Wednesday, May 25, 2016

French Open Day 4 highlights: Murray survives again

Andy Murray survived a five-setter for the second straight
match in the French Open. 2015 photo by Paul Bauman
   Five highlights from Day 4 of the French Open:
   1. Second-seeded Andy Murray survived a five-setter for the second straight match, beating 22-year-old French wild card Mathias Bourgue 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the second round.
   "He was excellent," Murray said after the 3-hour, 34-minute match. "He was the one dictating a lot of the points, making me run a lot right to the end, even when I had a big lead in the fifth set. He's going to have a fantastic future for sure."
   Murray won the first of his 36 tour-level titles in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose at 18 in 2006 and repeated in 2007. Those were his only appearances in the tournament.
   2. Ivo Karlovic, 37, of Croatia became the oldest man to reach the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since Jimmy Connors advanced to the U.S. Open semifinals 25 years ago.
   The 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Karlovic, seeded 27th, edged wild card Jordan Thompson of Australia 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (3), 6-7 (4), 12-10 in 4 hours, 31 minutes.
   Karlovic will face Murray in the third round. If Karlovic pulls off an upset, he could play 6-foot-10 (2.08-meter) John Isner, seeded 15th, in the round of 16.
   Karlovic leads Isner 3-2 in the head-to-head series, winning the last meeting 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) in the first round on a hardcourt in Acapulco in 2014.
   3. Gilles Simon's victory lasted one more minute than Karlovic's.
   Simon, a Frenchman seeded 16th, needed seven match points to outlast Guido Pella of Argentina 4-6, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4), 6-4. Pella, a 26-year-old left-hander, served for the match at 6-5 in the fourth set.
   4. Speaking of marathons, 25th-seeded Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania topped CoCo Vandeweghe of the United States 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 10-8 in 3 hours, 38 minutes. It was the longest WTA match this year.
   Vandeweghe reached the final of the 2012 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford as a lucky loser, falling to Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3. Vandeweghe held a set point in the first set.
   5. Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka, the defending champion, and second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets.
Northern California results
Men's doubles
First round  
   Brian Baker, United States, and Marcus Daniell, New Zealand, def. Marcos Baghdatis, Cyprus, and Dmitry Tursunov, Russia native who trains in Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, 6-3, 6-2.
Women's doubles
First round
   Raquel Atawo, San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal, and Abigail Spears (8), United States, def. Johanna Konta, Great Britain, and Maria Sanchez, born and raised in Modesto, 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-4.

NCAA first-round singles results

NCAA DIVISION I CHAMPIONSHIPS
Today in Tulsa, Okla.
Northern California results only
Men's singles
First round
   Tom Fawcett (9-16), Stanford, def. Nicolas Alvarez, Duke, 6-2, 6-3.
   Sam Shropshire, Northwestern, def. Alec Adamson, UC Davis, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5.
   Mackenzie McDonald (6), UCLA junior from Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area, def. Ryotaro Matsamura, Kentucky, 6-0, 6-2.
   Ryan Shane (8), defending champion from Virginia, def. Andre Goransson, Cal, 6-2, 7-6 (0).
   Gabriel Friedrich, South Carolina, def. Florian Lakat, Cal, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4).
Women's singles
First round
   Maegan Manasse (6), Cal, def. Caroline Brinson, Georgia, 6-3, 6-2.
   Jessica Golovin, LSU, def. Mayar Sherif Ahmed, Fresno State, 6-4, 7-6 (4).
   Breaunna Addison (9-16), Texas, def. Giuliana Olmos, USC senior from Fremont in San Francisco Bay Area, 6-4, 6-0.  
   Klara Fabikova (9-16), Cal, def. Beatriz Machado Santos, Missouri, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Stanford women, Virginia men win NCAA titles

