Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bay Area's Saviano stuns fifth seed in national 40s

   Unseeded John Saviano of Los Altos Hills surprised fifth-seeded Greg Failla of Ramona 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 Wednesday in the round of 16 at the USTA National Men's and Women's 40 Hard Court Championships in La Jolla.
   Saviano is scheduled to meet top seed and defending champion Jeff Tarango of Manhattan Beach on Thursday morning in the quarterfinals. The 43-year-old Tarango, who reached No. 10 in the world in doubles in 1999 and No. 42 in singles in 1992, drubbed John Morris of Chicago 6-0, 6-3.
   Second-seeded Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale and third-seeded Jeff Greenwald of Corte Madera also moved into the quarterfinals, but eighth-seeded Curtis Dunn of San Francisco fell to ninth-seeded Andy Stewart of Huntington Beach 6-2, 6-1.
   In the women's singles quarterfinals, top seed and five-time champion Gretchen Magers routed unseeded Stephanie Stone of Carpinteria (near Santa Barbara) 6-2, 6-1. Magers, 47, climbed to No. 13 in the world in singles in 1985.
   Third-seeded Brian Cory of Salinas and Rick Kepler of Aptos reached the men's doubles quarterfinals, and second-seeded Alissa Finerman of Santa Monica and Erika Smith of Oakland advanced to the women's doubles semifinals.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tarango breezes in USTA 40 Hard Courts

   Jeff Tarango finally got on the court in the USTA National Men's and Women's 40 Hard Court Championships.
   Briefly.
   The former Stanford All-American and ex-touring professional routed Mark Bonfigli of Burlington, Vt., 6-1, 6-0 Tuesday in the third round in La Jolla. Tarango, 43, of Manhattan Beach had received a bye in the first round and walkover in the second round. 
   Also advancing to the round of 16 were second-seeded Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale, third-seeded Jeff Greenwald of Corte Madera, eighth-seeded Curtis Dunn of San Francisco and unseeded John  Saviano of Los Altos Hills.
   Northern California's two representatives in women's singles, both unseeded, lost badly to seeds in the second round. Nicole Samuel of Tiburon was blanked by No. 3 Amy Alcini of Malibu 6-0, 6-0, and Kim Boyden of Corte Madera fell to No. 4 Kim-Trang Nguyen of Santa Ana 6-2, 6-0.
   In men's doubles, eighth-seeded Karl Gifford of Alpharetta, Ga., and Motevassel reached the second round, but Dave Kuhn of Elk Grove and Alex Levie of Solana Beach lost to Andrew Chase of Sherman Oaks and Brian Joelson of Beaverton, Ore., 6-1, 6-3.  

Tarango has easy time in USTA 40s; new rankings

   Jeff Tarango hasn't struck a ball yet, but he's in the third round of the USTA National Men's and Women's 40 Hard Court Championships.
   The top seed, defending champion and former Stanford All-American received a bye in the first round and a walkover against Kosei Ohno of Kirkland, Wash., on Monday in the second round in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif.
   Tarango, 43, of Manhattan Beach reached No. 10 in the world in doubles in 1999 and No. 42 in singles in 1992. He and fellow left-hander Goran Ivanisevic of Croatia lost to Indian stars Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the 1999 French Open doubles final.
   Also reaching the third round Monday were second-seeded Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale, Calif., third-seeded Jeff Greenwald of Corte Madera, Calif., eighth-seeded Curtis Dunn of San Francisco and John Saviano of Los Altos Hills, Calif. Sunnyvale, Corte Madera and Los Altos Hills are in the San Francisco Bay Area.
   After receiving a first-round bye, Dave Kuhn of Elk Grove, Calif., in the Sacramento area lost to Jimmy Gleason of Laguna Beach, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the second round.
   In women's singles, Nicole Samuel of Tiburon, Calif., across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, defeated Olivia Burgos of Los Angeles 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
  John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 117 in doubles (+1), unranked in singles.
  Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 762 in singles (-2), No. 1,255 in doubles (-9).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 58 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 29 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 105 in doubles (-1), No. 753 in singles (-1).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 287 in singles (-4), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 93 in singles (no change), No. 38 in doubles (no change).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 40 in singles (no change), No. 237 in doubles
(-1).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 501 in doubles (-3), No. 1,514 in singles (-3).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 274 in singles (-1), No. 523 in doubles (-1).
Women
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 76 in singles (no change).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), No. 721 in singles (-4).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 265 in doubles (+1), No. 694 in singles (-1).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- Career-high No. 179 in doubles (no change), No. 411 in singles (-4). 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Federer wins 6th ATP Finals; USTA 40 Hard Courts set

   A disappointing year ended on a high note for Roger Federer.
   After failing to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2002, the fourth-seeded Federer defeated sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3 Sunday for a record sixth title in the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
  "I know it's one of my greatest accomplishments," Federer, who earned $1.63 million, told reporters. "This definitely is an amazing finish again to the season. I've never finished so strong."
   The 30-year-old Federer, who had shared the record with Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras, played in his 100th career final and won his 70th title. He ended the year with a 17-match winning streak that also included titles in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland, and Paris.
   In this year's Wimbledon quarterfinals, Tsonga became the first player to beat Federer after trailing two sets to none. It appeared the 26-year-old Frenchman might pull off another comeback in London when Federer failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set and squandered a match point in the tiebreaker.
   But Federer -- who also blew a two-sets-to-none lead, and wasted two match points, against Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open semifinals -- broke for 5-3 in the third set and served out the match at love.
   "He's the best player indoors for the moment," said Tsonga, who pocketed $740,000. "He's maybe the best player ever, because he's really quick. He's playing well. That's it."
   Third-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada beat eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, both of Poland, 7-5, 6-3 for the doubles title.
   Mirnyi and Nestor, who went undefeated in the elite tournament and split $287,500, both have Sacramento ties. Mirnyi once worked with Sacramento State men's coach Slava Konikov, and Nestor was named World TeamTennis' Male Rookie of the Year in 2003 as a member of the Sacramento Capitals.
    Nestor, 39, won his fourth doubles title in the ATP World Tour Finals in five years. He triumphed with longtime Capital Mark Knowles in 2007 and Nenad Zimonjic in 2008 and 2010. Mirnyi, 34, won the 2006 crown with Jonas Bjorkman.
   Fyrstenberg and Matkowski, who divided $140,000, became the first Poles to reach the singles or doubles final of the year-end tournament since Wojtek Fibak, the runner-up in singles in 1976 in doubles in 1978 and 1979.
   USTA 40 Hard Courts -- Three players from the San Francisco Bay Area are seeded in the USTA National Men's and Women's 40 Hard Court Championships, which begin today in the San Diego suburb of La Jolla, Calif.
   Oren Motevassel of Sunnyvale is seeded second in singles, Jeff Greenwald of Corte Madera third and Curtis Dunn of San Francisco eighth.
   Defending champion Jeff Tarango, 43, of Manhattan Beach is seeded first. The former Stanford All-American reached No. 10 in the world in doubles in 1999 and No. 42 in singles in 1992.
   Tarango is perhaps best known, however, for walking off the court during his third-round match at Wimbledon in 1995 in a dispute with chair umpire Bruno Rebeuh. As if that wasn't bizarre enough, Tarango's wife at the time, Benedicte, then slapped Rebeuh twice.
   San Diego's Gretchen Magers, the top seed and defending champion in women's singles, seeks her sixth title in the tournament. Magers, 47, climbed to No. 13 in the world in singles in the 1980s.
   Brett Joelson, who played for the Capitals last year, and Brian Joelson of Beaverton, Ore., will try to win their ninth consecutive title in father-son doubles.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bryans ousted; Federer eyes record in ATP Finals

