Monday, April 27, 2015

Batta wins boys 18 title in Rio Del Oro tourney

   Note: Photos will be added to this story soon.
   SACRAMENTO -- Amit Batta has talked to the coaches at UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara and likes both schools.
   But the 16-year-old Los Altos resident has bigger aspirations.
   "My dream school is UCLA or Texas," Batta said Sunday after winning the boys 18 title at the Rio Del Oro Junior Excellence tournament at the Rio Del Oro Racquet Club. "I've always liked the combination of athletics and education, and I love their athletics and education.
   "Also, they're in great locations. Austin is a great city, and UCLA is in a nice part of Los Angeles. I have a ton of friends at UCLA."
   What about Stanford, just a lob away from Los Altos, or Cal across San Francisco Bay?
   "I'm very interested in them," conceded Batta, who lived in his parents' native India from age 10 to 15. "I'm hoping they reach out."
   Batta does have one concern, though.
   "My friends say Cal is overcrowded," he said.
   Batta, seeded second in the Rio Del Oro tournament, beat top-seeded Ajai Shekhera of Campbell 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 for the crown.
   In the girls 18 final, fourth-seeded Rachel Eason, 15, of Union City topped fifth-seeded Jessi Muljat, 14, of Sacramento 6-2, 6-4.
   Meanwhile, two tiny girls with huge talent, also playing up, breezed to titles.
   Third-seeded Katie Volynets, 13, of Walnut Creek overwhelmed unseeded Payton Saca of Sacramento, 6-0, 6-0 in the 16s.
   And top-seeded Connie Ma, 11, of Dublin, dominated unseeded Monica Stratakos of Saratoga 6-2, 6-1 in the 14s.
   Volynets, last year's USTA girls 12 national champion, is 4-foot-11 (1.5 meters) and 73 pounds (33.1 kilograms). Ma is 4-9 (1.45 meters) and 70 pounds (31.8 kilograms).
   Saca, who's 7 1/2 inches (19 centimeters) taller and 37 pounds (16.8 kilograms) heavier than Volynets, moderately praised her opponent.
   "She's a good player when she hits the ball in her strike zone," offered Saca, who's also 13 but 6 1/2 months older than Volynets. "She's very competitive. She doesn't give up." 
RIO DEL ORO JUNIOR EXCELLENCE
At Rio Del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento
Singles finals
   Boys 18 -- Amit Batta (2), Los Altos, def. Ajai Shekhera (1), Campbell, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   Boys 16 -- Daly Meinert (1), Fresno, def. Andre Xiao (3), Saratoga, 6-3, 6-0.
   Boys 14 -- Aditya Gupta (1), Los Altos, def. Stefan Leustian (2), Mather, 7-6 (10), 5-7, 3-1, ret.
   Boys 12 -- Anas Abdelouahid (2), San Jose, def. Aryan Chaudhary (5), Santa Clara, 4-6, 6-2 [10-5].
   Girls 18 -- Rachel Eason (4), Union City, def. Jessi Muljat (5), Sacramento, 6-2, 6-4.
   Girls 16 -- Katie Volynets (3), Walnut Creek, def. Payton Saca, Sacramento, 6-0, 6-0.
   Girls 14 -- Connie Ma (1), Dublin, def. Monica Stratakos, Saratoga, 6-2, 6-1.
   Girls 12 -- Vivian Ovrootsky (2), San Jose, def. Claire Galerkin (1), San Francisco, 5-2, ret.
Doubles finals
   Boys 18 -- Donald Hall, Chico, and Max Yun (1), Walnut Creek, def. Amit Batta, Los Altos, and Ajai Shekhera, Campbell, 8-5.
   Boys 16 -- Daly Meinert, Fresno, and Andre Xiao (1), Saratoga, def. Kailas Shekar, Saratoga, and Dean Stratakos (4), Saratoga, 8-5.
   Boys 14 -- Stefan Leustian, Mather, and Zachery Lim (2), Fairfield, def. Aidan Mayo, Roseville, and Coby McCaig (4), Modesto, 9-8 (6).
   Boys 12 -- Aryan Chaudhary, Santa Clara, and Jake Vassel (1), Danville, def. Max Fardanesh, Albany, and Geoffrey Golan (2), San Jose, 8-4.
   Girls 18 -- Sara Choy, Palo Alto, and Catalina Rico (1), San Jose, def. Sarah Hu, Oakland, and Katya Tabachnik (2), San Francisco, 8-3.
   Girls 16 -- Hind Abdelouahid, San Jose, and Abbie Mulbarger (1), Woodbridge, def. Jacquie Tan (2), Elk Grove, and Jessica Tsukigi (2), San Jose, 8-6.
   Girls 14 -- Katherine Duong, Cupertino, and Connie Ma, Dublin, def. India Houghton, Tiburon, and Alena Pruett (4), Mountain View, 8-6.
   Girls 12 --Claire Galerkin, San Francisco, and Maryia Lucia, Roseville, def. Alisha Chulani, Los Altos, and Katherine Simone, Morgan Hill, 8-6.

