Sunday, May 28, 2017

Stanford's Fawcett falls in NCAA semifinals

   No. 9-16 seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of three-time reigning champion Virginia defeated No. 8 Tom Fawcett of Stanford 6-3, 6-2 today in the men's singles semifinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Fawcett, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) junior from Winnetka, Ill., won his first four matches in straight sets.
   Kwiatkowski, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., is scheduled to play No. 9-16 William Blumberg of North Carolina on Monday at 8 a.m. Blumberg, a freshman from Greenwich, Conn., surprised No. 2 Nuno Borges of Mississippi State 6-2, 7-6 (1).
   Meanwhile, Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse of Cal ended their collegiate careers with a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State in a matchup of unseeded teams in the women's doubles semifinals.
   Manasse, a senior from Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area, served underhand, and Di Lorenzo and Kowase stood far inside the baseline to return Manasse's first and second serve. The reason for Manasse's unconventional serve was not immediately available.
   Di Lorenzo and Kowase will face No. 5-8 seeds Maddie Pothoff and Erin Routliffe of Alabama on Monday. Pothoff and Routliffe dominated unseeded Ryann Foster and Joana Valle Costa of LSU 6-1, 6-1.
   Jansen, a graduate student, won the NCAA doubles crown with Routliffe for Alabama in 2014 and 2015. Manasse advanced to last year's final with Denise Starr.
   In other finals on Monday:
   --No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of NCAA champion Florida will  meet unseeded Brienne Minor of Michigan.
   --No. 1 seeds Robert Loeb and Jan Zielinski of host Georgia will play unseeded Andrew Harris and Spencer Papa of Oklahoma. Harris, a senior, won the 2012 Wimbledon and French Open boys doubles titles with fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios, now ranked No. 19 in the world in singles.
   Video streaming and live scoring of the NCAA Championships are available here.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stanford's Fawcett reaches NCAA semifinals

Stanford's Tom Fawcett, playing in the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.) Chal-
lenger last October, defeated Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma today in the
quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships. Photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford outclassed unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma 6-2, 6-2 today in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Even though Fawcett, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) junior from Winnetka, Ill., has not lost a set in four matches, he said on georgiadogs.com: "I'm really tired right now; it's pretty hot. I think I played well (against Ghilea). I really tried to make the points short and not get too tired out there today, which I think I did pretty well. I won a lot of the deuce points today, which was big."
   Fawcett is scheduled to play No. 9-16 seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of three-time reigning NCAA champion Virginia on Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT. Kwiatkowski, a senior from Charlotte, N.C., outlasted No. 5 Christopher Eubanks of Georgia Tech 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
   No. 2 seed Nuno Borges of Mississippi State will meet No. 9-16 William Blumberg of North Carolina in the other semifinal.
   Meanwhile, Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse of Cal beat defending champions Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan of NCAA titlist Florida 7-6 (3), 6-2 in a matchup of unseeded teams in the women's doubles quarterfinals.
   Jansen and Manasse are set to meet unseeded Francesca Di Lorenzo and Miho Kowase of Ohio State on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Di Lorenzo and Kowase ousted No. 3 seeds Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi of Kentucky 6-3, 7-5.
   Jansen, a graduate student, won the NCAA doubles crown with Alabama teammate Erin Routliffe in 2014 and 2015. Manasse advanced to last year's final with Denise Starr.
   In the women's singles semis, No. 6 Belinda Woolcock of Florida will face unseeded Estela Perez-Somarriba of Miami, and No. 9-16 Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt will play unseeded Brienne Minor of Michigan.
   Video streaming and live scoring of the NCAA Championships are available here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Stanford's Fawcett tops Cal's Lakat in NCAAs

   No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford defeated No. 9-16 Florian Lakat of Cal 7-5, 7-5 today to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Fawcett, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) junior from Winnetka, Ill., is scheduled to meet unseeded Alex Ghilea of Oklahoma on Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT. Ghilea, a 5-foot-11 (1.80-meter) senior from Romania, ousted No. 3 seed Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest 7-6 (5), 7-5.
   The top seed, Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State, also lost. No. 9-16 seed Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of three-time reigning NCAA champion Virginia defeated Torpegaard, last year's runner-up to UCLA junior Mackenzie McDonald, 6-1, 7-6 (3).
   McDonald, who grew up in Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, turned pro last June after becoming the first man since Mathias Boeker of Georgia in 2001 to sweep the NCAA singles and doubles  titles.
   Lakat, a senior from France, also lost in his bid to reach the doubles quarterfinals for the second consecutive year with Filip Bergevi. Seeded 5-8, they fell to unseeded Jerry Lopez and Reese Stalder of Texas Christian 6-3, 6-4.
   In the third round of women's singles in Athens, unseeded Sara Daavettila of North Carolina eliminated No. 9-16 seed Karla Popovic of Cal 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
   Cal's Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse advanced to the doubles quarterfinals, beating Martina Frantova and Anna Rogers of North Carolina State 6-4, 7-6 (6).
   Jansen, a graduate student, won the NCAA doubles crown with Alabama teammate Erin Routliffe in 2014 and 2015. Manasse advanced to last year's final with Denise Starr.
   Jansen and Manasse are set to face the defending champions, unseeded Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan of NCAA champion Florida, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
   No. 3 seeds Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi of Kentucky edged Hadley Berg and Paige Cline, South Carolina teammates from the Bay Area, 2-6, 7-6 (6) [10-5].
  Video streaming and live scoring of the NCAA Championships are available here.

