Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nadal withdraws from Sony Ericsson semifinal

   Rafael Nadal's drought at the Sony Ericsson Open continues.
   The second-seeded Nadal, a three-time runner-up in Key Biscayne, Fla., withdrew hours before his semifinal against fourth-seeded Andy Murray in Key Biscayne, Fla., on Friday because of a left knee injury.
   Murray, the 2009 winner, will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and 2007 titlist, for the crown Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT (CBS). Djokovic beat 21st-seeded Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-0, 7-6 (5).
   Nadal said his knee has bothered him since he lost to Roger Federer two weeks ago in the semifinals at Indian Wells. The injury worsened when Nadal needed 2 hours, 50 minutes to subdue Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday.
   “After the last match, I saw that the situation was to be complicated to play,” Nadal told reporters. “But, as always, I believe that things can improve. I did a lot of treatment, waiting. But I am not ready to compete. I am very sorry.”
   The Sony Ericsson Open is the biggest title Nadal, a 10-time Grand Slam singles champion and the 2008 Olympic singles gold medalist, has never won. But with the French Open beginning in less than two months, he doesn't want to take any chances. Nadal, who said he plans to begin his clay-court season as scheduled at the Monte Carlo Masters in mid-April, will seek a record seventh title at Roland Garros.
   Like Nadal, Maria Sharapova is 0-3 in Sony Ericsson finals. The No. 2 seed, who attended the tournament annually as a junior training in Bradenton, Fla., will meet fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland for the title today at 9:30 a.m. (CBS). Sharapova is 7-1 against Radwanska, who also seeks her first Sony Ericsson crown.
   Capitals ousted -- Coco Vandeweghe and Yasmin Schnack, who will be teammates on the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July, were eliminated earlier this week in a $50,000 Challenger in Osprey, Fla.
   Vandeweghe, a singles qualifier, lost in the second round to third-seeded Alexandra Panova of Russia 6-3, 6-1. Vandeweghe and Irina Falconi received a wild card in doubles and reached the quarterfinals before falling to Lindsay Lee-Waters and Megan Moulton-Levy 6-4, 7-6 (2) in an all-American encounter.
   Schnack, a resident of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area, and Chi Chi Scholl of Pompano Beach, Fla., lost in the first round to second-seeded Nina Bratchikova of Russia and Darija Jurak of Croatia 6-2, 7-5.
   Colleges -- The sixth-ranked Stanford women (12-0, 5-0 Pacific-12 Conference) recorded their fourth consecutive shutout with a 7-0 victory over No. 27 Arizona State (10-4) at Stanford. At No. 1 singles, third-ranked Nicole Gibbs beat No. 9 Jacqueline Cako 6-2, 6-4.
   The No. 8 Stanford men (11-5) opened Pac-12 play with a 5-2 victory at Arizona (5-11).   
   The ninth-ranked Cal women (14-4, 6-0 Pac-12) extended their winning streak to eight matches with a 5-2 victory over No. 28 Arizona (12-5, 2-2) in Berkeley. Cal's Jana Juricova, the reigning NCAA singles champion, sat out for undisclosed reasons.
   The No. 12 Cal men (8-7) scored a 6-1 win over Utah (11-6) in a Pac-12 opener in Salt Lake City. It was the Bears' first match since March 11.
   UC Davis' men and women lost at Hawaii. The men (3-10) fell 6-1 to the Rainbow Warriors (4-9), and women (5-10) dropped a 4-3 decision to the No. 53 Raindow Wahine (9-6).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fish flops in Sony Ericsson quarterfinals

   Patrick McEnroe put it succinctly.
   "Just a horrendous performance," the ESPN2 commentator and former U.S. Davis Cup captain told viewers after eighth-seeded Mardy Fish was throttled by No. 21 Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-3 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. "There's no other way to say it. He had no feel from the get-go."
   Fish told reporters that Monaco, an Argentine who turned 28 Thursday, "did a lot of things well today. I think more than anything else, he shrunk the court extremely well with his movement, and that's why I think you saw a ton of errors from me."
   Fish, who's scheduled to play two home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13, conceded it was "a big, meaningful match for me."
   The 30-year-old Los Angeles resident, who attended high school in the Miami suburb of Boca Raton, fell one victory short of matching his 2011 performance at Key Biscayne. Ranked No. 8, he is in jeopardy of dropping out of the top 10 and being replaced by No. 10 John Isner as the top American. The new rankings will be released Sunday night.
   Fish now is being coached by Mark Knowles, one of the top doubles players of the Open Era (since 1968) and a longtime Capital. Knowles, 40, will continue to play part-time this year and return for his 11th season with the Capitals.
   "He's a huge help," said Fish, who before Key Biscayne hadn't won consecutive matches since reaching the Tokyo semifinals last October. “He's got his work cut out for him the past month or so trying to get me back on track. He's got a great tennis mind. He's been around for a long time. He's played in this era, obviously still plays. We played doubles in 2010 together."
   Monaco, an Argentine who turned 28 Thursday, reached his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semifinal. He will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and a two-time Sony Ericsson champion, today at 4 p.m. PDT (ESPN2). Djokovic downed fifth-seeded David Ferrer 6-2, 7-6 (1).
   In today's other semifinal, second-seeded Rafael Nadal, seeking his first Key Biscayne title, will meet fourth-seeded Andy Murray, the 2009 champion, at noon (ESPN2).
   Second-seeded Maria Sharapova will play fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska for the women's title Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CBS). Both are looking for their first Sony Ericsson crown, although Sharapova has appeared in the final three times.
   Sharapova topped fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the semifinals, and Radwanska beat hobbling Marion Bartoli, seeded seventh, 6-4, 6-2. Bartoli, who on Wednesday handed top-ranked and defending champion Victoria Azarenka her first loss of the year, hurt her left thigh early in the match.
   In the men's doubles semifinals, top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan fell to seventh seeds and reigning Australian Open champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-4. The 33-year-old Bryan twins won the Sony Ericsson Open in 2007 and 2008.
   Stanford men lose; Cardinal women roll -- The eighth-ranked Stanford men (10-4), playing for the first time in almost three weeks, suffered a 6-1 loss to No. 7 Pepperdine
(12-6) on Wednesday in Malibu. At No. 1 singles, ninth-ranked Sebastian Fanselow of the Waves defeated No. 84 Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA champion, 6-4, 6-2.
   The fourth-ranked Stanford women (11-0) handed No. 51 UNLV (10-7) a 7-0 loss Wednesday in Las Vegas.
   Sierra College fundraiser -- The third annual Sierra College Women's Tennis Pro/Prep/Am is scheduled for April 21 at 10 a.m. on clay at 8582 Westin Lane in Orangevale. Donations are $125 for players and $25 for spectators or others. All proceeds go to the Sierra women's tennis team.
  Checks may be made out to the Sierra College Women's Tennis Team and mailed to Ben Combs at 8582 Westin Lane, Orangevale, CA 95662.
   For more information, contact Combs at bcombs@house2homeshowcase.com or (916) 425-5889.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Azarenka suffers first loss of year

   Victoria Azarenka finally met someone who didn't choke with a big lead.
   Seventh-seeded Marion Bartoli of France handed Azarenka, the defending champion ranked No. 1 in the world, her first loss of the year, 6-3, 6-3 Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. Bartoli and Azarenka won the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2009 and 2010, respectively. 
   Azarenka, 22, of Belarus had won her first 26 matches this year, the best women's start since Martina Hingis went 37-0 in 1997. During Azarenka's streak, she trailed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-1, 4-0 in the round of 16 in Key Biscayne and 4-1 (two breaks) in the third set against Mona Barthel of Germany in the second round at Indian Wells in early March.  
   Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up to Venus Williams, won the first four games of Wednesday's match and the first game of the second set. After Azarenka took the next three games, Bartoli reeled off five straight games, and 14 of the last 16 points, for the match.
   "In the beginning of the second set, I was feeling a little bit tired, but I pumped myself up and just tried to stay positive the whole time," Bartoli, who improved to 3-8 against Azarenka, told the crowd afterward. "I think she hurt her knee a little bit and found it tough in the end of the match, but I'm very happy how I played today. This is a great victory.
   "The key for me tonight was the belief. I've beaten her in the past, and some of the losses were really close, so I knew I had a chance to win."
   Bartoli's victory ensured there will be a first-time winner of the Sony Ericsson Open. The 27-year-old Frenchwoman will face fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland on Thursday in the semifinals. Radwanska beat Williams, a wild card playing her first tournament since the U.S. Open last year because of an autoimmune disease, 6-4, 6-1.
   In the first semifinal (ESPN2, 10 a.m. PDT), second-seeded Maria Sharapova will take on fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.
   On the men's side, second-seeded Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Andy Murray survived long matches to set up a Friday semifinal. Murray, the 2009 champion and a two-time SAP Open titlist in San Jose, outlasted ninth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Nadal, seeking his first Sony Ericsson crown, edged sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
   In Thursday's men's quarterfinals, eighth-seeded Mardy Fish of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis will face No. 21 Juan Monaco (ESPN2 at about noon), and top-ranked Novak Djokovic will go against fifth-seeded David Ferrer (ESPN2, 4 p.m.).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roddick ousted after beating Federer