   The Bryan brothers' hopes of winning their fourth doubles title in the ATP World Tour Finals were dashed.
   But Roger Federer is on track for his record sixth singles crown in the tournament.
   Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, former Stanford All-Americans, ended their year with a 7-6 (6), 6-4 loss to third-seeded Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor in Saturday's semifinals. The fourth-seeded Federer defeated fifth-seeded David Ferrer 7-5, 6-3 for his 16th straight victory.
   The Bryans -- who won the tournament in 2003, 2004 and 2009 -- went 60-16 this year. The 33-year-old twins captured eight titles, including Wimbledon and the Australian Open. With 11 Grand Slam men's doubles championships overall, the Bryans are tied with International Tennis Hall of Famers Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde for the Open Era record.
   Federer, 30, became the fifth player to reach at least 100 finals in the Open Era. He joined Jimmy Connors (163), Ivan Lendl (146), John McEnroe (108) and Guillermo Vilas (104).
   Federer also tied his idol, Stefan Edberg, for sixth place with his 806th career victory and assured he will rise one spot to No. 3 in the year-end world rankings.
   In today's finals, Mirnyi and Nestor will face eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski at 7:30 a.m. PST, and Federer will meet sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 9:30 a.m. The matches will be televised live on Tennis Channel and ESPN2, respectively.
   Fyrstenberg and Matkowski edged fourth-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 tiebreak, and Tsonga downed seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5. 
   Federer, who seeks his 70th career title, is tied with Lendl and Pete Sampras with five singles titles in the ATP World Tour Finals.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Djokovic eliminated, Bryans advance in ATP Finals

   Novak Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in the world in singles, and Bob and Mike Bryan, the top-ranked doubles team, lost Friday in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   The Bryan twins, however, advanced to the semifinals of the season-culminating tournament.
   Djokovic, admittedly burned out from one of the greatest years in tennis history, was eliminated with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 loss to fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic.
   “What is missing … is that freshness,” Djokovic, the 2008 champion, told reporters after finishing third in his group with a 1-2 record. “The will to win, just being on the court, giving 100 percent. I’m not able to do that now because I just have very little left.”
   Djokovic finished the season with a 70-6 record. He won 10 titles, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
   The Bryans, former Stanford All-Americans who already had clinched a berth in the semifinals, lost to fourth-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India 6-4, 6-2 to finish second in their group at 2-1.
   In today's singles semifinals, fourth-seeded Roger Federer will face fifth-seeded David Ferrer, and sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych. The matches will be shown on tape delay at 8 a.m. PST and 2 p.m., respectively, on Tennis Channel.
   In the doubles semis, the Bryans will play third-seeded Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor at 4:15 a.m., and Bhupathi and Paes will take on eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski at 10:15 a.m. Tennis Channel will televise both matches live.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bryans coast, Djokovic routed in ATP Finals

   There was no drama this time.
   After saving a match point in their opening victory over seventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner, top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan dispatched sixth-seeded Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau 6-1, 6-2 in 56 minutes Wednesday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.
   The drubbing was a rematch of this year's Wimbledon final, won by the Bryan twins 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
   In singles Wednesday, fifth-seeded David Ferrer beat top-seeded Novak Djokovic by the surprisingly one-sided score of 6-3, 6-1. Djokovic, who committed 33 unforced errors, fell to 70-5 this year. 
   With one round-robin match left for all eight doubles teams, the former Stanford All-Americans lead Group A with a 2-0 record. Lindstedt-Tecau and fourth-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi-Leander Paes are 1-1, and Melzer-Petzschner are 0-2.
   Third-seeded Max Mirnyi-Daniel Nestor pace Group B at 2-0. Second-seeded Michael Llodra-Nenad Zimonjic and eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg-Marcin Matkowski are 1-1, and fifth-seeded Rohan Bopanna-Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi are 0-2.
   The Bryans, seeking their fourth title in the ATP World Tour Finals, will meet Bhupathi and Paes on Friday at 10:15 a.m. PST (live on Tennis Channel). The top two teams in each group will advance to Saturday's semifinals.
   Ferrer clinched a berth in the singles semifinals with a 2-0 record in Group A. Djokovic and seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych are 1-1, and Janko Tipsarevic (replacing injured Andy Murray) is 0-1.
   Fourth-seeded Roger Federer, coming off a 6-3, 6-0 victory over second-seeded Rafael Nadal and eyeing a record sixth crown in the tournament, also has clinched a spot in the semifinals at 2-0 in Group B. Nadal and sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are 1-1, and eighth-seeded Mardy Fish is 0-2.
   Tennis Channel will continue its live coverage Thursday at 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Djokovic, Bryans save match points in victories

   One reason Novak Djokovic and the Bryan twins are ranked No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles, respectively, is their ability to handle pressure.
   The Serbian star and the doubles team from Stanford and the Los Angeles area both saved a match point in their opening round-robin matches Monday in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London.   
   Djokovic edged seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3), and the Bryans nipped seventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Philipp Petzschner of Germany 6-7 (4), 7-5, 10-7 tiebreak.
   The singles and doubles matches featured the winners of three of the four Grand Slam tournaments this year. Djokovic captured the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The Bryans triumphed in the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and Melzer and Petzschner took the U.S. Open crown.
   Rafael Nadal won his sixth French Open singles title, and Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor prevailed in doubles at Roland Garros.
   Nadal and Roger Federer will renew their rivalry following today's 10:15 a.m. PST doubles match between third-seeded Mirnyi and Nestor and eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. Tennis Channel will televise both matches live.
   Federer, the defending champion, seeks his record sixth title in the ATP World Tour Finals and Nadal his first. But Nadal leads the head-to-head series 17-8, including 3-0 this year.  
   On Wednesday, the Bryans will meet sixth-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania at 10:15 a.m., followed by Djokovic against fifth-seeded David Ferrer of Spain. 
   The Bryans are trying to win the ATP World Tour Finals for the fourth time. They triumphed in 2003, 2004 and 2009.
   Through Friday, Tennis Channel is providing daily live coverage of the day session beginning at 4 a.m. and the night session starting at 10 a.m.. The network will televise Saturday's doubles semifinals live at the same times and the singles semis on tape at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
   Sunday's doubles and singles finals will be shown live at 7:30 a.m. (Tennis Channel) and 9:30 a.m. (ESPN2), respectively.
   Raonic honored -- Milos Raonic, who won the SAP Open in San Jose in February for his first career ATP World Tour title, was named the Newcomer of the Year.
   The 6-foot-5 Canadian, 20, has improved his world ranking from No. 156 at the beginning of 2011 to No. 31.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
  John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 118 in doubles (+4), unranked in singles.
  Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 760 in singles (-5), No. 1,246 in doubles (no change).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 58 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 29 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 104 in doubles (-2), No. 752 in singles (-3).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 283 in singles (-74), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 93 in singles (no change), No. 38 in doubles (no change).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 40 in singles (no change), No. 236 in doubles
(+4).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 498 in doubles (no change), No. 1,511 in singles (no change).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 273 in singles (+14), No. 522 in doubles (-5).
Women
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 76 in singles (no change).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), No. 717 in singles (-3).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 266 in doubles (-2), No. 693 in singles (-5).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- Career-high No. 179 in doubles (no change), No. 407 in singles (-14). 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bryans seek fourth ATP World Tour Finals doubles title

   They've already won eight titles this year, including Wimbledon and the Australian Open, and clinched the year-end No. 1 ATP doubles ranking for a record seventh time.
   What's left for ex-Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan?
   The 33-year-old twin sons of Sacramento Capitals coach Wayne Bryan will try to win the Barclays ATP  World Tour Finals, featuring the top eight doubles teams in the 2011 point standings, for the fourth time. Peter Fleming and John McEnroe hold the record of seven doubles titles in the Finals (consecutively beginning in 1978).
  This year's tournament, which also includes the top eight singles players of the year, is scheduled for Sunday through Nov. 27 in London.
   The Bryan brothers, who will surpass McEnroe's record of 270 weeks at No. 1 on Dec. 12, are seeded first in Group A. In a matchup of the last two Wimbledon doubles champions, they will open against seventh-seeded Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Philipp Petzschner of Germany on Monday in round-robin play.
   In Monday's other Group A doubles match, fourth-seeded Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India will meet sixth-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania.
   In Group B on Sunday, No. 2 seeds Michael Llodra of France and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia will take on eighth-seeded Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski of Poland, and No. 3 seeds Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada will play fifth-seeded Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.
   Nestor and Zimonjic won last year's title.
   Meanwhile, Roger Federer will seek his record sixth singles title in the ATP World Tour Finals. Federer, who has won 12 matches in a row (including titles at the Swiss Indoors and Paris Masters) and 17 of his last 18 beginning with the U.S. Open, is seeded fourth.
   Joining Federer in Group B are No. 2 Rafael Nadal of Spain, No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France and No. 8 Mardy Fish of Tampa, Fla.
   Group A consists of No. 1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, No. 3 Andy Murray of Great Britain, No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain and No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
   The top four singles players and top four doubles teams in round-robin play will advance to the semifinals.
   Tennis Channel will provide live coverage of the tournament starting at 4 a.m. PST from Sunday through Nov. 26 and at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 27 (doubles final). ESPN2 will televise the singles final live at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 27.
   Ex-Cal star loses early -- Unseeded Conor Niland, the 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year from Cal, lost to qualifier Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the $57,600 Salzburg (Austria) Indoors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Knowles plunges to No. 58 in doubles; new rankings

