Sunday, July 15, 2012

Serena repeats, but Vandeweghe serves notice

Top seed Serena Williams defeated lucky loser
CoCo Vandeweghe for her second consecutive
Bank of the West title. Photo by Paul Bauman
   STANFORD -- Maybe there's hope for American women's tennis, after all, when the Williams sisters retire.
   As expected, 30-year-old Serena Williams won the Bank of the West Classic on Sunday. But the top seed had to save a set point against lucky loser CoCo Vandeweghe, 20, in a 7-5, 6-3 victory before an announced crowd of 2,834.
   "It wasn't easy," conceded Williams, who surrendered twice as many games in the final as she did in any of her other three matches in the tournament. "CoCo is the future of American tennis. I'm so proud of her."
   It was the first all-American final on the WTA tour in the United States since Lindsay Davenport routed Williams 6-1, 6-3 in Los Angeles eight years ago.
   Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon singles title the week before the Bank of the West, became the first player to earn consecutive singles titles at Stanford since Kim Clijsters in 2005 and 2006.
   Williams also tied her older sister Venus with 43 WTA career titles, the most among active players and tied for 10th all-time with Justine Henin and Martina Hingis. Venus, 32, continues to battle an autoimmune disease but teamed with Serena this month for their fifth Wimbledon doubles crown.
   Serena, a former world No. 1, will remain No. 4 when the new rankings are released Monday. She would have dropped had she not repeated, a key consideration in honoring her commitment to play at Stanford after winning the Wimbledon crowns.
   Vandeweghe had never advanced past the quarterfinals of a WTA tournament. She will jump from No. 120 into the top 75, surpassing her career high of No. 89 in April 2011. That will put her directly into the U.S. Open, Aug. 27-Sept. 9. 
   The resident of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area became the first lucky loser to reach a WTA final since Melinda Czink of Hungary fell in the Canberra title match seven years ago. The only lucky loser to win a WTA title is Andrea Jaeger at Las Vegas in 1980.
   Vandeweghe lost to Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand in the final round of qualifying but advanced to the main draw when Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia withdrew with an unspecified injury.
   "Once I go into a main draw, I go in thinking I'm going to win it," said Vandeweghe, who's scheduled to join the Sacramento Capitals next Sunday for the first of five matches to end the regular season in World TeamTennis. "Otherwise, why bother stepping on the court? It was the same against Serena. I thought I could beat her. I had set point. That's not too shabby."
   Vandeweghe possesses a rare combination of power -- she's listed at 6-foot-1 and 155 pounds -- and athleticism. Her uncle Kiki averaged 19.7 points during a 13-year NBA career (1980-93). Her grandfather Ernie played for the New York Knicks in the 1950s, and her mother, Tauna, represented the United States at the Olympics in swimming in 1976 and volleyball in 1984.
   Vandeweghe played basketball and volleyball as a child and didn't pick up tennis until she was 11. At 16, she won the U.S. Open junior girls singles title. At 18, she beat Vera Zvonareva one month after the Russian reached the Wimbledon final.               
   Admittedly nervous early in Sunday's final, Vandeweghe trailed 2-0 in the opening set of her first meeting with Williams on the WTA tour. But Vandeweghe immediately broke back at love and again to lead 4-3. She held a set point at 5-4, but Williams jumped on a second serve and pounded a backhand, cross-court winner.
   "It is what it is," Vandeweghe said. "I was serving well all week, and I served pretty damn well against Serena. She's a great player. She's going to take advantage of opportunities and not let me off the hook in games or on break points."         
   Vandeweghe didn't help her cause by double-faulting on Williams' sixth break point in the game to even the set at 5-5.
   Serving at 5-6, Vandeweghe lashed a 115-mph ace for 40-15, but Williams fought back to deuce. Vandeweghe then hit a double fault way long and, following a second serve, mis-hit a backhand to drop the set.
   Williams recorded the only break of the second set, at love on another double fault, to lead 3-1 and promptly closed out the one-hour and 27-minute match.
   "I played well enough to win," she said. "I can do a lot better. I wanted it. I was mentally there. That helped me out a lot."
   Bank of the West notes -- Bank of the West renewed its sponsorship of the tournament for five years, officials announced. In its 42nd year, the Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women's tournament in the world.   It was announced in April that the SAP Open in San Jose, the second-oldest men's pro tournament in the United States, will move to Rio de Janeiro in 2014. Milos Raonic of Canada won this year's SAP Open, the 125th edition of the tournament in the Bay Area, for the second straight year in February. ...
   Unseeded Marina Erakovic of New Zealand and Heather Watson of Great Britain won the doubles title in the Bank of the West Classic, upending top seeds Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia and Vania King of Boynton Beach, Fla., 7-5, 7-6 (7). King played for the Capitals in 2010 and 2011.
   ATP World Tour in Newport, R.I. -- Third-seeded Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Scott Lipsky, a former NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford, defeated second-seeded Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins of Great Britain 7-6 (3), 6-3 to win the Campbell's Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. It was the first title of the year and seventh overall for Lipsky, 30. 
CALENDAR
    Monday -- World TeamTennis, Sacramento Capitals (with Sam Querrey) vs. New York, Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   Wednesday -- Capitals at Washington, 4:10 p.m.
   Thursday -- Capitals at Springfield, 5:05 p.m.
   Friday -- Capitals at Kansas City, 5:35 p.m.
   July 22 -- Springfield at Capitals (with Querrey, CoCo Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 24 -- Orange County (with Lindsay Davenport) at Capitals (with Kevin Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 25 -- Capitals (with Vandeweghe) at Orange County, 7 p.m.
   July 27 -- Philadelphia (with Mark Philippoussis) at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28 -- Boston at Capitals (with Anderson, Vandeweghe), Sunrise Marketplace Outdoor Pavilion, Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights, 7:35 p.m., http://www.saccaps.com/.
   July 28-Aug. 5 -- OLYMPIC TENNIS TOURNAMENT, Wimbledon, www.london2012.com.

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