   Andy Roddick went from elation to elimination in less than 24 hours.
   After beating Roger Federer for only the third time in 24 career matches, the 31st-seeded Roddick lost to No. 21 Juan Monaco of Argentina 7-5, 6-0 Tuesday in the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. Monaco won 10 of the last 11 games.
   Tenth-seeded Serena Williams, a five-time champion in Key Biscayne and the reigning Bank of the West titlist at Stanford, fell to fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.  
   Both Roddick, a three-time SAP Open champion in San Jose, and Monaco had won 6-4 in the third set Monday night. Roddick also strained his right hamstring in the Australian Open in January and sprained his right ankle in the SAP Open in February.
   "There are a lot of positives out of this week," Roddick told reporters. "I feel healthy. I played matches, and I was running hard. My lack of any sort of fitness (regimen) on my leg is apparent, but that's something that is a matter of work. It's not a matter of health. That's something that's in my control. I just didn't have it physically. I got to about 4-all, and I'm out of shape. That's it."
   Monaco will meet eighth-seeded Mardy Fish on Thursday, Monaco's 28th birthday, in the quarterfinals. Fish, who's scheduled to play two home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13, outlasted 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
   "For sure, this is by far the best I've played all year," said Fish, who hadn't won consecutive matches since reaching the Tokyo semifinals last October.
   Fish must reach the semifinals, matching his result in last year's Sony Ericsson Open, to avoid dropping in the rankings. He soon could fall out of the top 10 and be replaced by No. 10 John Isner as the top American. Isner made his professional debut in 2007 in the Sacramento area, winning a Futures title.
   Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, the 1998 NCAA doubles champions from Stanford, dominated Daniele Bracciali of Italy and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. The Bryans, the identical twin sons of Capitals coach Wayne Bryan, won Key Biscayne in 2007 and 2008.
   U.S. Davis Cup team named -- U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier named Fish, Isner and the top-ranked Bryans to the team that will face France in the quarterfinals, April 6-8 on red clay in Monte Carlo.
   France will counter with No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 14 Gael Monfils, No. 33 Julien Benneteau and No. 43 Michael Llodra.
   Tennis Channel will televise the best-of-five-match series live at 3 a.m. PDT on April 6 (two singles matches), 5 a.m. on April 7 (one doubles match) and 2 a.m. on April 8 (reverse singles matches).
   The United States is 8-7 against France. The Americans' only win in France came in the 1982 final in Grenoble.   If the U.S. wins next month, it will travel to either Spain or Austria for the Sept. 14-16 semifinals.
   Sac State men take sole lead -- In a match for sole possession of first place in the Big Sky Conference, the host Sacramento State men defeated Eastern Washington 4-3 indoors for their 23rd consecutive league victory.
   Javier Millan, Sac State's only senior, overcame a 5-0 deficit in the first set to beat James Russell 7-6 (6), 6-4 at No. 2 singles and give the Hornets an insurmountable 4-2 lead. Sac State freshman Sean Kolar then lost in three sets at No. 4 singles.
   Sac State (5-10, 4-0), which has four conference matches remaining, will try to win its fourth straight Big Sky Tournament title next month at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area. Eastern Washington dropped to 9-7 and 3-1.
   College rankings -- The Stanford men and women remained in the top 10 in the new Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. The women fell two places to No. 6, and the men rose two spots to No. 8.
   Other rankings of Northern California teams and players:
   Men's team -- No. 12 Cal; No. 31 Santa Clara.
   Men's singles -- No. 15 Artem Ilyushin (Granite Bay), Mississippi State; No. 25 Ryan Thacher, Stanford; No. 37 Ben McLachlan, Cal; No. 39 Carlos Cueto, Cal; No. 76 Nick Andrews (Folsom), Cal; No. 84 Bradley Klahn, Stanford; No. 107 Thai Tu, USF; No. 111 Kyle Dandan, Santa Clara.
   Men's doubles -- No. 3 Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt, Cal; No. 9 Klahn and Thacher, Stanford; No. 33 Cueto and McLachlan, Cal; No. 43 George Coupland and Ilyushin, Mississippi State; No. 53 John Morrissey and Thacher, Stanford.        
   Women's team -- No. 34 Saint Mary's; No. 59 Sac State.
   Women's singles -- No. 3 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford; No. 4 Mallory Burdette, Stanford; No. 5 Jana Juricova, Cal; No. 14 Zsofi Susanyi, Cal; No. 20 Denise Dy (San Jose), Washington; No. 38 Katie Le, Santa Clara; No. 45 Stacey Tan, Stanford; No. 53 Tayler Davis (San Jose), Cal; No. 59 Ellen Tsay (Pleasanton), Stanford; No. 72 Anett Schutting, Cal; No. 82 Jenny Jullien, Saint Mary's; No. 90 Annie Goransson, Cal.
   Women's doubles -- No. 3 Burdette and Gibbs, Stanford; No. 23 Goransson and Schutting, Cal; No. 41 Juricova and Susanyi, Cal; No. 43 Tan and Tsay, Stanford.

Federer's streak ends; Azarenka survives

   One winning streak ended Monday, and another should have.
   No. 31 seed Andy Roddick ousted No. 3 Roger Federer 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4 in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., and No. 1 Victoria Azarenka pulled out a 1-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5 victory over Dominika Cibulkova in the round of 16.
   Roddick snapped Federer's 16-match winning streak, which included titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells. Azarenka, who trailed 6-1, 4-0 and survived a match point, improved to 26-0 this year.
   Roddick, Federer and Azarenka are two-time champions in Key Biscayne. Azarenka and her top-ranked male counterpart, Novak Djokovic, won last year's titles.
   Roddick beat Federer for only the third time in 24 meetings and the second time in Key Biscayne.
   "It was kind of a game of chess," Roddick, a three-time SAP Open champion in San Jose, told reporters. "I stayed back on the returns, which is something I have not done with him often early on. I think he might have been a little bit surprised by it. He made the adjustment like he does because he's Roger. He started coming in a lot and putting the pressure on me, and it was 6-1 in the second and 0-40 early in the third. It was apparent that that wasn't going to work much longer.
   "So I said, 'Well, all right. Let's kind of go over-the-top aggressive.' I was able to get out of that game and play that really good game to break, and then my serve held up from there."
   In the round of 16, Roddick will meet 21st-seeded Juan Monaco, who beat 14th-seeded Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
   Cibulkova, from Slovakia, also blew a 6-3, 3-1 lead against Azarenka in the third round of last year's Sony Ericsson Open. On Monday, Cibulkova repeatedly ripped forehand winners to build a commanding lead but double-faulted at critical times and missed a forehand on match point.
   "It kind of felt like she closed her eyes and just went for everything, and me, I couldn't open my eyes," said Azarenka, the Bank of the West champion at Stanford  in 2010 in singles and last year in doubles with Maria Kirilenko. "I was blinded a little bit. But my coach came to the court, kicked me a little bit that I had to at least try to change something, because it was like a snowball ... But it was more about fighting in my heart today rather than any shot. I definitely wasn't thinking about the streak."
   Azarenka, who will meet seventh-seeded Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals, is coming off her first Indian Wells title. In that tournament, she overcame a third-set deficit of 4-1 against Mona Barthel of Germany in the second round.
   Eighth-seeded Mardy Fish of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis dispatched 28th-seeded Kevin Anderson, a 6-foot-8 South African, 6-4, 6-3 in the third round at Key Biscayne. Fish next faces 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain.
   In the second round of men's doubles, ex-Stanford star Scott Lipsky and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico lost to Lukasz Kubot of Poland and Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 6-0, 6-3.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Injury prevents matchup of two-time SAP Open champs

   It was going to be a special match for Northern California tennis fans.
   But fourth-seeded Andy Murray received a walkover from 26th-seeded Milos Raonic on Sunday in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. Raonic said he had sprained his right ankle in practice. Murray, the 2009 champion, will face 12th-seeded Gilles Simon in the fourth round.   
   Murray, 24, of Scotland and Raonic, 21, of Canada won their first ATP World Tour titles at the SAP Open in San Jose and repeated the following year. Murray, 6-foot-3, broke through at 18 years old in 2006 and Raonic, 6-5, at 20 last year. Sunday's match would have been their first meeting.
   Both players are projected to win Grand Slam singles titles. Murray is 0-3 in major finals; Raonic's best showing in a Slam is the round of 16 as a qualifier in last year's Australian Open. Raonic's progress was slowed by hip surgery last July. 
   Meanwhile, eighth-seeded Mardy Fish received a possible reprieve when 10th-seeded John Isner lost to 19th-seeded Florian Mayer of Germany 6-4, 6-2. Fish -- who plays 28th-seeded Kevin Anderson, 6-8, today in the third round -- is in danger of dropping out of the top 10 and being replaced by Isner as the top American. 
   Fish, 30, is scheduled to play two home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13. He must reach at least the Key Biscayne semifinals, matching his result last year, to avoid falling from No. 8. Isner, 26, lurks at No. 10.
   No. 1 women's seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus improved to 25-0 this year with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Heather Watson of Great Britain in the third round. Azarenka won the first nine games.
   In the second round of men's doubles, top seeds and ex-Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Juan Monaco of Argentina 6-3, 6-4. The Bryan twins won the doubles crown at Key Biscayne in 2007 and 2008.
   Jean-Julien Rojer, a Netherlands Antilles native and resident who will play full-time for the Capitals in July, and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan lost to Daniele Bracciali of Italy and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia 6-2, 7-6 (7).
   Cal women coast -- The 10th-ranked Cal women (13-4, 5-0 Pacific-12 Conference) extended their winning streak to seven matches with a 7-0 victory over No. 38 Washington State (12-5, 2-3) in Berkeley. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Capitals' Fish could drop out of top 10, fall below Isner