Cal's Fabikova falls in Pac-12 final

   Klara Fabikova lost a set 6-0 for the first time this season on Sunday.
   But the Cal junior, who lost to UCLA's Catherine Harrison 6-4, 6-0 in the final of the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, shouldn't feel too bad. Harrison crushed Utah's Tereza Bekerova 6-0, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
   Harrison, unseeded and ranked 67th, did not lose a set in her five matches, including a walkover in the semifinals.
   Fabikova, seeded fourth and ranked 25th, was trying to win Cal's first conference singles title since 2006.
   “When I started I didn’t feel as comfortable on the court as (Saturday),” Fabikova (31-8), from the Czech Republic, said on calbears.com of her semifinal win over top-seeded and 18th-ranked Giuliana Olmos of USC. “I felt this pressure right away. I was up 2-0 at one point, but I didn’t really feel like myself today.
   "It was a little harder to play my game today. She hit the ball flatter than all the other girls, and I had less time for everything – less time to get to the ball, less time to prepare. She played really well and served really well. She didn’t make many mistakes.”
   None of the top three women in the country -- No. 1 Robin Anderson of UCLA, No. 2 Carol Zhao of Stanford or No. 3 Maegan Manasse of Cal -- played singles in the Pac-12 Championships. Nor did No. 17 Taylor Davidson of Stanford.
   In an all-Stanford doubles final, top-seeded Davidson and Zhao beat fourth-seeded Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay 7-5, 6-2. Anderson didn't play doubles, either.
   Big Sky Conference Championships in Gold River -- The Sacramento State women's streak of 13 tournament titles ended with a 4-3 loss to Idaho at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   At 3-3, Lucia Badillos defeated Olivia Boija 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 at the No. 6 spot. Boija led 5-1 in the second set. Sac State (17-11) was seeded first and Idaho (15-8) second.
   Idaho swept the titles in its first year in the Big Sky. The second-seeded men topped sixth-seeded Northern Arizona 4-2.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