Stanford's Fawcett, Cal's Lakat to meet in NCAAs

Cal's Florian Lakat, serving in the 2015 Tiburon
(Calif.) Challenger, defeated Jordi Arconada
of Texas A&M on Thursday in the second round
of the NCAA Singles Championships.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   One man from a San Francisco Bay Area school will reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles Championships.
   No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford is scheduled to meet No. 9-16 Florian Lakat of Cal today at 7 a.m. PDT in Athens, Ga. They have split two matches this season.
   Fawcett, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) junior from Winnetka, Ill., thrashed Eduardo Mena of Tennessee Tech 6-0, 6-1 in the second round on Thursday. Lakat, a senior from France, topped Jordi Arconada of Texas A&M 6-4,
6-3.
   Lakat's teammate, Andre Goransson, lost to No. 9-16 seed William Blumberg of NCAA runner-up North Carolina 7-5, 6-2. Goransson, a senior from Sweden, will begin his professional career after graduation.
   Lakat also won in the first round of doubles with Filip Bergevi. Seeded 5-8, they beat Spencer Furman and Nick Stachowiak of Duke 6-2, 6-4.
   On the women's side, No. 9-16 Karla Popovic of Cal dismissed Ingrid Gamarra Martins of South Carolina 6-0, 6-3 to reach the round of 16. Popovic, a junior from Croatia, is set to play Sara Daavettila of North Carolina today at 8:30 a.m.
   Popovic and Daavettila have met once this season. Daavettila led 5-7, 6-3, 5-2 when the Tar Heels clinched a quarterfinal victory over Cal in the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship in February in New Haven, Conn.
   Two other women from the Bay Area lost to players from NCAA champion Florida. Stanford's Melissa Lord fell to No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock 6-3, 6-4, and Felicity Maltby of Texas Tech and Sunnyvale was drubbed by Anna Danilina 6-1, 6-1.
   Danilina stunned No. 2 seed and 2016 runner-up Haley Carter of North Carolina in the opening round. No. 1 Francesca Di Lorenzo of Ohio State also lost in the first round.
   In the first round of doubles, Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse of Cal dismissed Amina Ismail and Beatriz Machado Santos of Missouri 6-2, 6-2. Jansen, a graduate student, won the NCAA doubles crown with Alabama teammate Erin Routliffe in 2014 and 2015. Manasse advanced to last year's final with Denise Starr.
   Hadley Berg and Paige Cline, South Carolina teammates from the Bay Area, defeated Jada Hart and Ena Shibahara of UCLA 6-3, 5-2, retired. Hart and Shibahara won the U.S. Open girls doubles title last September.
   Stanford's Emily Arbuthnott and Taylor Davidson fell to No. 5-8 seeds Maddie Pothoff and Routliffe of Alabama 6-1, 6-3.
   Video streaming and live scoring of the tournament are available here.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Stanford, Cal players advance in NCAA singles

Stanford's Tom Fawcett, serving in the $100,000 Fairfield (Calif.)
Challenger last October, beat Wayne Montgomery of host Georgia
today in the first round of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships
in Athens, Ga. Photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 8 seed Tom Fawcett of Stanford defeated Wayne Montgomery of host Georgia 6-1, 7-5 today in the first round of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Fawcett, a 6-foot-5 (1.96-meter) junior from Winnetka, Ill., is scheduled to play Eduardo Mena of Tennessee Tech on Thursday at 8 a.m. PDT. Mena, a 6-foot (1.82-meter) junior from Spain, beat Maxime Tchoutakian of Baylor 6-4, 7-6 (6).
   Also advancing were Cal's Florian Lakat, seeded 9-16, and Andre Goransson. Lakat, a senior from France, defeated Ronnie Schneider of NCAA runner-up North Carolina 6-4, 6-3. Goransson, a senior from Sweden, dismissed Harrison O'Keefe of South Carolina 6-2, 6-2.
   One day after helping Virginia win its third consecutive NCAA title, junior Collin Altamirano of Sacramento lost to David Biosca of East Tennessee State 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Biosca, a senior from Spain, reached the doubles semifinals last year.
   Daniel Valent of Vanderbilt eliminated Columbia's Victor Pham, from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
   On the women's side, No. 9-16 seed Karla Popovic of Cal dispatched Katarina Adamovic of Oklahoma State 6-4, 6-0.
   Popovic's teammate Maegan Manasse lost to Arianne Hartono of Mississippi 6-2, 6-3. Manasse, a senior from Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles area, reached the singles round of 16 in 2015 and 2016 and the doubles final with Denise Starr last year.
   Melissa Lord of NCAA runner-up Stanford defeated Johnnise Renaud of Georgia Tech 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. Lord, a sophomore from Bloomfield, Conn., will face No. 6 seed Belinda Woolcock of NCAA champion Florida.
   Lord's teammate, Caroline Doyle of San Francisco, fell to Shannon Hudson of Arkansas 6-3, 6-1. Doyle, a senior, advanced to the doubles semifinals two years ago.
   In an all-Northern California matchup, Felicity Maltby of Texas Tech and Sunnyvale in the Bay Area, eliminated Kassidy Jump of Arizona State and Granite Bay in the Sacramento region 6-4, 6-2.
   Maltby, a sophomore, is set to meet Florida's Anna Danilina on Thursday at 10 a.m. Danilina stunned North Carolina's Hayley Carter, the No. 2 seed and last year's runner-up, 6-2, 6-3.  
   The second round of men's and women's singles and the first round of men's and women's doubles are scheduled to begin Thursday at 6 a.m. Video streaming and live scoring are available here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Altamirano, UVA three-peat; Stanford women fall in final