   The pressure is on Mardy Fish.
   If the 30-year-old veteran fails to reach the semifinals of the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., matching his result last year, he probably will drop out of the top 10 and be replaced by John Isner as the top American.
   Fish, who's scheduled to play home matches for the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis on July 12 and 13, is ranked eighth and the Isner 10th. Isner, who's listed at 6-foot-9 but actually is 6-10, is the tallest top-10 player ever. 
   Fish, who beat qualifier Frank Dancevic of Canada 6-3, 7-6 (1) Saturday in the second round at Key Biscayne, faces a stiff test Monday against 28th-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa. The 6-8 Anderson advanced with a 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 victory over Sam Querrey, a 6-6 native of San Francisco.
   Fish is 1-0 against Anderson, winning 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-6(3) in the third round of last year's U.S. Open. But Anderson has improved from 34th in the world to 28th since then, winning his second career title three weeks ago in Delray Beach.
   If Fish survives that match, he'll face one of two tough Spaniards, No. 12 seed Nicolas Almagro or No. 20 Fernando Verdasco, in the fourth round.
   Folsom resident Dmitry Tursunov, still plagued by a strained tendon in his left wrist, withdrew from Key Biscayne last week. A right-hander with a two-handed backhand, Tursunov hasn't played since losing in the first round of singles and doubles at the Australian Open two months ago.        
   Three former Stanford All-Americans reached the second round of doubles in the Sony Ericsson Open.   Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, the 2007 and 2008 champions, dismissed Australians Paul Hanley and Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-2 in 45 minutes. Also, ex-Cardinal standout Scott Lipsky teamed with Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico to beat Czechs Tomas Berdych and Lukas Dlouhy 7-5, 6-1.
   Colleges -- The host Sacramento State women snapped a three-match losing streak with a 7-0 victory indoors over Eastern Washington. The Hornets (10-9, 4-0) extended their Big Sky Conference winning streak to 87 matches. The Eagles fell to 3-10 and 1-2. ...
  Rain postponed the match between the No. 10 Cal women  (12-4, 4-0 Pacific-12 Conference) and No. 38 Washington State (12-4, 2-2) in Berkeley until today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Federer tops list of 100 best players ever

   Tennis Channel on Friday ranked Roger Federer first on its list of the top 100 players ever.
   An international panel of experts gave Federer the edge over No. 2 Rod Laver. Rounding out the top 10, in order, were Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.
   Federer, 30, holds men's records of 16 Grand Slam singles titles and 237 consecutive weeks at No. 1 (2004-08). Currently ranked No. 3, he needs one more week at No. 1 to tie Sampras for the most total weeks at the top (286).
   Federer is one of seven men to win a career Grand Slam. The others are Oakland native Don Budge, Fred Perry, Laver, Roy Emerson, former Sacramento Capital Andre Agassi and Nadal. Budge and Laver are the only men to do it in a calendar year. Laver accomplished the feat twice (1962 and 1969).
   Below is the complete list.
   Djokovic on "60 Minutes" -- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will be profiled on "60 Minutes" on Sunday at 6 p.m. PDT on CBS, the ATP World Tour announced on its website.
   Sony Ericsson Open -- It was a bad day for players with Northern California ties in the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla. Only one of five players won in the opening round of doubles.
   Jean-Julien Rojer, a Netherlands Antilles native and resident who will play for the Capitals of World TeamTennis in July, and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan defeated Pablo Andujar of Spain and Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-1, 6-4.
   Capitals teammates Mardy Fish of Los Angeles and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas fell to Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins of Great Britain 6-1, 7-6 (5). Knowles won the 2002 doubles crown at Key Biscayne with Daniel Nestor.
   Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, and Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus lost to seventh-seeded Leander Paes of India and Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-2, 7-6 (3). Querrey was coming off a runner-up finish in doubles at Indian Wells with John Isner. Paes, who has won the last two doubles titles at Key Biscayne with other partners, and Stepanek won the Australian Open in January.
   Raquel Kops-Jones, a former Cal All-American from Fresno, and Abigail Spears of San Diego succumbed to sixth-seeded Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-2, 6-1.
   Cal women blank Sac State -- The No. 10 Cal women (12-4) breezed to a 7-0 victory over No. 69 Sacramento State (9-9) in Berkeley. Sixth-ranked Jana Juricova, the defending NCAA champion, crushed Tatsiana Kapshai 6-0, 6-0 at No. 1 singles.
   Sac State did pick up a victory at No. 3 doubles as Katharina Knoebl and Sophie Lohscheidt topped Tayler Davis of San Jose and Alice Duranteau 8-3.
   Cal's Zsofi Susanyi, ranked 17th, edged Rebeca Delgado 2-6, 6-3, 10-7 tiebreak at No. 2 singles.
   Tennis Channel top 100 -- Here's the list:

100 - Michael Chang, M, USA
99 - Ann Haydon Jones, Female, GBR
98 - Henry Bunny Austin, GBR
97 - Pat Cash, M, AUS
96 - Manuel Orantes, M, ESP
95 - Thomas Muster, M, AUT
94 - Andy Roddick, M, USA
93 - Nicola Pietrangeli, M, ITA
92 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, F, RUS
91 - Shirley Fry Irvin, F, USA
90 - Bill Johnston, M, USA
89 - Dorothea Lambert Chambers, F, GBR
88 - Amelie Mauresmo, F, FRA
87 - Mary Pierce, F, FRA
86 - Tony Wilding, M, NZL
85 - Yannick Noah, M, FRA
84 - Norman Brookes, M, AUS
83 - Jan Kodes, M, CZE
82 - Yevgeny Kafelnikov, M, RUS
81 - Vic Seixas, M, USA
80 - Marat Safin, M, RUS
79 - Gabriela Sabatini, F, ARG
78 - Ashley Cooper, M, AUS
77 - Molla Mallory, F, USA
76 - William Renshaw, M, GBR
75 - Pauline Betz Addie, F, USA
74 - Tony Roche, M, AUS
73 - Jaroslav Drobny, M, CZE
72 - Gottfried Von Cramm, M, GER
71 - Maria Sharapova, F, RUS
70 - Patrick Rafter, M, AUS
69 - Louise Brough, F, USA
68 - Helen Hull Jacobs, F, USA
67 - Fred Stolle, M, AUS
66 - Bobby Riggs, M, USA
65 - Pancho Segura, M, ECU
64 - Ellsworth Vines, M, USA
63 - Lleyton Hewitt, M, AUS
62 - Hana Mandlikova, F, CZE
61 - Neale Fraser, M, USA
60 - Virginia Wade, F, GBR
59 - Margaret Osborne Dupont, F, USA
58 - Alice Marble, F,  USA
57 - Jennifer Capriati, F, USA
56 - Stan Smith, M, USA
55 - Gustavo Kuerten, M, BRA
54 - Manuel Santana, M, ESP
53 - Tracy Austin, F, USA
52 - Jack Crawford, M, AUS
51 - Doris Hart, F, USA
50 - Tony Trabert, M, USA
49 - Ilie Nastase, M, ROM
48 - Frank Sedgman, M, AUS
47 -  Jean Borotra, M, FRA
46 -  Henri Cochet, M, FRA
45 -  Kim Clijsters, F, BEL 
44 -  Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, F, ESP
43 -  Lindsay Davenport, F, USA
42 -  Jim Courier, M, USA
41 -  Guillermo Vilas, M, ARG
40 -  Novak Djokovic, M, SRB
39 -  Althea Gibson, F, USA
38 -  Maria Bueno, F, BRA
37 -  Evonne Goolagong, F, AUS
36 -  Rene Lacoste, M, FRA
35 -  Pancho Gonzales, M, USA
34 -  Jack Kramer, M, USA
33 -  Mats Wilander, M, SWE
32 -  Lew Hoad, M, AUS
31 -  John Newcombe, M, AUS
30 -  Martina Hingis, F, SUI
29 -  Helen Wills Moody, F, USA
28 -  Arthur Ashe, M, USA
27 -  Maureen Connolly Brinker, F, USA
26 -  Justine Henin, F, BEL
25 -  Stefan Edberg, M, SWE
24 -  Suzanne Lenglen, F, FRA
23 -  Fred Perry, M, GBR
22 -  Venus Williams, F, USA
21 -  Boris Becker, M, GER
20 -  Ken Rosewall, M, AUS
19 -  Monica Seles, F, USA
18 -  Ivan Lendl, M, CZE
17 -  Roy Emerson, M, AUS
16 -  Bill Tilden, M, USA
15 -  Jimmy Connors, M, USA
14 -  Serena Williams, F, USA
13 -  John McEnroe, M, USA
12 -  Andre Agassi, M, USA
11 -  Don Budge, M, USA
10 -  Billie Jean King, F, USA
9 -  Christ Evert, F, USA
8 -  Margaret Court, F, AUS
7 -  Bjorn Borg, M, SWE
6 -  Rafael Nadal, M, ESP
5 -  Pete Sampras, M, USA
4 -  Martina Navratilova, F, USA/CZE
3 -  Steffi Graf, F, GER
2 -  Rod Laver, M, AUS
1 - Roger Federer, M, SUI 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ex-Capital Agassi ranked 12th-best player of all time