   Mark Knowles, who completed his 10th season with the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July, fell to his lowest point in the doubles world rankings in 13 years Monday.
   After losing in the first round of the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris with Xavier Malisse of Belgium last week, the 40-year-old doubles specialist from the Bahamas dropped 15 spots to No. 58.
   The rankings are based on a revolving 52-week system, so Knowles' first-round loss replaces his runner-up finish in Paris last year with Andy Ram of Israel on the computer.
   Knowles ended this year with six first-round losses in his last seven tournaments. The last time he was ranked so low was on June 1, 1998, when he was No. 79.
   Knowles was ranked in top 10 from 2002 to 2010, except for seven weeks at No. 11. He was No. 1 or tied for No. 1 for 55 weeks from 2002 to 2005.
   Meanwhile, two Northern Californians attained career highs in doubles after teaming to reach the final of the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis in Phoenix last week.
   Yasmin Schnack, a 23-year-old resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, cracked the top 200 for the first time as she jumped 35 places to No. 179. Maria Sanchez, 21, of Modesto soared 75 places to No. 264.
   Schnack and Sanchez starred for four years each at UCLA and USC, respectively.
   Ex-Cal star advances -- Unseeded Conor Niland, a former Cal All-American from Ireland, pounded Ivan Navarro of Spain 6-1, 6-0 in the first round of the $57,600 ATP Salzburg (Austria) Indoors.
  New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
  John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 122 in doubles (+1), 1,231 in singles (-2).
  Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 755 in singles (+5), No. 1,246 in doubles (+1).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 58 in doubles (-15), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 29 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 102 in doubles (-1), No. 749 in singles (-98).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 209 in singles (-14), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 93 in singles (+4), No. 38 in doubles (-2).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 40 in singles (no change), No. 240 in doubles
(-2).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 498 in doubles (-1), No. 1,511 in singles (+3).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 287 in singles (+1), No. 517 in doubles (+35).
Women
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 76 in singles (no change).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), No. 714 in singles (+2).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 264 in doubles (career high, +75), No. 688 in singles (-1).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 179 in doubles (+35), No. 393 in singles (+7). 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tappan, Boyls take Sacramento Clay Court title

   He's the king of clay in Sacramento.
   At least in doubles.
   Mark Tappan of El Dorado Hills on Sunday became the first player in the five-year history of the Sacramento Clay Court League to win two titles.
   Tappan and Jordan Boyls of Sacramento defeated Chris Evers and Dave Hagiwara, both of Folsom, 6-4, 6-4 in Orangevale in the final of the doubles league to split $1,200. Evers and Hagiwara divided $500.
   "We put more balls in play on returns and (converted) more first serves," said the 53-year-old Tappan, who also won the 2008 title with Bobby Reynolds.
   Added Boyls, 33: "When we had to make the return on break point, more times than not, we came away with it."
   Even though the left-handed Evers has the hardest serve of the finalists, he suffered three of the four service breaks in the match.
   "I think we both like the pace," Tappan, who also was broken, said while looking at his partner.
   Boyls agreed about facing Evers' serve.
   "You don't have to do as much with it," he said. "I had a harder time with Dave's serve because I had to move around to hit it."
   Evers, 42, didn't use the slow clay as an excuse.
   "They hit some returns and put pressure on my serve," he said. "My first-serve percentage could have been higher."
   Evers, however, repeatedly came through under pressure. He held from 0-40 for 3-4 in the first set and saved two match points to hold for 4-5 in the second set. Serving for the match, Tappan double-faulted on a third match point before he and Boyls prevailed.    
   In the third-place contest, Bryan Paveglio and Mike Smith outlasted Dan Becker and John Spoerl 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to split $300.
   Sanchez, Schnack fall in doubles final -- The unseeded Northern California team of Maria Sanchez and Yasmin Schnack lost to fourth-seeded Jamie Hampton of Auburn, Ala., and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 in the doubles final of the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
   Sanchez, from Modesto, and Schnack, who resides in the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, were seeking their second title of the year. They won at Redding, Calif., in September.
   Sesil Karatantcheva, a Bulgaria native who plays for Kazakhstan, defeated Michelle Larcher De Brito, a former Sacramento Capital from Portugal, 6-1, 7-5 for the singles crown.
   Four years ago at 14, Larcher De Brito helped the Capitals win the World TeamTennis title.
   Karatantcheva, 22, reached the 2005 French Open quarterfinals at 15 and ended that year at a career-high No. 35. The following January, however, she was suspended for two years after testing positive twice for nandrolone.
   With her Phoenix title, Karatantcheva rose 37 spots in the world rankings to No. 138.
   NorCal karma -- Three of the five singles champions on the men's Challenger circuit last week have reached Northern California finals.
   Germany's Tobias Kamke, the titlist at Tiburon last year, prevailed on hardcourt in Loughborough, England. Former Sacramento Challenger runners-up Jesse Levine (2009) and Rajeev Ram (2006) triumphed on hardcourt in Knoxville, Tenn., and on carpet in Ortisei, Italy, respectively.
   In the past two weeks, Ram was won two Challenger titles, and Levine has captured one and reached the final as a qualifier in another.
   Former Knoxville doubles champions include Dmitry Tursunov (2002 with now-retired Martin Verkerk of the Netherlands) and Sam Warburg (2007 with Harel Levy of Israel).
   Tursunov, a Moscow native, lives in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom. Warburg, a former Stanford star from Sacramento, retired in 2009. He lives in San Francisco and works for a venture capital firm in Palo Alto.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sanchez, Schnack reach Phoenix doubles final

   The unseeded Northern California team of Maria Sanchez and Yasmin Schnack knocked off second-seeded Elena Bovina of Russia and Mandy Minella of Luxembourg
6-7 (3), 6-4, 10-5 tiebreak Saturday to reach the doubles final of the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
   Sanchez, from Modesto, and Schnack, a resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, will face fourth-seeded Jamie Hampton of Auburn, Ala., and Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia in today's final.
   Schnack, a 23-year-old former UCLA All-American, will seek her sixth career doubles title on the ITF Women's Circuit and Sanchez, a 21-year-old ex-USC All-American, her fourth. They won the Redding crown in September.
   In the singles final, Michelle Larcher De Brito of Portugal will meet unseeded Sessil Karatantcheva of Kazakhstan.
   Four years ago at 14, Larcher De Brito helped the Sacramento Capitals win the 2007 World TeamTennis title. Known as one of the loudest grunters on the tour, she has plummeted from a career-high No. 76 in the world in 2009 to No. 173.
  Sacramento Clay Court final set -- Jordan Boyls and Mark Tappan are scheduled to play Chris Evers and Dave Hagiwara today in the final of the Sacramento Clay Court League. The match is set for noon at 8582 Westin Lane in Orangevale.
   In Saturday's semifinals, Boyls and Tappan defeated Bryan Paveglio and Mike Smith 2-6, 6-4, 6-0, and Evers and Hagiwara beat Dan Becker and John Spoerl 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ex-Wimbledon doubles champ Brown dies at 89