Collin Altamirano of Sacramento chats before playing
in an exhibition in nearby Antelope last October.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Collin Altamirano made it 3 for 3 today.
   The junior from Sacramento helped the Virginia men win their third consecutive NCAA title, and fourth in five years, today with a 4-2 victory over Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina in Athens, Ga. The match, the last for Brian Boland after 16 years as the Cavaliers' coach, was moved indoors because of rain.
   Altamirano, the USTA Boys 18 champion four years ago, and J.C. Aragone triumphed 6-1 on Court 3 as second-seeded Virginia (34-1) took the doubles point.
   Altamirano, ranked 40th in singles, then dominated Simon Soendergaard 6-3, 6-1 on Court 4 to give the Cavaliers a 3-1 lead. After Robert Kelly won on Court 3 for ninth-seeded North Carolina (29-5), the 109th-ranked Aragone beat Jack Murray 7-6 (2), 6-2 on Court 5 to clinch the victory.
   Virginia became the first team from outside the Pacific-12 Conference to win three straight NCAA titles or more. Stanford (1988-90, 1995-98), USC (1962-64, 1966-69 and 2009-12) and UCLA (1952-54) have accomplished the feat.
   In 2013, Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in the tournament's 71-year history. In the final, he defeated Jared Donaldson, now a professional ranked 71st in the world. Altamirano is 10 months older than Donaldson.
   Boland announced in March that he would leave after this season to become the USTA head of men's player development.
   No. 1 seed Florida won the women's title, defeating No. 7 seed and defending champion Stanford 4-1 outdoors at night. Ingrid Neel, ranked 31st, beat hobbling Taylor Davidson, ranked 54th, 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 on Court 3 to clinch the victory for the Gators (29-3). The Cardinal ended its season at 26-3.
   Stanford has won a record 18 NCAA team titles. Florida is next with seven.
   The NCAA Men's and Women's Singles Championships are scheduled to begin Wednesday at 6 a.m. PDT in Athens. Doubles play is set to start Thursday at the same time. Video streaming and live scoring of the individual tournaments will be available here.
   Following are Northern California singles and doubles players in the NCAA Championships (seedings in parentheses):
   Men's singles -- Tom Fawcett (8), Stanford; Florian Lakat (9-16), Cal; Andre Goransson, Cal; Saratoga's Victor Pham, Columbia.
   Men's doubles -- Filip Bergevi and Florian Lakat (5-8), Cal.
   Women's singles -- Karla Popovic (9-16), Cal; Maegan Manasse, Cal; Taylor Davidson, Stanford; Melissa Lord, Stanford; San Francisco's Caroline Doyle, Stanford; Granite Bay's Kassidy Jump, Arizona State; Sunnyvale's Felicity Maltby, Texas Tech.
   Women's doubles -- Maya Jansen and Maegan Manasse, Cal; Emily Arbuthnott and Taylor Davidson, Stanford; Greenbrae's Hadley Berg and Kentfield's Paige Cline, South Carolina.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Stanford women win thriller to reach NCAA final

Taylor Davidson, shown in 2014, won the deciding
match 7-6 in the third set today. Tri Nguyen/
TriNguyenPhotography.com
   Today's women's semifinal between No. 7 seed and defending champion Stanford and No. 3 Ohio State in the NCAA Championships came down to a tiebreaker.
   Predictably, Cardinal senior Taylor Davidson won it.
   Davidson, ranked 54th, edged Gabriella De Santis, ranked 95th, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (5) on Court 3 to lift Stanford a 4-3 rain-delayed victory over Ohio State in Athens, Ga. The Cardinal overcame a 2-0 deficit to end the Buckeyes' 18-match winning streak.
   In last year's final, Davidson beat Vladica Babic of Oklahoma State 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 on Court 2 to give Stanford a 4-3 victory. It was Davidson's third victory in the deciding match in the tournament.
   The Cardinal (26-2) will face rival Florida (28-3), the No. 1 seed, on Tuesday at 2 p.m. PDT (ESPNU). The Gators defeated No. 4 Vanderbilt 4-2.
   The second-seeded Virginia men, meanwhile, will play for their third consecutive NCAA title and fourth in five years. The Cavaliers advanced with a 4-2 victory over No. 3 Ohio State in Athens.
   Virginia's Collin Altamirano, a junior from Sacramento ranked 40th, dominated Martin Joyce 6-0, 6-3 on Court 4 but lost 6-4 in doubles with J.C. Aragone to Hunter Tubert and JJ Wolf on Court 3.
   The Cavaliers (33-1) will meet Atlantic Coast Conference rival North Carolina (29-4) on Tuesday at 10 a.m. (ESPNU). The Cavaliers are 3-0 against the Tar Heels this season.
   Virginia can become the fourth school, and first outside the Pacific-12 Conference, to win three or more straight men's team titles. Others that have accomplished the feat are UCLA (1952-54), USC (1962-64, 1966-69 and 2009-12) and Stanford (1988-90, 1995-98).

