the Berkeley tournament more) money, and it's on the cheap," said Burchett, who would not divulge figures. "They don't have to put up shade, which is some savings."
   Heat could be a factor in the move. Summer temperatures in Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area are about 20 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius) cooler than in Sacramento in the scorching San Joaquin Valley.
   USTA coordinator Milagros Sequera also did not return a phone call.
   Technically, Berkeley will replace Stockton during the week of July 16, and a new $60,000 women's tournament in Ashland, Ky., will replace Sacramento. The $60,000 Stockton women's Challenger will be held concurrently with the $100,000 Stockton men's Challenger on Oct. 1-7.
   Singles qualifying for the Berkeley Tennis Club Challenge will begin on Sunday, July 15, at noon, and the singles main draw will start on Tuesday, July 17, at noon. The doubles and singles finals are scheduled for Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, respectively, at times to be determined.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Brooksby, 17, falls in $25,000 Buffalo Futures

Jenson Brooksby follows through on a serve
during practice in Sacramento last month.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Jenson Brooksby, a 17-year-old qualifier from Carmichael in the Sacramento area, lost to Markos Kalovelonis 6-4, 6-4 today in the second round of the Sargent & Collins, LLP Men's $25,000 Futures in Buffalo, N.Y.
   Kalovelonis, a 24-year-old native of Greece who plays for Russia, pounded nine aces and committed one double fault. Brooksby, who ousted second-seeded Emilio Gomez of Ecuador in the first round, had no aces or double faults.
   Earlier in the week, Brooksby and Alexander Knight fell to Patrick Daciek and Maksim Tikhomirov 5-7, 7-5 [11-9] in a first-round, all-American battle.
   After winning the Easter Bowl boys 18 singles title at Indian Wells in April, Brooksby verbally committed to Texas Christian. The home-schooled senior-to-be plans to enroll at the small, private university in Fort Worth either in the fall of 2019 or in January 2020.