   Two-time Wimbledon doubles champion Tom Brown died of Alzheimer's disease on Oct. 27 in Castro Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday. He was 89.
   At Wimbledon in 1946, Brown won the men's doubles title with Jack Kramer and the mixed doubles title with Louise Brough. Brown lost to Kramer in the singles final at the U.S. Nationals in 1946 and Wimbledon in 1947.
   Brown retired from his San Francisco law practice in 1987 and won the USTA National Men's 65 singles championships on four surfaces: grass, clay, hardcourt and indoors. He played competitively into his 80s and wrote a book, "As Tom Goes By: A Tennis Memoir,"  in 2007.
   Bryans falter -- Top seeds and former Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan lost to French wild cards Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut 7-6 (6), 3-6, 10-8 tiebreak Thursday in the second round of the $3.78 million BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
   The 33-year-old Bryan twins will be seeded first in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Nov. 20-27 in London. They will seek their fourth title in the tournament after winning in 2003 and 2004 in Houston and 2009 in London.
   Schnack, Sanchez advance in doubles -- Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area and Maria Sanchez of Modesto edged Elizabeth Lumpkin of Naperville, Ill., and Iona-Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 Friday in the doubles quarterfinals of the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
   Schnack and Lumpkin played on UCLA's 2008 NCAA championship team.
   Niland ousted -- Unseeded Conor Niland, a former Cal All-American from Ireland, fell to second-seeded Tobias Kamke of Germany 3-6, 6-0, 6-0 Thursday in the second round of the $58,794 Challenger in Loughborough, England. Kamke won last year's Tiburon Challenger.
   Sacramento Clay Court semis set -- Jordan Boyls and Mark Tappan will meet Bryan Paveglio and Mike Smith in today's first semifinal of the Sacramento Clay Court League in Fair Oaks. Chris Evers and Dave Hagiwara will face Dan Becker and John Spoerl in the second semifinal. The final is scheduled for Sunday in Orangevale.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fusano reflects: From small town to big time in tennis

   Christina Fusano grew up in a child's paradise.
   On her parents' five-acre ranch in El Dorado, about 40 miles east of Sacramento in the Sierra Nevada foothills, there was plenty of room to run around and fresh air to breathe.
   There were horses to ride, trees to climb, rocks to throw, trails to hike and lizards to catch. In the winter, there was nearby sledding. What more could a kid want?
   But for an aspiring professional tennis player, El Dorado was less than ideal. It ranked somewhere above Nome, Alaska, and far below Southern California.
   For starters, there weren't a lot of other promising players to hit with. Then there were the cold winters, occasional snowstorms and lack of indoor courts.
   Fusano overcame the handicaps to play on the pro circuit for eight years before retiring in September at 30. She looks back fondly on her childhood.
   "I loved it," the Sacramento native said. "It was definitely more like country life. (Nearby) Placerville is a great town. There was a lot of driving to Sacramento, though. When I got my (driver's) license, my mom let me go so she didn't have to drive me.
   "I'm trying to think of any tennis player who grew up like me. It's hard to be competitive when you live in the country, but I had great family support. I rode a pony when I was younger, and there were a lot of outdoor activities."
   Only 5-foot-5 and 125 pounds, Fusano went on to win the 2003 NCAA doubles title with Cal teammate Raquel Kops-Jones and specialize in doubles in the pros.
   Fusano won one title on the WTA tour (Quebec City in 2007 with Kops-Jones) and 13 on the ITF (minor league) circuit. She reached the second round at Wimbledon in 2008 (with Angela Haynes), played in the U.S. Open three times and reached a career-high No. 84 in the world in 2008.
   Fusano also played World TeamTennis for five years, including part-time for the Sacramento Capitals for the past two seasons.
   "Unfortunately, I never got to play a full season for them, but you take what you can get," said Fusano, who also played for Boston in 2007, Delaware in 2008 before the team folded and the New York Sportimes in 2009.
   Fusano was ranked in the mid- to low 100s for the last several years, relegating her to the USTA circuit. However, she and former Stanford All-American David Martin won a national playoff to earn a mixed doubles berth in this year's U.S. Open.
   That's where her career ended in a first-round loss to Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, one of six women to win a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles, and longtime Capital Mark Knowles, the 2009 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion with Anna-Lena Groenefeld.
   "I spent a lot of time out there (on the pro tour), and I was ready to take the next step in my life," said Fusano, a part-time assistant coach for the UC Davis women who also teaches at the Gold River Racquet Club and Sutter Lawn Tennis Club. "The last few years were up and down, and I was not playing at the highest level (of tournaments). I was burned out, to be honest."
   Fusano considered Argentina's Gisela Dulko, ranked No. 9 in the world in doubles after climbing to No. 1 last November, one of her toughest opponents. At 5-7 and 123, she's built similarly to Fusano.
   "I was really impressed with Dulko," Fusano said. "She's really smart. I prided myself on touch and being smart, but she took it to another level."
   Tammy Hendler, who played for the Capitals in 2008, met Fusano met once, in the first doubles match of 2011 for both players. Fusano and Sacramento-area resident Yasmin Schnack defeated Hendler and Gabriela Paz of Venezuela 6-4, 6-2 in a $25,000 tournament on clay in Plantation, Fla., in January en route to the final.
   "(Fusano) was such a dominant player at the net that it was tough to pass her," Hendler recalled. "She reads the game so well. She plays all the right shots at the right times."   
   Hendler said she asked Fusano to play doubles with her in a $50,000 hardcourt tournament in Lexington, Ky., in July, but Fusano wasn't sure if she was going to go to Lexington. She didn't, and Hendler and fellow 19-year-old Chichi Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., proceeded to win the title.
   "Christina is a really good friend," Hendler said. "She's a great person, one of the nicest on the USTA circuit. She's always smiling."
   Fusano's vivacious personality belies the intensity of pro tennis.
   "It's a business, No. 1," she asserted. "In business, they'll do whatever it takes to succeed. I wish I had learned that earlier -- which tournaments to play, how many, who to play with ... It's not easiy out there. You have to love the battle, and I did for eight years."
   Fusano revels in "what an incredible, lucky life I've lived. I've traveled to Asia and South America, and dang, Sacramento, California, is an awesome place." 
   She said her coaching philosophy is the same as it was as a player: "Work hard and have fun."
   Bill Maze, the head women's coach at UC Davis, taught Fusano "on and off for 12 or 13 years," he said, and recruited her out of Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs. Her playing experience and outgoing personality made her "a complete lock" for the Aggies job, Maze said.
   "To get someone ranked the top 200 (in the world) in doubles who has played in the U.S. Open and won an NCAA doubles title, not many assistants have that on their resume. There are a lot of great players out there, but she has such great charisma and leadership skills. She gets the team so fired up. I couldn't be happier. She's a natural coach," said Maze, a former three-time All-American at Stanford who played No. 1 doubles with John McEnroe.
   "I know she wants to move on. She would be a phenomenal head coach. I feel it's a one-year deal and she'll move on to the business world."
   Fusano admitted the UC Davis position is a "steppingstone" but added that she's "enjoying it more than I thought. The girls are great fun and have a lot of potential. I got a real estate license, so I'll reassess after one year."
   Fusano is the youngest of three children, each five years apart. John, the eldest, is the head basketball coach at Sierra College in Rocklin. Laurena is a realtor. Their father, Chris, worked in property management while their mother, Bettie Ann, raised them.
   Christina took up tennis at 6 when the Millennium SportsClub El Dorado opened in Shingle Springs in 1987. John and Bettie Ann played and introduced Christina to the sport. She competed in volleyball for four years and basketball as a senior at Ponderosa while honing her tennis game at Millennium, in Sacramento and in Davis.
   From the beginning, Fusano's goal was to play professionally.
   "I always worked hard with that in mind," she said. "I realize how much effort my parents put into it. I'm really lucky and thankful."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stanford lands nation's top female recruit