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Stanford women upset UNC, gain NCAA semis

   Emily Arbuthnott came through again for the Stanford women.
   The freshman from England won the clinching match for the 10th time this season, a team high, as the No. 7 seed and defending champion Cardinal topped No. 2 North Carolina 4-2 today in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Arbuthnott oustlasted freshman Makenna Jones, ranked 100th, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 on Court 5 to improve to 6-0 in three-setters this season. Jones' father, Kelly Jones, climbed to No. 1 in the world in doubles in 1992 and now coaches the men's team at Furman in Greenville, S.C. Her mother, Tami Whitlinger-Jones, reached No. 73 in the world in singles in 1997 and was a two-time All-American at Stanford.
   Here are the full results of the Stanford-North Carolina match.
   Stanford (25-2) will face No. 3 seed Ohio State (32-2) on Monday at 11 a.m. PDT. The Buckeyes, with top-ranked Francesca Di Lorenzo, overwhelmed No. 6 Texas Tech 4-0.
   The Red Raiders' Felicity Maltby, a sophomore from Sunnyvale in the San Francisco Bay Area ranked 58th, lost on Court 2 in singles and doubles.
   In the other semifinal, No. 1 seed Florida (27-3) will meet No. 4 Vanderbilt (24-5).
   The men's semifinals are scheduled for Monday at 7 a.m. No. 2 and two-time defending champion Virginia (32-1), with junior Collin Altamirano of Sacramento, will play No. 3 Ohio State (33-3). No. 9 North Carolina (28-4) will take on No. 13 and host Georgia (22-7).
   Video streaming and live scoring of the tournament are available here

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Altamirano helps Virginia men reach NCAA semis

   The No. 2-seeded Virginia men, seeking their third consecutive title in Brian Boland's final season as the coach, beat No. 10 Texas 4-1 today in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Collin Altamirano, a junior from Sacramento, won both of his matches for the Cavaliers (32-1). He and J.C. Aragone defeated Yuya Ito and Harrison Scott 6-2 on Court 3 to help Virginia win the doubles point. Altamirano, ranked 40th in singles, then demolished George Goldhoff 6-1, 6-0 on Court 4.
   Four years ago, Altamirano became the first unseeded player to win the USTA Boys 18 National Championships in the tournament's 71-year history. In the final, he defeated Jared Donaldson, now a professional ranked 71st in the world.
   Boland announced in March that he will leave after this season, his 16th as Virginia's head coach, to become the USTA head of men's player development.
   Virginia will play No. 3 seed Ohio State (33-3) on Monday at 9 a.m. PDT. The Buckeyes edged No. 6 Texas Christian 4-3.
   In Monday's other semifinal, No. 9 North Carolina (28-4) will play No. 13 and host Georgia (22-7). The Tar Heels upset No. 1 Wake Forest 4-2, and the Bulldogs surprised No. 5 UCLA 4-2.
   The Bruins' Logan Staggs, a junior from Tracy, led 59th-ranked Emil Reinberg 7-6 (3), 5-6 on Court 3 when the match was abandoned. Staggs did not play doubles.
   The women's quarterfinals are scheduled for Sunday. Stanford (24-2), the No. 7 seed and defending champion, will take on No. 2 North Carolina (33-2) at 7 a.m.
   Video streaming and live scoring of the tournament are available here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Stanford women reach NCAA quarters; Cal loses

   The Stanford women, seeded No. 7 and the defending champions, beat No. 10 Michigan 4-1 today to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Emily Arbuthnott, a freshman from England, clinched the victory with a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 victory over Mira Ruder-Hook on Court 5.
   The Cardinal (24-2) will face No. 2 North Carolina (33-2) on Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT. The Tar Heels blitzed No. 15 Duke 4-0.
   Stanford, which has won a record 19 national team championships (18 NCAA, 1 AIAW), is trying to become the first team to repeat since the Cardinal won three consecutive titles from 2004 through 2006.
   No. 13 seed Cal lost to No. 4 Vanderbilt, the 2015 champion, 4-1. Maya Jansen won on Court 5 for the Bears (19-6), beating Georgina Sellyn 6-4, 6-3.
   The men's quarterfinals are set for Saturday. No. 2 seed and two-time defending champion Virginia (31-1), with junior Collin Altamirano of Sacramento, will face No. 10 Texas (22-8) at 9 a.m. No. 4 UCLA (22-5), with junior Logan Staggs of Tracy, will meet No. 13 and host Georgia (21-7) at 1 p.m.           
   Video streaming and live scoring of the tournament are available here.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cal, Stanford men lose in NCAA round of 16