USC men rally to beat Stanford for Pac-12 title

   The Stanford men twice were on the verge of winning the Pac-12 Championships but couldn't prevail.
    Leading 3-2, the 26th-ranked Cardinal dropped the last two matches to No. 8 USC on Saturday in Ojai.
   No. 67 Nick Crystal got the Trojans, coming off their fifth NCAA team title in six years, even with a 7-6 (tiebreaker score not available), 6-4 victory over Maciek Romanwicz on Court 6.
   In the deciding match on Court 2, No. 100 Eric Johnson defeated No. 69 John Morrissey 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
   USC (22-4) earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which begins on May 8 at sites around the country. Stanford (17-6) likely will receive an at-large berth when the field is announced on Tuesday.
   In the women's (individual) tournament, fourth-seeded Klara Fabikova of Cal routed top-seeded Giuliana Olmos of USC 6-1, 6-2 to reach the final. Olmos, a junior, is from Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   Fabikova, a junior from the Czech Republic, will meet unseeded Catherine Harrison of UCLA. Harrison advanced when Zoe Scandalis of USC pulled out with an undisclosed injury.
   None of the top three women in the country -- No. 1 Robin Anderson of UCLA, No. 2 Carol Zhao of Stanford or No. 3 Maegan Manasse of Cal -- played singles. Nor did No. 17 Taylor Davidson of Stanford. Anderson didn't play doubles, either.
   In an all-Stanford doubles final, top-seeded Davidson and Zhao will play fourth-seeded Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay.
   Mountain West Conference Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. -- Top-seeded Fresno State and third-seeded San Jose State lost heartbreakers in the women's semifinals.
   The Bulldogs fell to fifth-seeded Wyoming 4-3, and the Spartans succumbed to second-seeded New Mexico by the same score.
   Fresno State trailed 3-0, but Sophie Watts, the Mountain West Player of the Year, saved two match points on Court 1 and pulled the Bulldogs even at 3-3. Then Wyoming's Silviya Zhelyazkova edged Anne Susdorf 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) on Court 6. Susdorf had two match points serving at 6-5 in the third set.   
   San Jose State squandered a 3-1 lead. In the deciding match, Sharon Coone topped Abbie Pahz 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 on Court 6. 
   Big Sky Conference Championships in Gold River -- The top-seeded Sacramento State women trounced fourth-seeded Northern Arizona 4-0 to reach the final at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento region.
   The Hornets (17-10), seeking their 14th consecutive Big Sky tournament title, will face No. 2 Idaho today at 2 p.m. Admission is free. The Vandals outclassed No. 3 Montana 4-1.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Stanford men beat Cal to reach Pac-12 final

   The Stanford men avenged a loss to archrival Cal and reached the final of the Pac-12 Championships.
   The Cardinal, seeded first and ranked 26th, routed the Bears, seeded fourth and ranked 25th, 4-1 on Friday in Ojai. Cal had beaten host Stanford 4-3 six days earlier to end the Cardinal's winning streak at 10 matches and relegate Stanford to a share of the conference title with USC.
   Stanford (17-5) will meet USC (21-4), seeded second and ranked eighth, today at 5 p.m. for the Pac-12 title. The teams split their two regular-season matches. The Trojans are coming off their fifth NCAA team title in six years.
   In the women's individual tournament, fourth-seeded Klara Fabikova of Cal trounced Jennifer Brady of UCLA 6-0, 6-1 to reach the semifinals. Brady, who won the $25,000 Redding Challenger last September, is ranked No. 208 in the world.
   Fabikova, a junior from the Czech Republic, will play top-seeded Giuliana Olmos of USC today at 10:30 a.m. Olmos, a junior from Fremont in the San Francisco Bay Area, topped sixth-seeded Desirae Krawczyk of Arizona State 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   In the other semifinal, Zoe Scandalis of USC will face Catherine Harrison of UCLA at 10:30 a.m.
   None of the top three women in the country -- No. 1 Robin Anderson of UCLA, No. 2 Carol Zhao of Stanford or No. 3 Maegan Manasse of Cal -- played singles. Nor did No. 17 Taylor Davidson of Stanford. Anderson didn't play doubles, either.
   The doubles semifinals feature two Stanford-Cal matchups. Top-seeded Davidson and Zhao will play third-seeded Manasse and Denise Starr, and second-seeded Fabikova and Zsofi Susanyi will battle fourth-seeded Caroline Doyle and Ellen Tsay of Stanford.
   Big Sky Conference Championships in Gold River -- The fifth-seeded Sacramento State men suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to fourth-seeded Montana State in the quarterfinals at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area. With the score tied 3-3, Niklas Brandes edged Sean Kolar 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 (tiebreaker scores not available).
   The top-seeded Sac State women, who received a first-round bye, are scheduled to play fourth-seeded Northern Arizona in the semifinals today at 2 p.m.
   West Coast Conference Championships in San Diego -- All four semifinal teams from Northern California lost in the men's and women's tournaments.
  In the men's bracket, second-seeded Pepperdine dominated third-seeded USF 4-1, and top-seeded San Diego overwhelmed fourth-seeded Pacific 4-0.
   On the women's side, second-seeded Portland hammered third-seeded USF 4-0, and top-seeded Pepperdine whipped fourth-seeded Saint Mary's 4-0. 
   Big West Conference Championships in Indian Wells -- The UC Davis men and women were eliminated.
   The second-seeded men lost to third-seeded UC Santa Barbara 4-1 in the semifinals, and the sixth-seeded women fell to third-seeded UCSB 4-0 in the quarterfinals.
   Mountain West Conference Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. -- Top-seeded Fresno State women and third-seeded San Jose State easily advanced to the women's semifinals.
   The Bulldogs will meet fifth-seeded Wyoming, and the Spartans will take on second-seeded New Mexico.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Cal men barely survive in Pac-12 quarterfinals