   Krista Hardebeck, the top female recruit in the nation, signed a letter of intent Wednesday to attend Stanford.
   Hardebeck, from Santa Ana, chose Stanford over UCLA.
   "I've always wanted to go to Stanford, since I was maybe 7 or 8," Hardebeck, who turned 17 in September, said on tennisrecruiting.net on the first day high school seniors could sign. "I was still pretty set on Stanford up until I took my UCLA visit, but I really liked UCLA, so I had a really big decision, a really tough one. But I remembered all the great things at Stanford, and I decided to choose them."
   At 15, Hardebeck was featured in the Aug. 2, 2010, issue of Sports Illustrated as a future star. As a qualifier, Hardebeck reached the semifinals of a $25,000 professional tournament in Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area in January and the quarterfinals of a $50,000 event in Las Vegas in September. 
   In the first round in Las Vegas, she stunned fourth-seeded Mirjana Lucic, who won the 1998 Australian Open doubles title at 15 with Martina Hingis and reached the Wimbledon singles semifinals at 17 the following year before personal problems with her father derailed her career.
   The Stanford women have won the NCAA team title more often than not, eight times, since 1997. They narrowly missed winning their second consecutive crown in May, falling to Florida 7-6 in the third set of the deciding match in the NCAA final at Stanford. Freshman Kristie Ahn, the Cardinal's No. 4 singles despite being ranked 15th nationally, missed the match with a sprained ankle.
   The loss ended Stanford's 184-match home winning streak spanning more than 12 years.
   Hardebeck, who plans to play professionally, told tennisrecruiting.net that she will stay at Stanford for at least two years unless she does "amazing" as a freshman. The daughter of two physicians, she is interested in a pre-med major but doubts her commitment to tennis would allow it.  
   Hardebeck is coached by Robert Van't Hof, the 1989 World TeamTennis Male MVP as a member of the Sacramento Capitals who later tutored former world No. 1 Lindsay Davenport.
   Of tennisrecruiting.net's 17 blue-chip recruits who have committed to schools, Hardebeck was the only one to choose Stanford. North Carolina landed three (Ashley Dai of Temple City, Whitney Kay of Alpharetta, Ga., and Kate Vialle of Leawood, Kan.) and UCLA (Kyle McPhillips of Willoughby, Ohio, and Chanelle Van Nguyen of Miami), Georgia Tech (Catherine Harrison of Germantown, Tenn., and Kendal Woodard of Stockbridge, Ga.) and Vanderbilt (Frances Altick of Monroe, La., and Courtney Colton of Davie, Fla.) two each.
   Northern California girls who have committed to colleges are Christiana Ferrari of St. Mary's in Stockton (Pacific), Brooke Irish of Amador Valley in Pleasanton (USF), Katya Vasilyev of Foster City (Boston College) and Olivia Hsu of Santa Rosa (Brown).
   The Stanford men, meanwhile, landed three blue-chip recruits to lead all schools. Headed to the Farm are Anthony Tsodikov of San Francisco, Trey Strobel of Bradenton, Fla., and Nolan Paige of Fairfield, Conn. (the hometown of former world No. 4 James Blake).
   Landing two blue chippers each were Illinois (Jared Hiltzik of Wilmette, Ill., and Alexander Jesse of Mequon, Wisc.), Texas (Andrew Korinek of Mansfield, Texas, and Nicholas Naumann of The Woodlands, Texas) and Duke (Josh Levine of Syosset, N.Y., and Michael Redlicki of Hawthorn Woods, Ill.).
   Neither the Cal men nor women have received a commitment from a blue-chip recruit, according to tennisrecruiting.net.
   Other Northern California boys who have committed to colleges are Matthew Alves of Gold River (UC Santa Barbara), Daniel McCall of San Francisco (Duke), Nicholas Hu of Palo Alto High School (Harvard), Nico Lunardi of Los Gatos (Washington) and Brian Aria of Bishop O'Dowd in Alameda (UC Davis).
   Schnack eliminated -- At 23 years old and 5-foot-10, Yasmin Schnack is four years older and eight inches taller than Kurumi Nara of Japan.
   But Schnack, an Elk Grove resident who played for the Capitals as a WTT rookie in July, was no match for Nara in the first round of the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix. Nara, ranked No. 144 in the world, dismissed Schnack, ranked No. 400, 6-2, 6-3.
   Fifth-seeded Zhang Shuai of China demolished Tammy Hendler, a 2008 Capital, 6-1, 6-0, but three other former Capitals are scheduled to play Thursday in the second round. 
   Sixth-seeded Coco Vandeweghe (2009) of Rancho Santa Fe will meet Olga Puchkova (two matches in 2008) of Russia, and Michelle Larcher De Brito (2007 WTT championship team) of Portugal will face Nara.
   Larcher De Brito upset top-seeded Irina Falconi of Atlanta in the first round.     

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knowles ends year with another first-round loss

   Mark Knowles is staggering toward the finish line of his career.
   The 40-year-old doubles specialist and longtime Sacramento Capital ended his year Tuesday with his sixth first-round loss in his last seven tournaments.
   Knowles and Belgium's Xavier Malisse, a comparative youngster at 31, fell to French wild cards Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-3 at the $3.78 million BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
   Knowles, a Bahamas native, will miss the ATP World Tour Finals for the second consecutive year after qualifying for the season-culminating tournament for eight seasons in a row and winning the 2007 title with Daniel Nestor. 
   "Done for the year and happy the season is over!" Knowles, who has won three World TeamTennis Male MVP awards in his 10 seasons with the Capitals, wrote on his Facebook page.  
   Knowles, who reached No. 1 in the world in doubles in 2002 and 2004, has plunged from No. 5 at the end of 2009 to No. 28 at the conclusion of last year to No. 43.
   He won one title this year, at Los Angeles in July with Malisse in their first tournament together, to give him 54 for his career (three in Grand Slams). That ranks fourth among active players behind Mike Bryan (77), Bob Bryan (75) and Nestor (74) and tied for 16th in the Open Era (since 1968).
   The Los Angeles title came at UCLA, where Knowles starred from 1990 to 1992.
   Knowles, who's married with three young children, hopes to play in the 2012 Olympics in London next summer. His mother is British, and he carries a British passport. As if that's not enough motivation for Knowles, the Olympic tennis event will be held at Wimbledon.
   In the first round of singles in Paris, qualifier Donald Young lost to Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-4, 6-2. Young won the 2008 Sacramento Challenger.
   Schnack qualifies -- Fourth-seeded Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove, a Sacramento suburb, defeated seventh-seeded Shelby Rogers of Charleston, S.C., 4-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the final round of qualifying for the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
   Rogers, 19, won last year's USTA girls 18 national hardcourt title.
   Schnack, a Capitals rookie in July, is scheduled to meet unseeded Kurumi Nara of Japan on Wednesday in the first round of the main draw. The winner will face Portugal's Michelle Larcher De Brito, who played on the Capitals' 2007 WTT championship team, in the second round. Larcher De Brito upset top-seeded Irina Falconi of Atlanta 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.
   The singles draw features five current or former Capitals: Schnack, Larcher De Brito, sixth-seeded Coco Vandeweghe (2009), Tammy Hendler (2008) and Olga Puchkova (two matches in 2008).
    Niland advances -- Ireland's Conor Niland, a former Cal All-American, defeated Andrea Arnaboldi of Italy 6-3, 7-5 in the first round of a $58,794 Challenger in Loughborough, England.
   Niland, the 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year, is scheduled to face second-seeded Tobias Kamke of Germany on Wednesday in the second round. Kamke won last year's Tiburon Challenger.         