   The Cal and Stanford men lost today in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   The No. 8-seeded Bears fell to No. 9 North Carolina 4-1, and the No. 16 Cardinal lost to No. 1 Wake Forest. Cal's Bjorn Hoffman, a freshman from Newport Beach, defeated Bo Boyden 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 on Court 6.
   The Bears ended their season at 20-8, and Stanford finished at 18-9.
   Cal's Florian Lakat and Andre Goransson and Stanford's Tom Fawcett will play in the NCAA Singles Championships, which begin Wednesday in Athens. Lakat and Filip Bergevi will compete in the NCAA Doubles Championships, which start the following day in Athens.
   No. 2 Virginia, seeking its third consecutive NCAA title, routed No. 15 Florida 4-0. The Cavaliers' Collin Altamirano, a junior from Sacramento, was tied with Maxx Lipman 6-3, 3-6, 1-1 on Court 4 when the match was abandoned. Altamirano and J.C. Aragone won 6-2 at No. 3 doubles.
   Virginia (31-1), which has not lost a match in the first three rounds, will play No. 10 Texas in Saturday's quarterfinals.
   No. 5 UCLA, with Logan Staggs of Tracy, beat No. 12 Texas A&M 4-1. Staggs, a junior, led AJ Catanzariti 2-6, 6-4, 3-2 on Court 3 when the match was abandoned. Staggs did not play doubles.
   The Bruins (22-5) will play No. 13 and host Georgia, which surprised No. 4 USC 4-3, on Saturday.
   The women's round of 16 is scheduled for Friday in Athens. Stanford (23-2), the No. 7 seed and defending champion, will face No. 10 Michigan (23-5) at 6 a.m. PDT. Also, No. 13 Cal (19-5) will meet No. 4 Vanderbilt (22-5) at 1 p.m. Video streaming and live scoring are available.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

CiCi falls to Kiki in Italian Open

CiCi Bellis, playing in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger
last July, lost to 15th-seeded Kiki Bertens 6-4, 6-0 today
in the second round of the Italian Open. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old qualifier who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to 15th-seeded Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-0 today on clay in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome.
   The 6-foot (1.82-meter) Bertens, a French Open semifinalist last year, won 27 of 30 points (90 percent) on her first serve but only six of 22 on her second delivery (27 percent).
   Bertens, ranked 20th, will face Russia's Ekaterina Makarova, who upset fourth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, for a quarterfinal berth.
   Bellis, who turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier, will become the youngest player in the top 50 when the new rankings are released on Monday. The Atherton product, now based in Orlando, Fla., will rise from No. 53 to about No. 45.    
   Three teenage women, all 19, are ranked in the top 50. They are No. 28 Ana Konjuh of Croatia, No. 49 Naomi Osaka of Japan and No. 50 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
   Against Bertens, the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter), 120-pound (54.4-kilogram) Bellis was trying to defeat a Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better for the sixth time and a top-20 player for the third time. She stunned No. 13 Cibulkova in the 2014 U.S. Open at 15 years old and No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the third round at Dubai in February.
   By beating Cibulkova, Bellis became the youngest player to win a match at the U.S. Open since 15-year-old Anna Kournikova in 1996.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bellis wins in Italian Open, will crack world top 50

CiCi Bellis slugs a backhand in her victory over fellow
American Shelby Rogers in the second round of the
U.S. Open last August. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old qualifier who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, defeated Misaki Doi of Japan 6-4, 7-6 (6) today on clay in the first round of the Italian Open in Rome.
   Doi, a 5-foot-3 (1.59-meter) left-hander, is ranked No. 62. She held a match point against Angelique Kerber in the first round of last year's Australian Open. Kerber won the match and went on to capture the first of her two Grand Slam singles titles.
   The victory assures that Bellis, who turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier, will crack the top 50 in the world for the first time on Monday.
   The Atherton product, now based in Orlando, Fla., will rise from No. 53 to about No. 45 -- or higher if she upsets Kiki Bertens, seeded 15th and ranked 20th, on Wednesday.
   Three teenage women, all 19, are ranked in the top 50. They are No. 28 Ana Konjuh of Croatia, No. 49 Naomi Osaka of Japan and No. 50 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
   The 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter), 120-pound (54.4-kilogram) Bellis is headed higher, according to Chris Evert.
   "There are a handful of players who are going to overpower her right now, but by the end of the year I wouldn't be surprised if she was top 20," Evert, who has been mentoring Bellis through a USTA program, declared in a March 7 profile of the phenom in the New York Times.
   When Bellis plays Bertens, a 6-foot (1.82-meter) Dutchwoman, for the first time, she will try to defeat a Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better for the sixth time. Bertens reached the semifinals of last year's French Open.
   Bellis also will try to beat a top-20 player for the third time. She stunned No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the 2014 U.S. Open at 15 years old and No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round at Dubai in February.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Despite loss, teenager Bellis nears top 50 in world