   They were seeded 15th.
   They faced the nation's top-ranked team, the NCAA defending champion and the "home" team.
   Four of their six dual matches came down to the last encounter.
   And they trailed 3-1 in the final.
   The Stanford women overcame all of it to win their 18th NCAA team title.
   Taylor Davidson won the deciding match for the third time in this year's NCAA Championships, giving the Cardinal a 4-3 victory over 12th-seeded Oklahoma State today in Tulsa, Okla.
   "My dreams just became reality," the 46th-ranked Davidson, a junior from Statesville, N.C., tweeted after vanquishing No. 44 Vladica Babic 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Court 2. "We are the 2016 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!!! Nothing compares to this feeling. Nothing. Number 15? No. Number 1."
   About 700 fans made the one-hour drive from Stillwater, Okla., where Oklahoma State is located, to cheer on the Cowgirls (29-5).
   With Oklahoma State leading 3-1, Stanford freshmen Caroline Lampl and Melissa Lord won on Court 5 and 6, respectively, after losing the first set.
Collin Altamirano of Sacramento
has won two NCAA team titles in
his two years at Virginia. 2014
photo by Paul Bauman
   Stanford (20-5) beat Florida, ranked first but seeded second, 4-3 in the round of 16 and sixth-ranked Vanderbilt, the defending champion, 4-2 in the semifinals.
   The Cardinal leads all schools with its 18 NCAA team titles. Florida is next with six.
   The NCAA Men's and Women's Singles and Doubles Championships begin Wednesday in Tulsa.
   Men's final -- In a virtual replay of last year's final, top-ranked Virginia defeated No. 11 Oklahoma 4-1. The Cavaliers defeated the Sooners 4-2 for the 2015 title in Waco, Texas.
   Virginia (30-4) won its third NCAA team title in four years and appeared in the final for the fifth time in six years. Oklahoma (20-11) still seeks its first NCAA title after losing in the final for the past three years.
   Henrik Wiersholm, a sophomore from Kirkland, Wash., won the clinching match on Court 6.
   No. 33 Collin Altamirano, a Virginia sophomore from Sacramento, Calif., trailed No. 25 Axel Alvarez Llamas 7-5, 4-3 on Court 2 when their match was abandoned. Altamirano won at No. 3 doubles to help the Cavaliers win the doubles point.
   Oklahoma is coached by John Roddick, the older brother of former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.
   ITA awards -- Cal's Amanda Augustus was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Women's Coach of the Year.
   The Bears won their first National Women's Team Indoor championship and opened the dual-match season with a school-record 19 consecutive victories.
   Ranked No. 1 for most of the season, Cal was seeded first in the NCAA Championships and reached the semifinals before falling to Oklahoma State. The Bears finished 23-2.
   Sem Verbeek, a senior on the Pacific men's team, received the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award.
Women's final
No. 15 Stanford 4, No. 12 Oklahoma State 3
Doubles
   1. No. 43 Maria Alvarez and Kelsey Laurente (OSU) def. No. 5 Taylor Davidson and Caroline Doyle, 6-3.
   2. No. 54 Viktoriya Lushkova and Carla Tur Mari (OSU) def. No. 31 Melissa Lord and Carol Zhao, 5-5, suspended.
   3. No. 79 Katarina Adamovic and Vladica Babic (OSU) def. Krista Hardebeck and Caroline Lampl, 6-1.
   Order of finish: 3, 1
Singles
   1. No. 47 Katarina Adamovic (OSU) def. No. 25 Carol Zhao, 6-4, 7-5.
   2. No. 46 Taylor Davidson (STAN) def. No. 44 Vladica Babic, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.
   3. No. 66 Viktoriya Lushkova (OSU) def. No. 67 Caroline Doyle, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
   4. No. 100 Krista Hardebeck (STAN) def. Kelsey Laurente, 6-4, 6-4.
   5. Caroline Lampl (STAN) def. Katarina Stresnakova, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
   6. Melissa Lord (STAN) def. Carla Tur Mari, 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2.
   Order of finish: 4, 1, 3, 5, 6, 2
Men's final
No. 1 Virginia 4, No. 11 Oklahoma 1
Doubles
   1. No. 4 Luca Corinteli and Ryan Shane (VA) def. No. 24 Axel Alvarez Llamas and Andrew Harris, 7-5.
   2. Alex Ghilea and Spencer Papa (OKLA) def. No. 16 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mac Styslinger, 7-5.
   3. J.C. Aragone and Collin Altamirano (VA) def. Andre Biro and Austin Siegel, 6-1.
Order of finish: 3, 2, 1
Singles
   1. No. 97 Andrew Harris (OKLA) def. No. 8 Ryan Shane, 7-6 (3), 6-0.
   2. No. 25 Axel Alvarez Llamas (OKLA) led No. 33 Collin Altamirano, 7-5, 4-3, unfinished.
   3. No. 9 Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (VA) def. No. 82 Spencer Papa, 6-4, 6-4.
   4. No. 78 Alexander Ritschard (VA) led No. 61 Alex Ghilea, 6-1, 1-6, 5-2, unfinished.
   5. No. 110 J.C. Aragone (VA) def. Florin Bragusi, 6-3, 6-4.
   6. Henrik Wiersholm (VA) def. Andre Biro, 6-2, 7-6 (2).
   Order of finish: 5, 3, 1, 6

French Open Day 3 highlights: Kerber ousted, etc.