Tursunov falls, avoids Federer matchup

   At least he won't have to play Roger Federer.
   Unseeded Dmitry Tursunov, a longtime Sacramento-area resident, lost to wild card Adrian Mannarino of France 6-2, 6-2 Monday in the first round of the $3.78 BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
   Mannarino will face the third-seeded Federer, who won his hometown tournament in Basel, Switzerland, for the fifth time last week and received a first-round bye in Paris. Federer, 30, has never won the tournament.
   Tursunov, a 28-year-old Moscow native, is 0-3 against Federer. In their last meeting, the Swiss maestro won 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
   The 40th-ranked Tursunov played in the prestigious Paris tournament for the first time since 2008. After undergoing three operations on his left ankle or foot between April 2009 and February 2010, he was not ranked high enough to play in the main draw there the past two years.
   Tursunov's first-round opponent the last time he played in the Paris indoors? Mannarino. Tursunov won that encounter 6-3, 6-2 before retiring at 2-6, 3-4 against Novak Djokovic, then ranked third in the world, in the second round.
   Also Monday, qualifier Santiago Giraldo, a Colombian who won the 2009 Sacramento Challenger, lost to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the first round.
   Milos Raonic, the reigning champion of the SAP Open in San Jose, and 2009 SAP Open winner Radek Stepanek also fell in the opening round.
   Raonic, a 20-year-old Canadian, lost to veteran Julien Benneteau of France 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-4, and Stepanek, a 32-year-old Czech, was eliminated by Florian Mayer of Germany 7-5, 6-3.
   Schnack coasts -- Fourth-seeded Yasmin Schnack, a resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, dispatched Denise Starr, 16, of Staten Island, N.Y., 6-2, 6-0 in the second round of qualifying for the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
    Schnack, a 23-year-old UCLA graduate, is scheduled to meet seventh-seeded Shelby Rogers, last year's USTA girls 18 national champion from Charleston, S.C., today for a berth in the main draw.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
  John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 123 in doubles (+8), 1,229 in singles (no change).
  Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 760 in singles (+3, No. 1,247 in doubles (no change).
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 43 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 28 in doubles (-2), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 101 in doubles (+3), No. 661 in singles (+9).
    Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 195 in singles (-1), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 97 in singles (+19), No. 36 in doubles (-3).
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 40 in singles (-1), No. 238 in doubles (-2).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 497 in doubles (-1), No. 1,514 in singles (+5).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 288 in singles (-6), No. 552 in doubles (-2).
Women
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (no change), No. 76 in singles (-1).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), No. 716 in singles (+2).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 339 in doubles (career high, +2), No. 687 in singles (career high, +1).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 214 in doubles (-1), No. 400 in singles (+3). 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Federer routs Nishikori in Basel final

   As they say, be careful what you wish for.
   Wild card Kei Nishikori, who said Saturday that he always wanted to play Roger Federer, lost to the third-seeded superstar 6-1, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   "I think I started a little bit nervous, even though at the same time I was excited to play in the final here with Roger,” Nishikori, who's coached by Brad Gilbert of San Rafael, said on the ATP World Tour's Web site. “I’m a bit disappointed with how I played today, as it didn’t go well, but it’s always going to be tough against him. ... His tennis was too good for me. I felt like I couldn’t do anything.”
   Nishikori, 21, of Japan rose eight spots to a career-high No. 24 in the world. He was seeking his second ATP World Tour title after winning Delray Beach three years ago. The right-hander underwent surgery on his right elbow in August 2009 and plunged to No. 898 early last year.
   The Basel final was Nishikori's second of the season. He lost to Ryan Sweeting of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on clay in Houston in April.
   “Every match is a good experience, especially when you’re playing Top 10 guys,” Nishikori said. “It’s a different level, and I’ve learned from these matches.”
   Federer ended a 10-month title drought, his longest since he went 11 months between the first two crowns of his career in 2001 and 2002. The Basel title was his fifth in his hometown tournament and marked the fifth time he was won an event at least that many times.
   Bryans win another title -- Top seeds and former Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan won their second title in two weeks, beating unseeded Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer 6-4, 7-6 (9) in the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
   The 33-year-old twin sons of Sacramento Capitals coach Wayne Bryan were playing in the indoor, hardcourt tournament for the first time since 2003, when the event was played on clay. The title was their eighth of the year, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and record 75th of their career.
   Butorac played for the Capitals in 2008.
   Querrey loses in qualifying -- Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, fell to fifth-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-1 in the second (final) round of qualifying for the $3.78 million BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
   The 6-foot-6 Querrey reached the semifinals of the Sacramento Challenger and the final of the Tiburon Challenger last month, losing to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic of Croatia each time.
   Two former Sacramento champions, Donald Young (2008) of Atlanta and Santiago Giraldo (2009) of Colombia, advanced to the main draw.
   NorCal showdown -- In an all-Northern California matchup, fourth-seeded Yasmin Schnack downed Maria Sanchez 6-3, 6-1 in the first round of qualifying for the $75,000 Goldwater Women's Tennis Classic in Phoenix.
   Schnack, from the Sacramento suburb of Elk Grove, and Sanchez, from Modesto, won the doubles title in the $25,000 Oak River Rehab Challenger in Redding in September.
 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nishikori stuns Djokovic, will meet Federer in final

  Kei Nishikori recently became the highest-ranked Japanese man in history.
  He added another distinction Saturday, becoming the first man from his country to beat a world No. 1.
   The 21-year-old wild card, coached by Brad Gilbert of San Rafael, stunned Novak Djokovic 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0 in the semifinals of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   “It’s unbelievable,” the 32nd-ranked Nishikori told reporters. “In the second set I started playing well and getting a rhythm.”
   Nishikori will meet third-seeded Roger Federer in today's final (live at 6 a.m. PST and taped at 7:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel). Federer, the defending champion and four-time winner in his hometown, defeated countryman Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (5), 6-2.
   “I’ve always wanted to play Roger," Nishikori said on the ATP World Tour's Web site. "Before the tournament, I was wishing to play him, but I was on the other side of the draw and knew I would need to make the final to have a chance to play him. It will be a good challenge for me to play against him."
   The right-handed Djokovic, who was within two points of victory in the second set, was treated for a right shoulder injury during the match.
   "I changed the technique of my serve a little bit. I was forcing it too much because of the injury I have," said Djokovic, who might withdraw from this week's Paris Masters. "I've carried it since the U.S. Open, and I'm still afraid something is going to happen (with my shoulder). My rhythm with the serve is not good right now."
   Djokovic fell to 67-4 this year, with two of the losses resulting from injury retirements. Nishikori and Federer are the only players to beat Djokovic in a full match in 2011.
   Bryans reach final -- Top seeds and former Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan reached their 11th final of the year, dismissing unseeded Brazilians Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares 7-6 (2), 6-1 in the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
   The Bryan twins seek their eighth title of the year and second in two weeks. They will face unseeded Eric Butorac, a former Sacramento Capital from Rochester, Minn., and Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands.
   Ilyushin falls -- Unseeded Artem Ilyushin, a Mississippi State senior from the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, lost to third-seeded Roman Vogeli of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla.
   Bad day for Bay Area -- All remaining Bay Area players were eliminated in the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   In women's singles, second-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Stanford lost to unseeded Joanna Mather of Florida 6-4, 6-2, and 5-8 seed Denise Dy, a San Jose resident who attends Washington, fell to unseeded Marta Lesniak of SMU 7-6 (2), 1-6, 6-4. Dy had knocked off Cal's Jana Juricova, the top seed and reigning NCAA champion, in the quarterfinals.
   Gibbs and Mallory Burdette, top-seeded in women's doubles, were eliminated by third-seeded Kristy Frilling and Shannon Mathews of Notre Dame 7-5, 7-6 (4).
   In men's doubles, fourth-seeded Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt of Cal dropped a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 decision to second-seeded Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State. Andrews lives in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nishikori to face Djokovic in Basel semifinals