   The 25th-ranked Cal men battled back numerous times and narrowly averted an upset loss to No. 50 Oregon in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai.
   Gregory Bayane defeated Simon Stevens 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 on Court 3 on Thursday to give the fourth-seeded Bears (18-7) a 4-3 victory over the fifth-seeded Ducks (15-9).
   “We knew going into this that Oregon would be a tough match today,” Cal coach Peter Wright said on calbears.com. “Unfortunately, we dug ourselves quite a hole today by losing the doubles point and the first set in four of the singles matches. We were down match points at No. 4 singles, and Oregon served for the match at No. 3.
   "I have to give credit to our guys for how hard we fought to get back in the match today – the Bears did not quit. Gregory Bayane showed tremendous grit when he clinched the match for us because he was on the brink of cramping at the end.”
   Archrivals will meet in both of today's semifinals. Cal will face top-seeded and 26th-ranked Stanford at noon, and second-seeded USC will play third-seeded UCLA at 3 p.m.
   The Trojans are coming off their fifth NCAA team title in six years. Mackenzie McDonald, a sophomore from Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, plays No. 1 singles and doubles for the Bruins.
   In women's singles, top-seeded Giuliana Olmos of USC and fourth-seeded Klara Fabikova of Cal each won two straight-set matches to reach the quarterfinals.
   Olmos, a junior from Fremont in the Bay Area, will take on Nia Rose of Oregon. Fabikova, a junior from the Czech Republic, will go against UCLA's Jennifer Brady, the reigning champion of the $25,000 Redding Challenger who's ranked No. 208 in the world.
   None of the top three players in the country -- No. 1 Robin Anderson of UCLA, No. 2 Carol Zhao of Stanford or No. 3 Maegan Manasse of Cal -- is playing singles. Nor is No. 17 Taylor Davidson of Stanford.
   Davidson and Zhao are seeded first in doubles, which begins today, and ranked second nationally. Manasse and Denise Starr are seeded third and ranked eighth. Anderson isn't playing doubles, either.
   West Coast Championships in San Diego -- The third-seeded USF men and fourth-seeded coasted into the semifinals. The Dons will play No. 2 Pepperdine, and the Tigers will face No. 1 San Diego.
   In the women's tournament, third-seeded USF and fourth-seeded Saint Mary's advanced to the semis with 4-0 victories. The Dons will meet No. 2 Portland, and the Gaels will battle No. 1 Pepperdine.
   Mountain West Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. -- The fifth-seeded Boise State men whipped fourth-seeded Fresno State 4-0 in the quarterfinals.
   On the women's side, top-seeded Fresno State and third-seeded San Jose State will play today in the quarterfinals. The Bulldogs are led by Mountain West Player of the Year Sophie Watts, a junior from England.