   Andre Agassi became the third former Sacramento Capital of World TeamTennis among Tennis Channel's top 100 when he was ranked No. 12 on Thursday's show counting down Nos. 20-11.
   The lifelong Las Vegan, who will turn 42 on April 29, won eight Grand Slam singles titles and an Olympic gold medal, and he played on two Davis Cup championship teams for the United States. He is one of seven men to win a career Grand Slam, joining Oakland native Don Budge (No. 11 on the list), Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
   Agassi played part-time for the Capitals from 2002, when they won their fifth of a record six WTT titles, to 2004. Also on the list are ex-Capitals Lindsay Davenport (No. 43) and Michael Chang (No. 100).
   Tennis Channel will air a one-hour program counting down No. 10 to No. 1 today at 4 p.m. PDT, 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. The order remains to be seen, but the top 10 apparently are:
   Men -- Rod Laver, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg.
   Women -- Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Margaret Court and Billie Jean King.
   The network also will recap Nos. 100 through 11 today from noon to 4 p.m.
   Here's the list so far:
100 - Michael Chang, M, USA
99 - Ann Haydon Jones, Female, GBR
98 - Henry Bunny Austin, GBR
97 - Pat Cash, M, AUS
96 - Manuel Orantes, M, ESP
95 - Thomas Muster, M, AUT
94 - Andy Roddick, M, USA
93 - Nicola Pietrangeli, M, ITA
92 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, F, RUS
91 - Shirley Fry Irvin, F, USA
90 - Bill Johnston, M, USA
89 - Dorothea Lambert Chambers, F, GBR
88 - Amelie Mauresmo, F, FRA
87 - Mary Pierce, F, FRA
86 - Tony Wilding, M, NZL
85 - Yannick Noah, M, FRA
84 - Norman Brookes, M, AUS
83 - Jan Kodes, M, CZE
82 - Yevgeny Kafelnikov, M, RUS
81 - Vic Seixas, M, USA
80 - Marat Safin, M, RUS
79 - Gabriela Sabatini, F, ARG
78 - Ashley Cooper, M, AUS
77 - Molla Mallory, F, USA
76 - William Renshaw, M, GBR
75 - Pauline Betz Addie, F, USA
74 - Tony Roche, M, AUS
73 - Jaroslav Drobny, M, CZE
72 - Gottfried Von Cramm, M, GER
71 - Maria Sharapova, F, RUS
70 - Patrick Rafter, M, AUS
69 - Louise Brough, F, USA
68 - Helen Hull Jacobs, F, USA
67 - Fred Stolle, M, AUS
66 - Bobby Riggs, M, USA
65 - Pancho Segura, M, ECU
64 - Ellsworth Vines, M, USA
63 - Lleyton Hewitt, M, AUS
62 - Hana Mandlikova, F, CZE
61 - Neale Fraser, M, USA
60 - Virginia Wade, F, GBR
59 - Margaret Osborne Dupont, F, USA
58 - Alice Marble, F,  USA
57 - Jennifer Capriati, F, USA
56 - Stan Smith, M, USA
55 - Gustavo Kuerten, M, BRA
54 - Manuel Santana, M, ESP
53 - Tracy Austin, F, USA
52 - Jack Crawford, M, AUS
51 - Doris Hart, F, USA
50 - Tony Trabert, M, USA
49 - Ilie Nastase, M, ROM
48 - Frank Sedgman, M, AUS
47 -  Jean Borotra, M, FRA
46 -  Henri Cochet, M, FRA
45 -  Kim Clijsters, F, BEL 
44 -  Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, F, ESP
43 -  Lindsay Davenport, F, USA
42 -  Jim Courier, M, USA
41 -  Guillermo Vilas, M, ARG
40 -  Novak Djokovic, M, SRB
39 -  Althea Gibson, F, USA
38 -  Maria Bueno, F, BRA
37 -  Evonne Goolagong, F, AUS
36 -  Rene Lacoste, M, FRA
35 -  Pancho Gonzales, M, USA
34 -  Jack Kramer, M, USA
33 -  Mats Wilander, M, SWE
32 -  Lew Hoad, M, AUS
31 -  John Newcombe, M, AUS
30 -  Martina Hingis, F, SUI
29 -  Helen Wills Moody, F, USA
28 -  Arthur Ashe, M, USA
27 -  Maureen Connolly Brinker, F, USA
26 -  Justine Henin, F, BEL
25 -  Stefan Edberg, M, SWE
24 -  Suzanne Lenglen, F, FRA
23 -  Fred Perry, M, GBR
22 -  Venus Williams, F, USA
21 -  Boris Becker, M, GER
20 -  Ken Rosewall, M, AUS
19 -  Monica Seles, F, USA
18 -  Ivan Lendl, M, CZE
17 -  Roy Emerson, M, AUS
16 -  Bill Tilden, M, USA
15 -  Jimmy Connors, M, USA
14 -  Serena Williams, F, USA
13 -  John McEnroe, M, USA
12 -  Andre Agassi, M, USA
11 -  Don Budge, M, USA

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All-time top 100 includes two ex-Capitals (so far)

   Tennis Channel's list of the top 100 players of all time so far includes two former Sacramento Capitals of  World TeamTennis, with one more coming.
   As if ranking players of different eras isn't difficult enough, an international panel of experts is combining men and women and active and retired players. Good luck with all of that. In any case, Lindsay Davenport is ranked No. 43 and Michael Chang No. 100. Andre Agassi will be the third ex-Capital when the top 20 are revealed.
   Davenport won six Grand Slam titles (three in singles and three in women's doubles) and an Olympic singles gold medal in singles and played on three Fed Cup championship teams for the United States. She was ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles.
   Chang remains the youngest man to win a Grand Slam singles title after capturing the 1989 French Open at 17. He reached three other Grand Slam singles finals and played on one Davis Cup title team for the U.S.
   Tennis Channel has broadcast three one-hour shows -- on Nos. 100-71, Nos. 70-41 and Nos. 40-21 -- this week. Nos. 20-11 will premiere Thursday at 4 p.m. PDT and Nos. 10-1 Friday at the same time (see the full schedule below).
   Agassi played part-time for the Capitals from 2002, when they won their fifth of a record six WTT titles, to 2004. Chang competed part-time in 2009 and 2010.
   Davenport has a long history with the Capitals. She earned WTT Female Rookie of the Year honors at 17 years old in 1993 and helped Sacramento win WTT crowns in 1997 and 1998. Davenport also played one match during the Capitals' 2007 championship season six weeks after giving birth to her first child. Now 35 with three children, she is scheduled to play for the Orange Country Breakers against the Capitals on July 24 at Sunrise Marketplace Stadium.
   Chang was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2008, and Agassi joined him last year. Davenport undoubtedly will join them when she becomes eligible next year.
   Here's Tennis Channel's top-100 schedule for the rest of the week (all times PDT):
   Tonight -- Nos. 40-21 at 10 o'clock (repeat).
   Thursday -- Nos. 100-71 at 1 p.m.; Nos. 70-41 at 2 p.m.; Nos. 40-21 at 3 p.m.; Nos. 20-11 at 4 p.m. (premiere), 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.
   Friday -- Nos. 100-71 at noon; Nos. 70-41 at 1 p.m.; Nos. 40-21 at 2 p.m.; Nos. 20-11 at 3 p.m.; Nos. 10-1 at 4 p.m. (premiere), 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.         
   Following are Tennis Channel's No. 100 through 41:
100 - Michael Chang, Male, USA
99 - Ann Haydon Jones, Female, GBR
98 - Henry Bunny Austin, M, GBR
97 - Pat Cash, M, AUS
96 - Manuel Orantes, M, ESP
95 - Thomas Muster, M, AUT
94 - Andy Roddick, M, USA
93 - Nicola Pietrangeli, M, ITA
92 - Svetlana Kuznetsova, F, RUS
91 - Shirley Fry Irvin, F, USA
90 - Bill Johnston, M, USA
89 - Dorothea Lambert Chambers, F, GBR
88 - Amelie Mauresmo, F, FRA
87 - Mary Pierce, F, FRA
86 - Tony Wilding, M, NZL
85 - Yannick Noah, M, FRA
84 - Norman Brookes, M, AUS
83 - Jan Kodes, M, CZE
82 - Yevgeny Kafelnikov, M, RUS
81 - Vic Seixas, M, USA
80 - Marat Safin, M, RUS
79 - Gabriela Sabatini, F, ARG
78 - Ashley Cooper, M, AUS
77 - Molla Mallory, F, USA
76 - William Renshaw, M, GBR
75 - Pauline Betz Addie, F, USA
74 - Tony Roche, M, AUS
73 - Jaroslav Drobny, M, CZE
72 - Gottfried Von Cramm, M, GER
71 - Maria Sharapova, F, RUS
70 - Patrick Rafter , M, AUS
69 - Louise Brough , F, USA
68 - Helen Hull Jacobs , F, USA
67 - Fred Stolle , M, AUS
66 - Bobby Riggs , M, USA
65 - Pancho Segura  , M, ECU
64 - Ellsworth Vines , M, USA
63 - Lleyton Hewitt  , M, AUS
62 - Hana Mandlikova , F, CZE
61 - Neale Fraser , M, USA
60 - Virginia Wade , F, GBR
59 - Margaret Osborne Dupont, F, USA
58 - Alice Marble , F,  USA
57 - Jennifer Capriati , F, USA
56 - Stan Smith, M, USA
55 -  Gustavo Kuerten, M, BRA
54 - Manuel Santana, M, ESP
53 - Tracy Austin, F, USA
52 - Jack Crawford, M, AUS
51 - Doris Hart, F, USA
50 - Tony Trabert, M, USA
49 - Ilie Nastase , M, ROM
48 - Frank Sedgman, M, AUS
47 -  Jean Borotra, M, FRA
46 -  Henri Cochet, M, FRA
45 -  Kim Clijsters, F, BEL 
44 -  Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, F, ESP
43 -  Lindsay Davenport, F, USA
42 -  Jim Courier, M, USA
41 -  Guillermo Vilas, M, ARG