   So, coaching guru Brad Gilbert, got any advice for Kei Nishikori entering his match today against Novak Djokovic?
   Play out of your mind?
   Grow three inches and put on 25 pounds?
   Hope Djokovic sprains his ankle getting out of his courtesy car?
   Pray a lot?
   Nishikori, a wild card coached by San Rafael's Gilbert, outlasted lucky loser Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours, 40 minutes to reach the semifinals of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel. The 5-foot-10, 150-pound Nishikori will take on the top-ranked Djokovic, who beat Marcos Baghdatis 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
   In the other semifinal, third-seeded Roger Federer will face fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. Federer, a four-time champion of his hometown tournament, improved to
21-2 against seventh-seeded Andy Roddick with a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
   Nishikori, 21, is having the best year of his career. The highest-ranked Japanese player in history at No. 32, he has reached three semifinals in his last four tournaments.
  "It's a great feeling to reach three semifinals in six weeks," Nishikori said on the ATP World Tour's Web site. "I knew it was going to be a tough week. Beating Tomas Berdych in the first round and getting to the semifinals has been a great experience."
   Djokovic, of course, is having one of the greatest years in tennis history. He's
67-3 with three Grand Slam titles -- the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open -- and 10 overall.
   "Djokovic is playing unbelievable this year," Nishikori said. "He doesn't have many weaknesses, so I will need to play a bit more aggressive than usual and play my best tennis to beat him."
   Good luck with that, Kei. 
   Djokovic is 1-0 against Nishikori, winning 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of last year's French Open.
   Today's match will be televised live on Tennis Channel at 6:30 a.m. PDT.
   Querrey loses -- Unseeded Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, lost to sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
   The 6-6 Querrey reached the semifinals of the Sacramento Challenger and the final of the Tiburon Challenger last month, falling to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic each time.
   Top seeds and former Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan reached the doubles semifinals with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over unseeded Frantisek Cermak and Filip Polasek.
    Ilyushin advances -- Artem Ilyushin, a Mississippi State senior from the swanky Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, brushed aside Peter Heller 6-2, 6-2 in a quarterfinal matchup of unseeded players in the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla. 
   Cal's Juricova upset -- Washington's Denise Dy, a San Jose resident seeded 5-8, ousted Cal's Jana Juricova, the top seed and reigning NCAA champion, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
   Dy will meet unseeded Marta Lesniak of SMU in the semifinals. Lesniak surprised fourth-seeded Mallory Burdette of Stanford 6-3, 6-1.
   In the other semifinal, second-seeded Nicole Gibbs of Stanford will face Joanna Mather of Florida.
   Burdette and Gibbs, meanwhile, reached the doubles semifinals as the top seeds.
   The only Bay Area player in the men's singles field, unseeded Ryan Thacher of Stanford, lost in the second round to fifth-seeded Henrique Cunha of Duke 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. 
   However, fourth-seeded Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt of Cal will play second-seeded Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State today in the doubles semifinals. Andrews lives in the Sacramento suburb of Folsom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

WTT leader 'very optimistic' Capitals will return

   The Sacramento Capitals are battling for survival but might return for their 27th season, after all.
   Team owner Bob Cook filed for personal bankruptcy protection in August, clouding the future of World TeamTennis' flagship franchise.
   "All I can say is I'm very optimistic that the Capitals can play next year," WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss said Thursday in an exclusive interview. "We're hoping to have an announcement in the next few weeks."
   Neither Cook nor Capitals general manager Matt McEvoy returned calls.
   The Capitals, WTT's oldest franchise, have won a record six titles. They earned four consecutive league championships and five in six years from 1997 through 2002. Their last title came in 2007.
   From 1997 through 2007, the Capitals went a combined 108-35 (.755) in the regular season. Since then, however, they are 28-28.
    Cook, a real estate developer who's also the managing partner of the troubled Le Rivage luxury hotel in Sacramento, reportedly owes creditors $48 million. Le Rivage defaulted on its debts.     
   As bad as Cook's woes are, they're nothing compared to those of his former Capitals partner. Lonnie Nielson pleaded guilty last fall to grand theft related to his real estate business, reportedly prompting WTT to briefly revoke Sacramento's franchise in the winter.
   Nielson admitted embezzling more than $760,000 from 11 clients last year as the owner of a business that temporarily accepted funds from the sale of real estate properties. He is serving a seven-year prison sentence.
   Querrey stuns Tsonga -- San Francisco native Sam Querrey scored the biggest victory of his comeback, toppling second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6 (5), 6-2 in the second round of the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open. Tsonga, who's fighting for a berth in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals this month in London, is ranked seventh in the world.
   The right-handed Querrey, 24, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in June and missed three months. In his second and third tournaments back, the 6-foot-6 veteran lost to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic in the semifinals in Sacramento and final at Tiburon last month.
  Querrey, ranked No. 116 after reaching a career-high No. 17 in January, will face sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro in today's quarterfinals.
   Roddick tops Radek -- In a matchup of former SAP Open champions in San Jose, seventh-seeded Andy Roddick of Austin, Texas, defeated Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   Roddick, a three-time SAP Open champion (2004, 2005 and 2008) will meet third-seeded Roger Federer in today's quarterfinals. Federer, who's playing in his hometown, is 20-2 lifetime against Roddick.
   Other pro results -- Yasmin Schnack, a Sacramento-area resident, lost to seventh-seeded Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia 6-3, 6-0 in the second round of the Grapevine (Texas) Women's $50,000 Tennis Classic.
   Amateur Artem Ilyushin, another Sacramento-area resident, upset eighth-seeded Chris Letcher of Australia 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla. Ilyushin, however, lost in the doubles semifinals with Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Bryan brothers clinch year-end No. 1 ranking again

   The honors keep rolling in for Bob and Mike Bryan.
   And they're not done yet.
   The former Stanford All-Americans clinched the year-end No. 1 ATP doubles team ranking for a record seventh time Wednesday with their victory in the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open. They dismissed Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 6-3, 6-2 in the first round.
   The Bryans won two Grand Slam titles (the Australian Open and Wimbledon) this year to give them 11 for their career, tying the Open Era record of International Tennis Hall of Famers Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
   Overall, the Bryans have won eight titles this year and an Open Era-record 75 for their career. Individually, the 33-year-old twin sons of Sacramento Capitals coach Wayne Bryan have been ranked No. 1 in doubles for 265 weeks and will surpass John McEnroe's record of 270 weeks on Dec. 12.
   The twins will compete in the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Nov. 20-27 in London.
   "We're obviously extremely pumped to finish at No. 1, especially with the quality of teams on the doubles tour," Bob said on the ATP's Web site. "It's always our ultimate goal when we start the year, and we'll definitely look back on 2011 with positive feelings. I want to congratulate our biggest rivals -- (Max) Mirnyi-(Daniel) Nestor, (Michael) Llodra-(Nenad) Zimonjic and the Indian Express (Mahesh Bhupathi-Lander Paes) on highly successful seasons, and we look forward to another awesome event with the eight best teams in London.
   "Breaking McEnroe's record is something that is hard to fathom. He's such a legend, and to achieve something like this won't truly set in for a while. Thanks (go) to our great coach; David Macpherson; my beautiful and supportive wife; our parents, who are always rooting from their computer screen back home; and all the tennis fans who get behind the great game of doubles."
  Added Mike: "It's always a special feeling finishing the year as the top team. I think it's more satisfying than winning a Slam because it represents the season as a whole. When we now look back at 2011, it will be with a lot of fond memories. The level of tennis always keeps getting stronger, so I'm most proud of our willingness to improve as we get older.
   "I especially want thank our coach and one of our best friends, David Macpherson, who always is there for us win or lose and always pushes us to strive for more."      
   In the first round of singles in Valencia, Folsom resident Dmitry Tursunov lost to sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, the runner-up in Vienna last week and 2009 U.S. Open champion, 6-4, 6-1.
   Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer of Spain ousted qualifier Vasek Pospisil, a promising Canadian, 6-3, 6-3.
   Roddick vs. Radek -- Almost four years ago, Andy Roddick defeated Radek Stepanek to win the SAP Open in San Jose and mocked the Czech's trademark "worm dance" afterward.
   The Roddick vs. Radek show will resume Thursday in the second round of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors in Basel.
   The seventh-seeded Roddick, a three-time SAP Open champion (2004, 2005 and 2008), beat Tommy Haas of Germany 6-3, 6-4, and the unseeded Stepanek, who won the 2009 SAP Open, breezed past Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-1, 6-3.
   Also in 2009, Haas and Stepanek won the doubles title in San Jose, and Giraldo captured the singles crown in the Sacramento Challenger.
   Roddick, 29, is 6-1 lifetime against Stepanek, 32.
   Second-seeded Andy Murray, the San Jose champion in 2006 and 2007, withdrew before his first-round match with a right gluteal strain.
    In doubles, former Stanford All-American Scott Lipsky suffered his fifth consecutive loss. The Huntington Beach resident and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico fell to third-seeded Christopher Kas of Germany and Alexander Peya of Austria 7-6 (0), 6-2.
   Lipsky and Gonzalez became partners at Barcelona in April and saved four match points to beat the Bryans and win the title. Lipsky also won the doubles crown in the inaugural Sacramento Challenger in 2005 with former Stanford teammate David Martin, and Gonzalez reached the doubles final in Sacramento in 2009 with Travis Rettenmaier.
   Schnack beats ex-Capital -- Yasmin Schnack, a Sacramento-area resident, coasted past former Capital Tammy Hendler 6-2, 6-3 in the first round of the Grapevine (Texas) Women's $50,000 Tennis Classic.
   Hendler, a 19-year-old South Africa native, lives in Bradenton, Fla., and plays for Belgium. Her mother was born in the former Belgian Congo.
   Ilyushin wins twice -- Artem Ilyushin won twice in the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla.
   Ilyushin, a Mississippi State senior from the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, outlasted qualifier Maverick Banes of Australia 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the first round of singles. Ilyushin then teamed with Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel to beat Benjamin Balleret of Monaco and Didier Lanne of France 7-5, 6-1 in the doubles quarterfinals.
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, a former Sacramento State star from Belarus, and Boris Nicola Bakalov of Bulgaria lost to Americans Harrison Adams and Shane Vinsant 6-4, 7-5.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nishikori thriving under San Rafael's Gilbert