Fresno St. woman named top Mountain West player

   Fresno State's Sophie Watts was named the Women's Player of the Year in the Mountain West Conference this week.
   Watts, a junior from England, is ranked 75th nationally. She is 21-2 in singles with a 21-match winning streak.
   Watts' teammate, Maiar Sherif Ahmed, was chosen as the Freshman of the Year. Ahmed, from Egypt, is 20-3 in singles.
ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
(Northern California players only)
Women
   Singles -- Sophie Watts, Fresno State; Maiar Sherif Ahmed, Fresno State; Rana Sherif Ahmed, Fresno State; Sybille Gauvain, San Jose State; Marie Klocker, San Jose State.
   Doubles -- Anneka Watts and Sophie Watts, Fresno State; Maiar Sherif Ahmed and Rana Sherif Ahmed, Fresno State; Marie Klocker and Gaelle Rey, San Jose State   
Men
   Singles -- Euan McIntosh, Fresno State. 
   Doubles -- Adam Glynn and Euan McIntosh, Fresno State
ALL-WEST COAST CONFERENCE
(Northern California players only)
Men
   First-team singles -- Miguel Diaz, Pacific; Bernardo Saraiva, USF.
   Second-team singles -- Ashot Khacharyan, Santa Clara; Ilya Osintsev, Santa Clara.
   Singles honorable mention -- Jose Chamba, Pacific; Arthur Weber, Saint Mary's; Nils Skajaa, USF;  Thomas Takemoto, USF.
   First-team doubles -- Bernardo Saraiva and Nils Skajaa, USF.
   Second-team doubles -- Sam Bertram and Ilya Osintsev, Santa Clara; Mikheil Khmiadashvili and Ashot Khacharyan, Santa Clara.
   Doubles honorable mention -- Miguel Diaz and Jose Chamba, Pacific; Marlon Brand and Daniel Alameh, Pacific.
Women
   First-team singles -- Andrea Ka, USF.
   Second-team singles -- Hana Ritterova, Pacific; Danielle Flores, Saint Mary's; Thyra Taune, USF; Delphine Rouvillois, Santa Clara.
   Singles honorable mention -- Iveta Masarova, Pacific; Jana McCord, Saint Mary's; Jamie Pawid, Saint Mary's; Kareena Manji, Saint Mary's; Millica Hadzi-Tanovic, USF.
   First-team doubles -- Andrea Ka and Marina Nikolic, USF.
   Second-team doubles -- Kareena Manji and Jamie Pawid, Saint Mary's; Parminder Kaur and Jana McCord, Saint Mary's; Iveta Masarova and Hana Ritterova, Pacific.
   Doubles honorable mention -- Nabila Farah and Daniella Silva, Santa Clara. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NorCal teams go 0-4 in West Coast tourney openers

   All four Northern California teams in action today lost in the first round of the West Coast Conference Championships in San Diego.
   The seventh-seeded Santa Clara women (7-12) dropped a heartbreaker, 4-3 to 10th-seeded Loyola Marymount (5-19). With the overall match tied 3-3, Anna Romeka outlasted Danielle Silva 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 3 position.
   Also, the ninth-seeded San Diego women (4-14) triumphed 4-2 against eighth-seeded Pacific (8-13). 
   On the men's side, seventh-seeded BYU (10-17) rolled to a 4-1 victory over Saint Mary's (4-18), and ninth-seeded Gonzaga (11-10) romped 4-0 against eighth-seeded Santa Clara (9-13). It was the Bulldogs' first win in the WCC Championships since 2008.
   In Thursday's quarterfinals, the third-seeded USF women will face sixth-seeded Gonzaga, the fourth-seeded Saint Mary's women will take on fifth-seeded BYU, and the fourth-seeded Pacific men will meet fifth-seeded Portland.
   The top six seeds in both the men's and women's draws received first-round byes.