You don't say? Indian Wells news conference awards

   There are few greater pleasures than watching world-class tennis while basking in the sun at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains looming in the distance.
   Unfortunately, I did very little of that during a three-day visit to the recent BNP Paribas Open. I spent the vast majority of my time attending post-match news conferences, of which there's one approximately every 30 seconds, and taking photos of players during media sessions and matches. Those photos, as well as others from the Australian Open in January, should start appearing with stories on NorCal Tennis Czar soon.
   Still, the news conferences can be worthwhile once you get past the cliches about "playing my game" and "taking one match at a time." You get a glimpse of the players' personalities and every once in a while actually learn something.
   Here are some awards from the briefings I attended:
   Mr. Excitement Award (Most Unemotional Player) -- Andy Murray might want to hold off on that stand-up comedy career. Although cooperative enough, he's about as lively as a postal worker -- win, lose or draw.
   However, tennis guru Vic Braden did get a rise out of Murray, previously thought impossible. Braden told Murray, the former world No. 2 who's 0-3 in Grand Slam singles finals: "Everybody criticizes you for what you haven't done. I applaud you for what you have done."
   "Thank you ... a first," said Murray, smiling widely and clapping his hands.    
   Dick Enberg Award (Worst Preface to a Question) -- A reporter said to top-ranked Victoria Azarenka, who went on to win her first Indian Wells singles title: "You've probably been asked this a billion times ... " Nothing like antagonizing a player from the get-go.
   Take That! Award (Best Comeback Line) -- Replied Azarenka, rolling her eyes: "So you just want to ask me again, right? OK, let's do it ... billion and one. 
   Outside the Lines Award (Best Perspective) -- The reporter above asked Azarenka, who almost quit tennis last year, to discuss the pep talk that her grandmother gave her.
   Azarenka responded: "She really changed my perspective of life. There's no time to complain when you're so lucky to be able to do something that you love and you're actually good at. You just have to work hard and enjoy being here."
   Albert Einstein Award (Smartest Player) -- Marion Bartoli, last year's runner-up at Indian Wells, said then that she has an IQ of 175.
   Honorable mention: Andy Roddick and Mona Barthel. Roddick answers questions insightfully and does not suffer fools gladly. Barthel, a 21-year-old German who came within two points of beating Azarenka in the second round, finished high school one year ahead of schedule. "I love to go to school," she said. 
   Honest Abe Award (Most Candid Player) -- When Bartoli was asked if she regretted revealing her lofty IQ, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up from France said: "Do I regret saying the truth? No. I don't say every day, I'm so smart. I was 9 years old (when tested). I'm 27 now. It doesn't mean I'm smarter or better than anyone else."
   Say What? Award (Biggest Revelation) -- Top-ranked Novak Djokovic's best memory of the French Open was a loss -- 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5) to Roger Federer in last year's semifinals.
   "One of the most exciting matches was definitely the one against Roger last year, even though I lost," said Djokovic, who will continue his quest for the Grand Slam in just over two months at Roland Garros. "I still think it was a pretty special one because we went the distance. We went up to, what, 9 or 9:15 in the evening with no lights and with a full stadium."
   So a loss is Djokovic's best memory of the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament he hasn't won?
   "Yeah. Losses are a part of the sport," he noted.
   Honorable mention: Sam Querrey. The 6-foot-6 San Francisco native said his new coach, Brad Gilbert of San Rafael, wants him "to play a big man's game -- big serves, big forehands. 'If the ball's ever in your zone, pop it -- no questions asked.' "
   Hadn't anyone told Querrey that? "No," he responded.
   Honorable mention: Jamie Hampton. The 22-year-old Auburn, Ala., product said she has never been to a football game -- pro, college or high school.
   "Tennis takes over," explained Hampton, who upset 2010 Indian Wells champion Jelena Jankovic en route to the fourth round.
   Patrick Rafter Award (Nicest Guy) -- Querrey, who turned pro out of high school six years ago, is old enough to be jaded (see John Isner) but remains cheerful and down to earth. This has a lot to do with his normal upbringing. Rather than attend a tennis academy or be home-schooled, he graduated from a public high school in the Los Angeles area and went to his class' all-night graduation party at Disneyland. At the Tiburon Challenger last October, Querrey hit with ballboys and ballgirls after at least one match. When was the last time you saw a pro do that?   
   Federal Express Award (Most Prompt Player) -- It often takes players, apparently oblivious to reporters' deadlines, 30 to 60 minutes after their matches to appear in the interview room. Roddick, however, showed up promptly. Thank you, Andy. Roddick does everything fast: play, go to interviews and talk.  
   We Won't Bite Award (Quietest Player) -- I interviewed Christina McHale three years ago after she won the USTA girls 18 national singles and doubles titles in Berkeley, and she didn't have a lot to say. I figured it was because she was only 17 years old.
   Well, guess what? McHale still doesn't have a lot to say. Her answers were never more than two or three sentences long. Her game speaks volumes, though. McHale, from New Jersey outside of New York City, stunned reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova en route to the fourth round at Indian Wells. Granted, Kvitova was weak from a virus she had picked up in the Middle East. But McHale, now 19 years old (20 on May 11), ranks second among Americans at No. 32 in the world.    
   Statue of Liberty Award (best English by a non-native speaker) -- Most international players speak English remarkably well, but Maria Sharapova takes it to another level. Sharapova, who moved from her native Russia to the United States at 7, has no trace of an accent. She will turn 25 on April 19.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sacramento finally lands women's pro tournament

   A women's professional tournament finally is coming to the Sacramento area.
   The $50,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger is scheduled for May 27-June 3 at the Gold River Racquet Club. Since pro tennis returned to Sacramento in 2005 after 33 years, the area has hosted many men's Challengers and Futures -- comparable to Triple-A and Class-A baseball, respectively -- but none for women.
   The Gold River Challenger, the only $50,000 women's tournament in California, replaces Carson on the calendar. Last year's champions were top-seeded Camila Giorgi, an Italian ranked No. 197 in the world at the time, in singles and fourth-seeded Alexandra Mueller of Abington, Pa., and Asia Muhammed of Las Vegas in doubles. Yasmin Schnack of Elk Grove in the Sacramento area reached the singles quarterfinals and the doubles final (with since-retired Christina Fusano, a Sacramento native).
   Muhammed, who will turn 21 on April 4, and Schnack, 23, will be teammates on the Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in July.
   Schnack plans to play at Gold River and probably will be joined by Maria Sanchez of Modesto, said tournament director Kelly Wilson. Schnack and Sanchez -- former rivals as UCLA and USC All-Americans, respectively -- play doubles together on the Challenger circuit.
   The Capitals played home matches at Gold River for 15 years, leaving for Sunrise Mall in 2002 because of complaints from homeowners about traffic, noise and lights. The team returned to Sunrise Mall last season after four years at the Galleria in Roseville.
   New rankings -- Doubles specialist John Paul Fruttero, a former Cal All-American, cracked the top 100 for the first time at age 30. Fruttero, who lives in San Jose, rose six spots to No. 99 by winning the $50,000 Challenger in Pingguo, China, with Raven Klaasen of South Africa.
   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.
   Mardy Fish, Sacramento Capitals (2012) of World TeamTennis -- No. 8 in singles (no change), No. 105 in doubles (-1).
   John Paul Fruttero, Cal All-American in 2001 and 2002 -- Career-high No. 99 in doubles (+6), unranked in singles.
   Kiryl Harbatsiuk, three-time Big Sky Conference MVP (2009-11) at Sacramento State -- No. 768 in singles (-2), No. 1,249 in doubles (+2).
   Mark Knowles, Capitals (2001-07, 2009-12) -- No. 72 in doubles (-11), unranked in singles.
   Scott Lipsky, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 35 in doubles (+2), unranked in singles.
   David Martin, 2002 NCAA doubles runner-up from Stanford -- No. 152 in doubles (+4), No. 762 in singles (-5).
   Conor Niland, 2006 Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year and two-time All-American at Cal -- No. 313 in singles (+5), unranked in doubles.
   Sam Querrey, San Francisco native -- No. 102 in singles (-17), No. 28 in doubles (+7).
   Jean-Julien Rojer, Capitals (2012) -- No. 38 in doubles (no change), unranked in singles.
   Dmitry Tursunov, Folsom resident -- No. 65 in singles (-4), No. 224 in doubles (-2).
   Jimmy Wang, Folsom resident -- No. 188 in singles (+21), No. 386 in doubles (+29).
Women
   Raquel Kops-Jones, 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal -- Career-high No. 28 in doubles (no change), No. 712 in singles (+2).
   Asia Muhammed, Capitals (2012) -- No. 182 in doubles (+4), No. 381 in singles (+6).
   Maria Sanchez, Modesto resident -- Career-high No. 187 in doubles (+4), career-high No. 383 in singles (+97).
   Yasmin Schnack, Elk Grove resident, Capitals (2011-12) -- Career-high No. 169 in doubles (no change), career-high No. 372 in singles (+5).
   Coco Vandeweghe, Capitals (2009, 2012) -- No. 169 in singles (-10), No. 415 in doubles (+4).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Federer, Azarenka overcome adversity for BNP titles

   Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka overcame everything but alien invaders in the past two weeks to win the BNP Paribas Open.
  Adversity? You name it -- Federer and Azarenka faced it in Indian Wells.
  In the middle of the tournament, Federer, his wife and two young daughters felt the effects of the virus that devastated many players and fans. Federer also lost the first set against two first-time opponents, dangerous Milos Raonic and Thomaz Bellucci.
  In the semifinals, Federer waited out a three-hour rain delay, then coped with the wind in a straight-set victory over rival Rafael Nadal. Finally, the Swiss star tamed the huge serve of 6-foot-9 John Isner, coming off a victory over top-ranked Novak Djokovic, to win 7-6 (7), 6-3 Sunday for his record fourth title at Indian Wells.
   "When it all pays off after a bit of a scare early on in the week and you get the title and the emotions are going, it's a wonderful feeling," Federer told reporters. "I remember the days when I won three years in a row here, and I enjoyed myself over here." 
   Federer, 30, has won 15 straight matches (three titles) and 39 of 41 since losing in the U.S. Open semifinals last September. He avenged both losses, to Nadal in the Australian Open semifinals and to Isner in the first round of the Davis Cup in Switzerland, in the BNP Paribas Open. Federer also won the Indian Wells trophy for the first time since 2006, when he capped a three-year title run.
   Azarenka, ranked No. 1, apparently avoided the virus but trailed 4-1 in the third set and was two points from losing against Mona Barthel of Germany in the second round. From then on, Azarenka lost only 21 games in five matches, culminating in her 6-2, 6-3 triumph over Maria Sharapova, for her first Indian Wells singles crown (she won the 2009 doubles title with Vera Zvonareva).
   It was the first women's final between No. 1 and No. 2 in the world since 2008. Azarenka improved to 23-0 this year, the best start since Martina Hingis went 37-0 in 1997.
   "Last year was a learning experience for me," said Azarenka, who also beat Sharapova handily to win the Australian Open in January and the 2010 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. "Every loss I analyzed, and step by step (I) just built on everything -- just daily hard work. I had a lot of tough losses last year, and so now I'm really trying to turn it around in my own favor. I have just been trying to be consistent and professional every day. I never dreamed this would happen."
   Both Indian Wells champions received $1 million.
   Marc Lopez and Nadal won their second Indian Wells doubles title, beating Isner and San Francisco native Sam Querrey 6-2, 7-6 (3) in a matchup of unseeded teams. Lopez and Nadal, close friends from Spain, also won the 2010 championship.
   Top-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond extended their winning streak to 16 matches and four tournaments Saturday, coasting to a 6-2, 6-3 victory over defending champions Sania Mirza and Elena Vesnina. It was Raymond's seventh Indian Wells doubles title (three with Lindsay Davenport, two with Samantha Stosur and one each with Rennae Stubbs and Huber) and Huber's first.
   Huber, 35, and Raymond, 38, each have won the Bank of the West Classic doubles title twice but never together. Huber triumphed in 2008 with Cara Black and in 2010 with Davenport, and Raymond prevailed in 2002 with Stubbs and in 2003 with Black.
   Mirza won the Bank of the West doubles crown in 2007 with Shahar Peer.
   Men's Challengers -- Two top-seeded players with Northern California ties, Scott Lipsky and John Paul Fruttero, won Challenger doubles titles.
   Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico and Lipsky, a former Stanford All-American living in Huntington Beach, defeated unseeded Americans Bobby Reynolds and Michael Russell 6-4, 6-3 in the $125,000 Dallas Tennis Classic.
   John Paul Fruttero, an ex-Cal All-American living in San Jose, topped unseeded Australians Colin Ebelthite and Samuel Groth 6-2, 6-4 in the $50,000 ATP Challenger Pingguo in Pingguo, China.
   Colleges -- The No. 88 Sacramento State women (9-8) lost 6-1 to No. 28 Saint Mary's (8-5) in a nonconference match in the Sacramento suburb of Gold River. The Hornets' Maria Meliuk, a senior, edged Carla Lindlar 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 10-5 tiebreak at No. 5 singles. ...
   The rebuilding Sac State men (3-9) also lost a nonconference contest 6-1, to host Texas-Arlington (4-8). The Hornets' point came from freshman Marek Marksoo, an Estonian who beat Nicolas Moreno 6-4, 6-4 at No. 4 singles.

Upstage Federer-Nadal? You cannot be serious

   It's almost impossible to upstage a Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal match.
   But John Isner did it.
   Isner, seeded 11th, upended world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7), 3-6, 7-6 (5) Saturday in a thrilling semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
   "That's why I play this game, to be able to enjoy moments like that," Isner, who won a 2007 Futures title in the Sacramento suburb of Shingle Springs in his pro debut, told reporters. "The stadium was packed, wasn't a seat in the house, and everyone was on their feet, cheering for me, too. It was very special when that last ball went by him and I knew I had won the match."
   The 6-foot-9 Isner reached a singles final in an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament, the highest level outside of the four Grand Slams, for the first time and ensured he will crack the top 10 in the world on Monday.
   If Isner beats Federer -- who downed Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the wind -- today (ABC, 1 p.m. PDT), he will replace Mardy Fish as the top-ranked American at No. 8 and become the first U.S. player to win the singles crown at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi and Serena Williams in 2001.
   The Williams sisters have boycotted the tournament since then because of alleged racist remarks by some fans after Venus, citing knee tendinitis, withdrew four minutes before her semifinal against Serena.
   Isner fired 20 aces in his two-hour, 45-minute triumph over Djokovic, who also won at Indian Wells in 2008 and reached the final there in 2007.
   "With that serve and with that forehand, he's got the ability to be a top-10 player," said Djokovic, who lost to Isner for the first time in three matches. "He had that already a couple years back. It's just a matter of really trusting your instincts and your strokes and your quality. I think it all came together for him now, and he's deservedly in the top 10 now."
   Isner also upset Federer in the first round of the Davis Cup last month against host Switzerland on clay, Isner's worst surface.
   "I knew going into this year that I had the tools and I had the game to be able to at least compete with these guys," said Isner, a 26-year-old native of Greensboro, N.C. "I take the court no matter who I'm playing expecting to win and believing to win. There's really no reason to take the court if I believe otherwise. The win against Roger was very big for my confidence, and obviously this one will be very big for my confidence, also."
   Federer has a chance for revenge in the BNP Paribas Open, a hardcourt tournament he has won three times (2004-06). Isner won in Federer's country; now they will meet in Isner's.
   "I know how difficult it's going to be (today)," said Federer, who's 2-1 against Isner. "John is playing great tennis at the moment, and I'm sure for a long period of time. It's great and exciting for American tennis, and I'm happy it's happening in the final, this rematch for me. I look forward to that a lot."
   The Federer-Nadal match, Saturday's second semifinal, was delayed for three hours by rain. Then Nadal struggled in the wind to fall to 18-10 lifetime against Federer.
   "The crazy wind [made it ] very difficult for me to play with a clear tactic," said Nadal, the Indian Wells champion in 2007 and 2009 and runner-up last year. "I lost court, I had more mistakes, and I think he played very aggressive. He played fantastic. His serve was with high percentage, and I wasn't able to play my usual tactic against him with that conditions. He hit the balls, every one inside the court, and the weather conditions makes the topspin more difficult for me."
  The top two women in the world, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, are scheduled to meet for the title today at 11 a.m. PDT (ABC). Azarenka beat Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 to win the Australian Open in January and 6-4, 6-1 for the 2010 Bank of the West title at Stanford.
   Colleges -- Jana Juricova, the reigning NCAA women's singles champion, returned to the lineup in a full-time capacity as No. 9 Cal blitzed No. 68 Oregon 7-0 in Eugene, Ore., for its fifth consecutive victory.
   The sixth-ranked Juricova, who had been out since Feb. 12 for undisclosed reasons, swamped Julia Metzger 6-3, 6-0 at No. 1 singles for the Bears (11-4, 4-0 Pacific-12 Conference). The Ducks fell to 8-3 and 0-2. ...
   The Sacramento State men lost to Columbia 7-0 in a nonconference match in Arlington, Texas. The Hornets (3-8) played with four freshmen, as they have all season. The Lions improved to 12-2 with their eighth straight victory.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Desert duel: Nadal, Federer to meet at Indian Wells