Angelique Kerber slugs a forehand during her victory over Karolina
Pliskova in the final of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last
August. Mal Taam/www.malt.photo
   Five highlights from Day 3 of the French Open:
   1. Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands upset third-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the first round. In retrospect, it's not terribly surprising.
   Whereas Bertens swept the clay-court Nuremberg titles last week (qualifying in singles), Kerber was coming off two first-round losses on clay.
   Kerber won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last August and stunned Serena Williams in the Australian Open in January for her first Grand Slam title at age 28.
   Although Kerber has had some good results since Melbourne, it's natural to suffer a letdown after achieving a lifetime goal. In such cases, it often takes a year or more to regain intensity.
   2. Fifth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus retired with a right knee injury with Karin Knapp of Italy leading 6-3, 6-7 (6), 4-0. This, too, was less than shocking.
   Azarenka, the Bank of the West Champion in 2010, has battled injuries since winning the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013. She recovered to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back on hardcourts in March and April, but the grind took a toll.
   Azarenka withdrew from her third-round match in Madrid on clay earlier this month with a back injury and lost meekly in her Rome opener the following week.
   3. Second-seeded Andy Murray of Great Britain completed a 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 victory over 37-year-old qualifier Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.
   The match was halted by darkness on Monday with Murray leading 4-2 in the fourth set.
   Murray and Stepanek won three titles combined in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose, Calif. Murray captured the first of his 36 tour-level championships there at 18 in 2006 and repeated in 2007 in his only two appearances in the tournament. Stepanek triumphed in 2009 and reached a career-high No. 4 in 2012.
   4. Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams and fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal won easily.
   Djokovic, attempting to become the eighth man to earn a career Grand Slam, dismantled Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.
   Williams, trying to tie Steffi Graf for second place all-time with 22 major singles titles, demolished Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-2, 6-0 in 44 minutes. Williams won the Bank of the West in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
   Nadal, seeking to become the first player in the Open era (since 1968) to win 10 singles titles in a Grand Slam tournament, dismissed Australian Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in 80 minutes.
   Groth is credited with the world's fastest serve, 163.7 mph (263.4 kph) in the 2012 Busan (South Korea) Challenger.
   5. Dmitry Tursunov, a 33-year-old Russian who trains in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, lost to 14th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
   The injury-prone Tursunov, who reached a career-high No. 20 in 2006, hadn't played a match since mid-April or won one since mid-March. His manager, Michael Gorin, wrote in an e-mail last week that "Dmitry is not at 100 percent" but would not elaborate.

Stanford women reach NCAA final; top seed Cal upset

   A San Francisco Bay Area school will play for the NCAA Division I women's team title, but not the one most people expected.
   Stanford, ranked and seeded 15th, surprised sixth-ranked Vanderbilt, the defending champion, 4-2, on Monday in Tulsa, Okla. Cal, ranked second but seeded first, lost to 12th-ranked Oklahoma State 4-3.
   Freshman Caroline Lampl clinched Stanford's victory for a team-high seventh time, outlasting Fernanda Contreras 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-3 on Court 5.
   Cal's Lynn Chi, ranked 80th, fell to Viktoriya Lushkova, ranked 66th, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the deciding match on Court 2.
  Chi, the NCAA runner-up as a sophomore in 2014, ended her Cal career. She was not selected for the NCAA singles or doubles tournaments, which start on Wednesday.
   About 600 fans made the one-hour drive from Stillwater, Okla., where Oklahoma State is located, to Tulsa to cheer on the Cowgirls (29-4).
   Cal finished the season at 23-2.
   Today's final is scheduled for 10 a.m. PDT (live streaming at ncaa.com).
   Stanford (19-5) has won a record 17 NCAA women's team titles, most recently in 2013. Florida is second with six.
   Oklahoma State (29-4) will take an 18-match winning streak into its first NCAA final.
   Today's 4 p.m. men's final (live streaming at ncaa.com) between top-ranked Virginia (29-4) and No. 11 Oklahoma (20-10) will be a rematch of last year's title contest, which the Cavaliers won 4-1 in Waco, Texas.
   Virginia rolled to a 4-0 victory over No. 13 Cal (21-6), and Oklahoma edged No. 7 Georgia 4-3.
   No. 33 Collin Altimirano, a Virginia sophomore from Sacramento, Calif., led No. 31 Andre Goransson 6-4, 2-3 on Court 2 when their match was abandoned.
   Virginia, which also won the title in 2013, will play in the final for the fifth time in six years. Oklahoma also was the runner-up (to USC) in 2014.
   The Sooners are coached by John Roddick, the older brother of former world No. 1 Andy Roddick.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Gibbs, Querrey fall in first round of French Open