CiCi Bellis (above in 2016) and Sorana Cirstea (below
in 2013) meet the press during the Bank of the West
Classic at Stanford. Photos by Paul Bauman
   Despite losing today in the second round of the Madrid Open, CiCi Bellis is closing in on a top-50 world ranking.
   For the second consecutive week, the 18-year-old San Francisco Bay Area product lost 6-3, 6-2 after beating a top-30 player on clay.
   Bellis fell to resurgent Sorana Cirstea, a 27-year-old Romanian, in Madrid after  upsetting No. 26 Daria Gavrilova, a Moscow-born Australian, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2.
   Last week, Bellis lost to Varvara Lepchenko, a 30-year-old American from Uzbekistan, in the quarterfinals in Rabat, Morocco, after surprising No. 2 seed and defending champion Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.
   Unlike last week, Bellis had a day to rest before her loss. She was trying to beat a Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better for the sixth time. Cirstea reached the French Open quarters in 2009.
   Bellis, now based in Orlando, Fla., will rise about three spots to No. 52 on Monday. Three teenagers, all 19, are ranked in the top 50: No. 29 Ana Konjuh of Croatia, No. 46 Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and No. 49 Naomi Osaka Of Japan.
   Bellis defeated Ostapenko in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last July en route to the quarterfinals. Bellis grew up in neighboring  Atherton.
   Bellis, who turned pro last September after reaching the third round of the U.S. Open as a qualifier, is by far the youngest woman in the top 100. Next is Konjuh, who's 15 months older than Bellis.
   Cirstea, ranked No. 83, will play No. 53 Misaki Doi of Japan for a berth in the Madrid quarterfinals. Doi, a 5-foot-3 (1.59-meter) left-hander, routed qualifier Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-1, 6-2 after ousting No. 9 seed Madison Keys in the first round.
   Keys, a 22-year-old American right-hander with a two-handed backhand, underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left wrist last November.
   Doi held a match point against Angelique Kerber in the first round of last year's Australian Open. Kerber went on to win the first of her two Grand Slam singles titles.
   Cirstea advanced to the Bank of the West semifinals in 2012 and climbed to a career-high No. 21 in 2013. However, she dropped out of the top 200 in 2015 because of shoulder problems.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Xiao bounces back from injury for RDO boys 18 title