   Oddly, it has never happened at Indian Wells.
   Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer today will meet for the 28th time but first in the Coachella Valley (ABC, 1 p.m.).
   In the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday, the second-seeded Nadal eked out a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4  victory over unseeded David Nalbandian, and the third-seeded Federer dispatched No. 9 Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-2. Both Nalbandian and del Potro are Argentines who have undergone major operations in the last three years.
   Nadal and Federer will meet for the first time since the Spaniard's four-set victory in the semifinals of the Australian Open in January. Nadal has won the singles title at Indian Wells once (2009) and Federer three times (2004-06). The Palm Springs area is famous for its warm, sunny weather, but rain and wind are forecast for today.
   "Playing against Roger always means a little bit more than against the rest of the opponents because I am playing probably against the best of the history, and because I played probably the most important matches of my career against him and probably him against me," Nadal, who's 18-9 against Federer, told reporters. "That's why it makes the match a little bit more special than the rest.”
   Federer is 37-2 with five titles since the U.S. Open. His other loss came last month in first round of the Davis Cup in Switzerland against American John Isner, who will face top-ranked Novak Djokovic in today's other semifinal (ABC, 11 a.m. PDT).
  Sunday's women's final (ABC, 11 a.m. PDT) between top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and No. 2 Maria Sharapova also will be a 2012 Australian Open rematch. Azarenka, playing in her first Grand Slam singles final, crushed Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 in Melbourne. Additionally, they met in the 2010 Bank of the West final at Stanford, with Azarenka winning 6-4, 6-1.
   Azarenka improved to 22-0 this year, the best start since Martina Hingis went 37-0 in 1997, with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over 18th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany. Sharapova, who underwent shoulder surgery in 2008, led 6-4, 0-1 when 15th-seeded Ana Ivanovic retired with a left hip injury in a matchup of former top-ranked players. 
  Nadal came within two points of losing against Nalbandian, the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up who had hip surgery in 2009, while serving at 4-6, 4-5, 15-30. He held serve, Nalbandian double-faulted on break point in the next game, and Nadal was on his way.
   A controversy erupted in the first game of the Federer-del Potro match when a line judge called a Federer first serve good. Del Potro wanted to challenge the call, but the Hawk Eye electronic line-calling system wasn't working at the time, and the chair umpire wouldn't overrule.
  “It was clear out, and the machine doesn’t work,” del Potro said. “ ... Could be a big chance to me to change the way of the match in that game. After that, I was not concentrating.”
   Federer improved to 10-2 against del Potro, including straight-set victories in the Swiss maestro's last four tournaments this year. However, one of the losses came in the 2009 U.S. Open final. The right-handed Del Potro, 23, underwent right wrist surgery in 2010.
   Unseeded Isner and Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, knocked off second-seeded Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 6-4, 6-2 to reach today's men's doubles final. Isner and Querrey will meet unseeded Marc Lopez and Nadal, the 2010 Indian Wells champions.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Isner to face Djokovic in Indian Wells semifinals

   Last month during the SAP Open in San Jose, Andy Roddick said John Isner has "the biggest weapon in the game."
   Roddick was referring, of course, to the 6-foot-9 Isner's devastating serve.
   Isner will need it, and more, when he faces top-ranked and defending champion Novak Djokovic on Saturday in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
   Isner, ranked and seeded 11th, outlasted 13th-seeded Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 Thursday night to reach his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final four.
   Djokovic, who has won the last three Grand Slam titles and four of the last five, advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over 12th-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain.
   Isner, 26, is 0-2 against Djokovic, 24. In 2010, Djokovic won 6-4 in the fifth set in the first round of the Davis Cup on clay in Serbia and 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the semifinals at Beijing on hardcourt.
   "To beat that guy, you have to be on top of your game no matter who you are," Isner told reporters. The same goes for me. I'm going to have to obviously serve well and take my chances after that.
   "So it's going be one of the toughest matches I'll ever play, because he's No. 1 in the world. I have a day to kind of sit on it. I have doubles (Friday). But hopefully I'll come out on Saturday and put together a good match and take it to him as best I can."
   Isner, who won a 2007 Futures title in the Sacramento suburb of Shingle Springs in his pro debut, is bidding to become the first American man to win the Indian Wells title since Andre Agassi in 2001.
   In a quarterfinal battle of Marias from Russia, second-seeded Maria Sharapova overcame a 6-3, 2-0 deficit to subdue No. 20 Maria Kirilenko 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
   Sharapova will meet 15th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who eliminated No. 7 Marion Bartoli of France 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinals. Both Sharapova and Ivanovic have been ranked No. 1 and won Indian Wells.   
   Bartoli, last year's runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki, summoned a doctor early in the second set. After the match, she said she began feeling sick Wednesday night and suspected she has the same virus that has afflicted many other players and fans this week.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mike Bryan sick; twins' Indian Wells drought continues

   This time, it wasn't their fault.
   Bob and Mike Bryan's doubles title drought at Indian Wells continued Wednesday when Mike became the latest victim of the virus sweeping the Coachella Valley.
   The top seeds and former NCAA doubles champions from Stanford defaulted their quarterfinal doubles match against the sixth-seeded Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. At least a dozen players have succumbed to the virus, which causes fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
   The 33-year-old Bryan twins, Los Angeles-area natives and arguably the greatest men's doubles team ever, have played at Indian Wells for the past 14 years but never won the title. They reached the final in 2003 and 2006.
   Another American pair, John Isner and Sam Querrey, defeated Richard Gasquet of France and Paul Hanley of Australia 6-7 (5), 6-1, 10-6 tiebreak in a matchup of unseeded teams. Isner, 6-foot-9, and Querrey, a 6-6 San Francisco native, have won all three of their tournament outings in match tiebreakers. They will face second-seeded Max Mirnyi of Belarus and Daniel Nestor of Canada in the semifinals.  
    Nestor, 39, has won the Indian Wells doubles title four times (1997, 2002, 2005 and 2006), all with Mark Knowles, but Mirnyi, 34, never has. Nestor was named the World TeamTennis Male Rookie of the Year in 2003 while playing for the Sacramento Capitals, and Knowles will return to the team for the 11th year in July.
   Isner, seeded 11th in singles, defeated qualifier Matthew Ebden of Australia 6-4, 7-5 to reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals for the first time. Isner will meet 13th-seeded Gilles Simon, who beat 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-1.
   Third-seeded Roger Federer extended his winning streak to 12 matches with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over unseeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil. Federer, a three-time Indian Wells champion (2004-06), will face ninth-seeded Juan Martin Del Potro or unseeded Denis Istomin.
   The other men's singles quarterfinals are No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 12 Nicolas Almagro and No. 2 Rafael Nadal vs. unseeded David Nalbandian.
   In women's singles, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus improved to 21-0 this year with a 6-0, 6-2 thrashing of fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the quarterfinals. Azarenka almost shut out Radwanska, serving at 6-0, 5-0, 30-0.
   "If she plays like that, she's not going to lose any match soon," Radwanska told reporters. "She has been on fire the last few months. She's very, very consistent, playing very good tennis from the first to the last ball. She moves well and hits the ball really well. You know, it's just really hard to play against her."
   Azarenka's start is the best since Serena Williams had the same record in 2003. If Azarenka beats 18th-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany on Friday, she will have the best start since Marina Hingis' 37-0 in 1997.
   In the other quarterfinals today, No. 2 seed and 2006 Indian Wells champion Maria Sharapova will take on No. 20 Maria Kirilenko in an all-Russian matchup, and No. 7 seed and 2011 runner-up Marion Bartoli will go against No. 15 and 2008 titlist Ana Ivanovic.
   College rankings -- Cal's Nick Andrews (Folsom) and Christoffer Konigsfeldt improved from No. 5 to No. 2 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association men's doubles rankings.
   Also, the Stanford women (10-0 overall, 4-0 Pacific-12 Conference) moved up from No. 5 to No. 3. The Cal women (9-4, 2-0), who have been without reigning NCAA singles champion Jana Juricova for undisclosed reasons since Feb. 12, moved up one spot to No. 9.  
   Other rankings:
   Women's team -- No. 28 Saint Mary's (7-5, 1-0 West Coast Conference); No. 64 Sacramento State (9-7, 4-0 Big Sky Conference).
   Women's singles -- No. 4 Nicole Gibbs, Stanford; No. 5 Mallory Burdette, Stanford; No. 6 Juricova, Cal; No. 11. Denise Dy (San Jose), Washington; No. 17 Zsofi Susanyi, Cal; No. 38 Katie Le, Santa Clara; No. 44 Stacey Tan, Stanford; No. 52 Ellen Tsay, Stanford; No. 54 Tayler Davis (San Jose), Cal; No. 66. Anett Schutting, Cal; No. 88. Jenny Jullien, Saint Mary's; No. 100 Annie Goransson, Cal; No. 121 Kristie Ahn, Stanford.
   Women's doubles -- No. 2 Burdette-Gibbs, Stanford; No. 27 Goransson-Schutting, Cal; No. 35. Tan-Tsay, Stanford; No. 38 Juricova-Susanyi, Cal.
   Men's team -- No. 9 Stanford (10-4, 0-0 Pac-12); No. 12 Cal (7-7, 0-0 Pac-12); No. 35 Santa Clara (13-1, 0-0 West Coast Conference).
   Men's singles -- No. 14 Artem Ilyushin (Granite Bay), Mississippi State; No. 23 Ryan Thacher, Stanford; No. 39 Ben McLachlan, Cal; No. 43 Carlos Cueto, Cal; No. 72 Andrews (Folsom), Cal; No. 74 Bradley Klahn, Stanford; No. 124. Thai Tu, USF.
   Men's doubles -- No. 9 Klahn-Thacher, Stanford; No. 27 Cueto-McLachlan, Cal; No. 69 John Morrissey-Thacher, Stanford.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Something's Bruin as Capitals pick another UCLA alum