   Brad Gilbert is working his magic again.
   The San Rafael resident's latest pupil, Kei Nishikori of Japan, knocked off a top-10 player for the second straight tournament Tuesday.
   Nishikori, who recently became the highest-ranked Japanese player in history, defeated fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych, last year's Wimbledon runner-up from the Czech Republic, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the first round of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors Basel.
   Three weeks ago, Nishikori beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in Shanghai en route to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal.
   "I’m really happy the way I played today," the 32nd-ranked Nishikori, who's listed at 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, said on the ATP's Web site. "It was a slow start for me, but (I was) getting rhythm in the second set and playing really well in the third, so I’m really happy."
   Gilbert, who began coaching Nishikori last December, also has worked with Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray. Under Gilbert, Agassi won six of his eight majors, Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open and climbed to No. 1, and Murray reached a then-career-high No. 8.
   The right-handed Nishikori underwent surgery on his right elbow in August 2009 and plunged to No. 898 early last year.
   Meanwhile, qualifier James Blake, the runner-up in last month's Sacramento Challenger, reached the second round in Basel after his good friend, Mardy Fish, retired with a left hamstring injury while leading 1-0. They won the San Jose doubles title in 2004.
   Live television coverage of the Swiss Indoors continues Wednesday at 8 a.m. PDT on Tennis Channel. 
   Querrey advances -- San Francisco native Sam Querrey dispatched Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 6-4 in the opening round of the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
   Querrey, who reached the Sacramento semifinals, will face second-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the second round. Tsonga beat Querrey 7-6 (7), 6-1 in the second round at Shanghai last year in their only career meeting.
   Tsonga has won 12 of his past 14 matches, including titles in Metz and last week in Vienna, as he tries to become one of the eight singles qualifiers for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals this month in London. Tsonga is seventh in the point standings.
   TV coverage of the Valencia Open begins with the quarterfinals Friday at 2 p.m. (taped) on Tennis Channel.
   Schnack edged in doubles -- Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove (near Sacramento) and Alyona Sotnikova of Ukraine lost to Tammy Hendler, a former Sacramento Capital who plays for Belgium, and Chi Chi Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., 1-6, 6-4, 12-10 tiebreak in the first round of the Grapevine (Texas) Women's $50,000 Tennis Classic.
   Hendler and Scholl won the doubles title of a $50,000 tournament in Lexington, Ky., in July. Schnack and Hendler are scheduled to meet Wednesday in the opening round of singles.
   Harbatsiuk falls -- Kiryl Harbatsiuk, who graduated from Sacramento State in the spring, lost in singles but won in doubles in the $10,000 Bluewater Bay Professional Tournament in Niceville, Fla.
   Harbatsiuk, a native of Minsk, Belarus, fell to Herbert Wiltschnig of Austria 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 in the first round of singles but teamed with Boris Nicola Bakalov of Bulgaria to beat Alexios Halebian of Glendale and Matthew Short of Great Britain 1-6, 6-3, 10-8 tiebreak in the opening round of doubles.   
   Artem Ilyushin, a Mississippi State senior from Granite Bay (near Sacramento), and Gilad Ben Zvi of Israel stunned top-seeded Chris Letcher and Brendan Moore of Australia 6-3, 6-2. Ilyushin is scheduled to play qualifier Maverick Banes of Australia on Wednesday in the first round of singles.
   Indian Wells tickets --  Daily tickets and "daily double" packages for the BNP Paribas Open, March 5-18 in Indian Wells, will go on sale Wednesday, tournament director Steve Simon announced.
   Daily tickets range from $12 for the first Thursday evening session to $90 for loge seats for championship weekend. The daily double package provides the same seat (suite, box or loge) for both day and evening sessions.
   Fans attending the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and WTA Premier tournament will see a number of improvements at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, highlighted by a 19,140-square-foot shade structure in the East Village. The permanent facility will feature information towers, four video walls listing scores and schedules, a new bar and music stage, and numerous dining options. 
   For more information and to order tickets, visit https://owa.mcclatchy.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=479724af04384fc7aa0a11fc2632dbb1&URL=http%3a%2f%2fwww.bnpparibasopen.com, or call the Indian Wells Tennis Garden box office at (800) 999-1585 or (760) 200-8000.

Isner, Young lose in first round; new rankings

   Two former champions in Sacramento-area tournaments were upset Monday on the ATP World Tour.
   Unseeded John Isner, who won a Futures tournament in Shingle Springs in 2007 in his professional debut, lost to qualifier Vasek Pospisil of Canada 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (9) in the first round of the $2.85 million Valencia (Spain) Open.
    Meanwhile, wild card Donald Young, the champion of the 2008 Sacramento Challenger, fell to lucky loser Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 6-4, 6-2 in the opening round of the $2.6 million Swiss Indoors Basel.
   Isner and Young are the third- and fifth-ranked Americans at No. 23 and a No. 43 in the world, respectively.
  Pospisil, 21, reached the singles quarterfinals in Tiburon and doubles semifinals in Sacramento and Tiburon last month. He saved a match point against the 6-foot-9 Isner at 7-8 in the tiebreaker before winning on his eighth match point in the 2-hour, 13-minute battle.
   It was the second victory over a top-25 player for the 6-4 Pospisil, who has skyrocketed from No. 339 in the world at the beginning of the year to No. 133. He defeated No. 22 Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina in the first round at Cincinnati in August before losing to Roger Federer.
   Pospisil will meet the winner of the match between top seed and defending champion David Ferrer of Spain and former world No. 7 Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
   New rankings -- Following are this week's world rankings of professional players with Northern California ties (change from last week in parentheses):
Men
   Bob Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Mike Bryan, 1998 NCAA doubles champion from Stanford -- No. 1 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 26 in doubles (+1), unranked in singles.
   Mark Knowles, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2001-07, 2009-11) -- No. 43 in doubles (-1), unranked in singles.
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 39 in singles (no change), No. 236 in doubles (-2).
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 116 in singles (no change), No. 31 in doubles (no change).
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 104 in doubles (+2), No. 660 in singles (+3).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 131 in doubles (+2), 1,229 in singles (+7).
   Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 194 in singles (-1), unranked in doubles. 
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 282 in singles (+-1), No. 550 in doubles (+1).
   Dusan Vemic, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 496 in doubles (+5), No. 1,519 in singles (+6).
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 763 in singles (no change), No. 1,247 in doubles (+6).
Women
   Vania King, Capitals (2010-11) -- No. 6 in doubles (+1), No. 75 in singles (+2).
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- No. 37 in doubles (no change), No. 718 in singles (-2).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis (2011) -- No. 213 in doubles (-5), No. 403 in singles (no change).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- No. 341 in doubles (+36), No. 688 in singles (career high, no change).