Andre Xiao, left, defeated Stevie Gould 7-5, 6-4 to win the boys 18
title in the Rio del Oro Junior Championships. Photo by Paul Bauman
   SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- For Vivian Ovrootsky and Andre Xiao, the Rio del Oro 18s, 16s & 14s Junior Championships was a tournament of firsts.
   Playing her first tournament in the 18s, the 12-year-old Ovrootsky swept the singles and doubles titles at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club. The San Jose resident, ranked second nationally in the 12s, beat 17-year-old Shirley Hall of Chico in Saturday's singles final.
   Xiao, playing his first tournament after a nine-month injury layoff, defeated Stevie Gould 7-5, 6-4 on Sunday for the boys 18 championship.
   "I'm really happy to be back and just playing in general," said the fourth-seeded Xiao, 17, of Saratoga. "It was a great tournament for me."
   It was a great tournament for Priya Nelson, too. The 11-year-old Sacramentan, who won the Easter Bowl girls 12 title in March, beat top-seeded Gabriela Tevez of San Jose 7-6 (1), 6-2 for the 16s crown.
   The Nelson family almost swept the 16s singles titles. Fifteen-year-old Ravi Nelson, seeded fifth, lost to top-seeded Milad Shafaie of San Carlos 6-2, 6-4 in the boys final.
   Priya Nelson is scheduled to leave Wednesday for a national training camp at the USTA's new 64-acre, 100-court headquarters in Orlando, Fla. It will be the first of undoubtedly many trips to Florida for Nelson.
Xaio, who was named after Andre Agassi, played in his
first tournament after a nine-month injury layoff.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Xiao developed tendinitis in his right (playing) wrist last summer, took six months and began training in February.
   "I played a lot during the summer," Xiao explained. "I played four big national tournaments in two months. At the end, (the wrist) was really sore. I just needed a few months. In February, it was still bothering me a little bit, but it's been getting better since then."
   Xiao, a senior at Saratoga High School, will play for Middlebury College in Vermont in the fall. The Panthers, ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III, are coached by former longtime UC Santa Cruz coach Bob Hansen.
   Sunday's final had an old-school feel, as both players have been heavily influenced by their fathers.
   Peter Xiao, an information technology consultant, named his son after Andre Agassi.
   "My dad was really into tennis," said Xiao, who was turning 7 when Agassi retired after the 2006 U.S. Open. "He actually taught himself tennis and watched a lot of tennis. I'm actually pretty happy to be named after Andre Agassi, one of the all-time greats."
   Gould, a 16-year-old left-hander from Corte Madera, has a beautiful one-handed backhand and can finish points with a stylish volley. He learned the game from his father, Steve Gould, a bartender and the general manager at Vasco, an Italian restaurant in Mill Valley, and a 4.5 player.
Gould rips the one-handed backhand he learned
from his father. Photo by Paul Bauman
   "I always watched my dad playing, and he had a one-hander," said the outgoing, exuberant Stevie, who's not related to legendary Stanford men's coach Dick Gould. "I went with it and kept going with it. He started playing really late, when he was 35. I hit with him for the first four years of my tennis career because it was fun, and he taught me to love the game."
   In the final, Xiao served for the first set at 5-4 but was broken. Xiao broke back for 6-5 when Gould netted a backhand and held with a service winner for the set.
   Xiao recorded the only break of the second set to lead 2-1 and barely held on from there. Gould saved two break points to hold for 3-4 and escaped two match points serving at 3-5.
   After Gould held serve, Xiao served for the match at 5-4 but fell behind 15-40 when he netted a forehand. He got back to deuce with a service winner and deep forehand winner.
   Then came a stroke of luck for Xiao. He hit a backhand net-cord winner down the line with Gould at the net to earn a third match point. This time, Xiao converted with another service winner.
   "At 15-40, I still thought I could win this game," Xiao asserted. "I had confidence in my serve, so I was like, All right, go for your serve and play the points, and you have a good chance to come back."
   Gould rued "a couple sloppy forehand errors" when he was broken early in the second set.
   "That kind of was what changed the match today, was a couple service games of mine where I let him back in with forehand errors," Gould said. "That's my best shot, so when I'm making errors like that, it's definitely downhill from there."
RIO DEL ORO 18s, 16s & 14s JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Rio del Oro Racquet Club
In Sacramento, Calif.
Finals
Boys singles
18-and-under
   Andre Xiao (4), Saratoga, def. Stevie Gould (3), Corte Madera, 7-5, 6-4.
16-and-under
   Milad Shafaie (1), San Carlos, def. Ravi Nelson (5), Sacramento, 6-2, 6-4.
14-and-under
   Ryan Torres (1), Pleasanton, def. Lucca Liu, Palo Alto, 6-0, 7-5.
Boys doubles 
18-and-under
   Nitzan Ricklis, Sunnyvale, and Issa Yoshida (2), Campbell, def. Thomas Reznik, Belmont, and Ethan Smith, San Mateo, 8-4.
16-and-under
   Sheldon On and Justin Pau (1), San Francisco, def. Manroop Saini, San Jose, and Milad Shafaie (2), San Carlos, 8-6.
14-and-under
   Jason Lew, Pleasant Hill, and Ryan Torres (1), Pleasanton, def. Derek Babb and Dean Babb (4), Roseville, 8-1.
Girls singles
18-and-under
   Vivian Ovrootsky, San Jose, def. Shirley Hall (5), Chico, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
16-and-under
   Priya Nelson, Sacramento, def. Gabriela Tevez (1), San Jose, 7-6 (1), 6-2.
14-and-under
   Madison Weekley (5), Alamo, def. Isabel Santiago (5), Hayward, 6-0, 6-1.
Girls doubles
18-and-under
   Vivian Ovrootsky, San Jose, and Monica Stratakos (2), Saratoga, def. Stephanie Ren, Saratoga, and Meichen Zhu, San Ramon, 8-6.
16-and-under
   Elena Lottich, Castro Valley, and Trinity Zhang, Alameda, def. Annissa Mu, Saratoga, and Priya Nelson, Sacramento, 8-4.
14-and-under
   Georgia Beard, Santa Rosa, and Madison Weekley (2), Alamo, def. Sophie Evans, Pleasanton, and Isabel Santiago (1), Hayward, 8-6.

Teen Bellis beats another top-30 player

CiCi Bellis, playing in the U.S. Open last August, defeated
26th-ranked Daria Gavrilova on Sunday in the first round
of the Madrid Open on clay. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis was back to her energetic self on Sunday.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area beat 26th-ranked Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 on clay in the first round of the Madrid Open.
   It was Bellis' sixth victory over a top-30 player and fourth this year, even though she missed the first six weeks of 2017 with a hamstring injury.
   On Thursday, a physically drained Bellis lost to American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-2 in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco. Bellis was playing for the third consecutive day after winning two matches 7-5 in the third set. On Wednesday, she survived one match point and outlasted No. 2 seed and defending champion Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.
    Bellis, by far the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 59, will play Sorana Cirstea, a 27-year-old wild card from Romania, for the first time in Madrid on Tuesday. Cirstea, ranked No. 83, upset 13th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the Rabat champion, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5).
   Cirstea reached the French Open quarterfinals in 2009 and the Toronto final in 2013. In the latter tournament, she beat Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kvitova and Li Na before losing to Serena Williams. That catapulted Cirstea to a career-high No. 21.
   However, Cirstea dropped out of the top 200 in 2015 because of shoulder injuries.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ovrootsky, 12, wins girls 18s in Rio del Oro tourney