   When the Sacramento Capitals open their World TeamTennis season on July 9, the roster will look like a meeting of the UCLA alumni association.
   The Capitals added yet another former Bruin when they selected Jean-Julien Rojer, the 2011 WTT Male Rookie of the Year for St. Louis, in the second round of Tuesday's WTT roster player draft.
   Ironically, Rojer and Liezel Huber won the fifth set to give St. Louis a 20-19 victory over Sacramento in last season's Western Conference finals. The Aces then lost to Washington in the WTT Finals and folded in the offseason. 
   Sacramento, picking seventh in the eight-team draft, protected ex-UCLA stars Mark Knowles in the first round and local resident Yasmin Schnack in the fourth and final round.
   The Capitals also picked 20-year-olds Asia Muhammad of Las Vegas in the third round and CoCo Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe in the San Diego area as a supplemental, part-time player.
   "Based on (picking seventh), I think we did really well," Capitals co-owner Ramey Osborne said. " ... We didn't think Rojer would be available."
   Vandeweghe, a former Capital and the 6-foot-1 niece of former NBA star Kiki Vandeweghe, will play at least four or five of Sacramento's 14 regular-season matches, Osborne said.
   Mardy Fish, chosen by the Capitals in last month's marquee player draft, is scheduled to play home matches on July 12 and 13. Fish, a 30-year-old Los Angeles resident, leads all American men and women at No. 8 in the world but has started slowly this year. 
   Vania King and Dusan Vemic, who have played key roles for the Capitals in the past two seasons, were  bypassed in the draft.
   King, the 2009 WTT Female MVP for Springfield (Mo.), still could play some matches for Sacramento if she does not make the U.S. Olympic team, which will be based on the June 11 rankings. Osborne said last week, though, that he was not interested in bringing back the entertaining but erratic Vemic, a 35-year-old Serbian.
   Knowles, 40, and Rojer, 30, have more in common than UCLA. Both are doubles specialists from Caribbean nations. Knowles is from the Bahamas, near Miami, and Rojer from Netherlands Antilles, off the coast of Venezuela.
   Knowles will return for his 11th WTT season, all with Sacramento. Ranked No. 1 in the world in doubles in 2002 and 2004, he has won four Grand Slam titles (three in men's doubles and one in mixed doubles), 55 overall and three WTT Male MVP awards (2001, 2005 and 2007). Knowles has dropped to No. 61 but last month won the doubles crown in San Jose with Xavier Malisse.
   Rojer is ranked 38th, down from a career-high 17th last August. He has won five ATP doubles titles, all with former Capital Eric Butorac since October 2010, and reached the semifinals of last year's Australian Open with Butorac.
   The addition of Rojer addresses Sacramento's biggest weakness last year. The Capitals finished fourth or better in every category except men's doubles, in which they placed eighth. That was baffling, given Knowles' background and Vemic's appearances in two Grand Slam doubles semifinals.
   "We're very happy about men's doubles," Osborne said. "We're not done. We have a couple ideas we're working on. ... We're working on a possible trade for a singles player."
   If necessary, Rojer could play singles. He earned All-American honors in singles and doubles at UCLA and played singles regularly on the pro tour until 2008.
   Schnack, 23, played well as a WTT rookie last year. She helped Sacramento finish second in women's doubles and went 16-15 (.516) in singles games filling in for King, who missed the first week of the season to rest after Wimbledon.
   Muhammad, who will make her WTT debut, is ranked 186th in doubles and 387th in singles. She has won four minor-league doubles titles, including three last year. In 2009, Muhammad won the USTA girls 18 national doubles crown in Berkeley with Christina McHale, now the second-ranked American in singles at No. 35 in the world.
   Vandeweghe, the 2008 U.S. Open junior girls champion, played for the Capitals as a WTT rookie in 2009 and for Boston the past two seasons. As a qualifier in her hometown of San Diego in 2010, she beat Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva en route to the quarterfinals. Vandeweghe is ranked No. 159 in singles after reaching a career-high No. 89 last April.
   The Capitals have won a record six WTT titles but none since 2007.
   Maria Sanchez, a Modesto resident who led the league in women's doubles last year for St. Louis, went to Springfield in the second round. She plays doubles with Schnack on the regular circuit.
   Defending champion Washington, which last season became the first team in the WTT's 36-year history to go 16-0, returns largely intact. Former Capital Anastasia Rodionova joins her sister Arina and replaces Rennae Stubbs, the 2008 WTT Female MVP who turns 41 on March 26.
   See the full WTT draft and team rosters below.
   BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells -- In a matchup of former No. 1 players and Indian Wells champions, 15th-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia defeated fourth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. Wozniacki won the tournament last year and Ivanovic in 2008.
   Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus improved to 20-0 this year with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over No. 14 seed Julia Goerges of Germany.
   The last two American women lost in the fourth round. Eighteenth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany rallied from match points down against a U.S. teenager for the second straight round to beat No. 32 Christina McHale 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (4). Also, wild card Jamie Hampton retired because of cramps with No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska leading 6-3, 4-6, 3-0.
   Kerber, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, survived three match points against the 19-year-old McHale, who had upset No. 3 seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the third round. Kerber had rallied from 6-2, 5-1 and two match points down to stun 18-year-old Sloane Stephens 26, 75, 64 in the previous round.
   France's Marion Bartoli, the No. 7 seed and last year's runner-up, dismissed 23rd-seeded Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-1. Bartoli won the 2009 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford and also reached the final there in 2011 and 2008.
   On the men's side, third-seeded Roger Federer extended his winning streak to 11 matches, but fifth-seeded David Ferrer's ended at 11.
   Federer, a three-time champion at Indian Wells (2004-06), outlasted 27th-seeded Milos Raonic, the two-time reigning SAP Open champion in San Jose, 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4 in the third round. It was their first career meeting. Unseeded Denis Istomin, the runner-up in last month's SAP Open, ousted Ferrer 6-4, 6-3 for his first career victory over a top-10 player in 11 attempts.
   In the second round of men's doubles, unseeded John Isner and Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, edged fourth-seeded Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau, the runners-up at Wimbledon for the past two years, 6-3, 5-7, 10-5 tiebreak.
2012 WTT Roster Player Draft

Roster Exempt Draft Selections (Roster Exempt players play a limited season)
Sacramento Capitals:  Coco Vandeweghe

2012 WTT Roster Draft - March 13, 2012
Round One 
1.  PHILADELPHIA:  Karolina Pliskova
2.  SPRINGFIELD:  Timea Babos
3.  ORANGE COUNTY:  Anna-lena Groenefeld
4.  NEW YORK:  Robert Kendrick (protection)
5.  KANSAS CITY:  Chanel Simmonds
6.  BOSTON:  Jan-Michael Gambill (protection)
7.  SACRAMENTO:  Mark Knowles (protection)
8.  WASHINGTON:  Arina Rodionova (protection)

Round Two 
1.  PHILADELPHIA:  Kristyna Pliskova
2.  SPRINGFIELD:  Maria Sanchez
3.  ORANGE COUNTY:  John-Patrick Smith
4.  NEW YORK:  Jesse Witten (protection)
5.  KANSAS CITY:  Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
6.  BOSTON:  Eric Butorac (protection)
7.  SACRAMENTO:  Jean-Julien Rojer
8.  WASHINGTON:  Leander Paes (protection)

Round Three
   
1.  PHILADELPHIA:  Luka Gregorc
2.  SPRINGFIELD:  Amir Weintraub
3.  ORANGE COUNTY:  Travis Parrott
4.  NEW YORK:  Ashley Harkleroad (protection)
5.  KANSAS CITY:  Nick Monroe
6.  BOSTON:  Irina Falconi (protection)
7.  SACRAMENTO:  Asia Muhammed
8.  WASHINGTON:  Bobby Reynolds (protection)

Round Four 
1.  PHILADELPHIA:  Jordan Kerr
2.  SPRINGFIELD:  Devin Britton
3.  ORANGE COUNTY:  PASS
4.  NEW YORK:  PASS
5.  KANSAS CITY:  Tetiana Luzhanska
6.  BOSTON:  Carly Gullickson
7.  SACRAMENTO:  Yasmin Schnack (protection)
8.  WASHINGTON:  Anastasia Rodionova (doubles protection)  


2012 WTT TEAM ROSTERS (including Marquee & Roster players):

Boston Lobsters:  John Isner, Jan-Michael Gambill, Eric Butorac, Irina Falconi and Carly Gullickson.  Coach: Bud Schultz

Kansas City Explorers:  Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Chanel Simmonds, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, Nick Monroe, Tetiana Luzhanska.  Coach: Brent Haygarth

New York Sportimes:  John McEnroe, Martina Hingis, Robert Kendrick, Jesse Witten, Ashley Harkleroad.   Coach: Chuck Adams

Orange County Breakers:  Lindsay Davenport, Anna-lena Groenefeld, John-Patrick Smith, Travis Parrott.  Coach:  Trevor Kronemann

Philadelphia Freedoms:   James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Karolina Pliskova, Kristyna Pliskova, Luka Gregorc, Jordan Kerr.  Coach:  Josh Cohen

Sacramento CapitalsMardy Fish, Coco Vandeweghe, Mark Knowles, Jean-Julien Rojer, Asia Muhammed, Yasmin Schnack.  Coach: Wayne Bryan

Springfield LasersTimea Babos, Maria Sanchez, Amir Weintraub, Devin Britton.    Coach:  John-Laffnie de Jager

Washington KastlesSerena Williams, Venus Williams, Arina Rodionova, Anastasia Rodionova, Leander Paes and Bobby Reynolds. Coach: Murphy Jensen