Heather Watson of Great Britain won all five
games in the resumption of a suspended match
to beat ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs in the
first round of the French Open. 2012 photo
by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs suffered an agonizing loss and Sam Querrey's Grand Slam struggles continued today in the French Open.
   Gibbs, a 23-year-old former Stanford All-American from Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area, lost all five games in the resumption of a suspended match and fell to Heather Watson of Great Britain 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 in Paris.
   The match between the doubles partners had been halted by rain on Sunday with Gibbs serving at 40-30. After 27 minutes today, it was over.
   "Obviously disappointed but looking forward to being on the same side of the net as this one later this week," Gibbs tweeted with a photo of her shaking hands with Watson after the loss.
   Watson, who laced 46 winners to Gibbs' 14, likely secured a spot on the British Olympic team with the victory. Gibbs, meanwhile, fell to 0-3 in the French Open, including a 2014 loss in qualifying.
   Watson, ranked No. 56, evened her career record against Gibbs, No. 72, at 1-1 and set up a match against 13th-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, held off Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
   Watson twice came within two points of stunning Serena Williams in the third round at Wimbledon last year before falling 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Watson led 3-0 (two service breaks) in the third set and served for the match at 5-4, but Williams rallied and went on win her sixth Wimbledon crown.
   Like Gibbs, the 24-year-old Watson has a Stanford connection. She teamed with Marina Erakovic of New Zealand to win the doubles title in the 2012 Bank of the West Classic on Gibbs' former home courts.
   Querrey, a 28-year-old San Francisco native living in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, lost to U.S. wild card Bjorn Fratangelo, the 2011 French Open boys singles champion, 6-3, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 6-3.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey, ranked No. 37, has won one match in his last six Grand Slam tournaments since reaching the third round of the 2014 U.S. Open.
   Also, Querrey has lost in the first round of singles in seven of his 10 appearances in the French Open. He advanced to the third round in 2013 for his best result at Roland Garros.
   Fratangelo, who was named after Bjorn Borg, made his French Open main-draw debut at 22 with a career-high ranking of No. 103.
   Fratangelo is one of only three Americans in the Open era (since 1968) to win the French Open boys singles title, along with John McEnroe (1977) and Tommy Paul (2015).
   Fratangelo will play ninth-seeded Richard Gasquet of France. Gasquet dismissed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-1, 6-3, 6-4.

Gibbs leads Watson in suspended French Open match

Nicole Gibbs, who starred at Stanford, leads Heather Watson of Great
Britain in the first round of the French Open. 2016 photo by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs, a former Stanford star from Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area, led Heather Watson of Great Britain 7-5, 2-6, 2-1 (one service break) on Sunday when rain suspended their first-round match in the French Open in Paris.
   The match is scheduled to resume today after a 2 a.m. PDT men's singles encounter, although rain is forecast again.
   Watson, ranked No. 54, faces more pressure in the match than No. 72 Gibbs. Watson, 24, has points to defend after reaching the second round at Roland Garros last year and is trying to qualify for the Olympics. The 23-year-old Gibbs, who seeks her first career French Open victory, has neither of those issues.
   Watson twice came within two points of stunning Serena Williams in the third round at Wimbledon last year before falling 6-2, 4-6, 7-5. Watson led 3-0 (two service breaks) in the third set and served for the match at 5-4. Williams went on to win the title.
   Sam Querrey, a 28-year-old San Francisco native living in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, is scheduled to play U.S. wild card Bjorn Fratangelo, who won the 2011 French Open boys singles title, today in the first round.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey is ranked No. 37, and Fratangelo is a career-high No. 104.
   Querrey won the Geneva doubles title last week with fellow Los Angeles-area resident Steve Johnson.