Vivian Ovrootsky has an "unbelievable" backhand, runner-up Shirley Hall
said. Photo by Paul Bauman
 SACRAMENTO, Calif.
-- It was hard to tell who was the 12-year-old and who was the 17-year-old in the girls 18 singles final of the Rio del Oro Junior Championships.
   Vivian Ovrootsky, 12, of San Jose is a compact 5-foot-5 3/4 (1.67 meters) and 125 pounds (56.7 kilograms). Shirley Hall, a 17-year-old Chico resident, is a slight 5-3 (1.6 meters) and 115 pounds (52.2 kilograms).
   The number that really matters, though, is two. That's Ovrootsky's national ranking in the 12s. She's also No. 8 in the 14s.
   Playing in the 18s of a tournament for the first time, the unseeded Ovrootsky wore down the fifth-seeded Hall 7-6 (3), 6-2 on Saturday at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club.
   "It was an easy decision," Ovrootsky said of playing the 18s. "I've been playing a lot of national tournaments, so I said, I'll play the 18s in my section."
   Ovrootsky has won two gold balls and one silver ball, all in the 12s. She swept the singles and doubles titles in the USTA Winter Nationals in Tucson, Ariz., in January and was the runner-up in the USTA Hardcourt Nationals last August in Alpharetta, Ga.
   Ovrootsky, who will turn 13 in July, put her Rio del Oro title in perspective.
   "It's really nice to win the 18s, but I still have a long way to go," she said. "I'll have plenty more chances to win the 18s in tournaments down the road."
Hall will be a guaranteed walk-on at UC Davis in the fall. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Both players survived long semifinals on Saturday morning, but Hall's was longer. Ovrootsky topped third-seeded Zlata Uzdenova of Granite Bay 6-4, 7-5. Hall overcame Margherita Andreassi of Santa Rosa 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2.
   Ovrootsky had about 90 minutes between matches and Hall about an hour. Fortunately for them, the weather was unseasonably cool. Still, both players said fatigue was a factor.
   "Even though I didn't have my 'A' game, I fought through it and didn't let my emotions get me down," Ovrootsky said.
   Hall wasn't at her best, either, but it might not have made a difference.
   "Her backhand is unbelievable," conceded Hall, who will be a guaranteed walk-on at UC Davis in the fall. "Anywhere on the court, she can counterpunch and do a winner.
   "We had a close first set, and I got a little tired. Then I got more tired, she played better, and I started making a lot more unforced errors."  
   Ovrootsky was born in Los Gatos (near San Jose), but her father, Val, is from Ukraine, and her mother, Lea, is from Estonia. They work for a credit union and financial company, respectively.
   Ovrootsky said power is her biggest strength.
   "At age 12, a lot of girls don't have as much power as I do. I would say I'm consistent with it as well," she offered.
   The other singles finals in the boys and girls 18s, 16s and 14s tournament are scheduled for today at 9 a.m.
Priya Nelson, 11, reached the girls 16 final. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   In the boys 18s, third-seeded Stevie Gould of Corte Madera will face fourth-seeded Andre Xiao of Saratoga.
   Gould, a 16-year-old left-hander, beat top-seeded Issa Yoshida of Campbell 6-3, 6-4.
   "We started off holding serve," noted Gould, who's ranked No. 2 in the 16s and No. 13 in the 18s in NorCal, "and it was tough to get a break. Then I got a lead in the first set. In the second set, he started serve-and-volleying -- he's probably got the best hands in Northern California -- and it was all I could do to hold on and weather the storm."
   Gould, who's not related to legendary Stanford coach Dick Gould, and Yoshida are close friends and frequent doubles partners.
   "He's a really good player," said Yoshida, 17. "You have to be on your 'A' game to have a chance to win. My first serve didn't really work for me today. My first-service percentage was pretty low. He kept me behind the baseline. He hits a heavy ball, and it was tough for me to come in, which is what I like to do."
   Xiao downed second-seeded Nitzan Ricklis of Sunnyvale 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.
   In the girls 16 final, top-seeded Gabriela Tevez of San Jose will face unseeded Priya Nelson of Sacramento.
   Tevez defeated unseeded Canela Luna of Rocklin 1-6, 6-3, 5-2, default. Luna accidentally drilled Tevez in the head with the ball while intending to hit it into the net in frustration.
   Nelson, 11, beat unseeded Tiffany Boudagian of South San Francisco 6-1, 6-0 after losing to her 6-0, 6-1 in their only previous meeting two years ago in Fremont.
   "I knew what to do this time, and I wasn't intimidated," said Nelson, wearing her trademark Roger Federer cap autographed by Stan Wawrinka. "I wanted to move her and try to hit deep. She tried to hit winners, so I just tried to be patient. ... "
   Nelson's 15-year-old brother, Ravi, will take on top-seeded Milad Shafaie of San Carlos in the 16s final. Ravi Nelson, seeded fifth, outlasted unseeded Herrick Legaspi of Sacramento 2-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Precocious Priya: Already like a pro at 11

Priya Nelson displays her Easter Bowl gold ball and sportsman-
ship award with her father, John, left, and coach, Joseph Gilbert,
at Indian Wells in March. Photo courtesy of Joseph Gilbert
   For Priya Nelson, winning the Easter Bowl girls 12 singles title in March was a breeze compared to the last time she stepped on a court at Indian Wells.
   On the other side of the net was a pretty good player. You might have heard of him. Fellow named Novak Djokovic.
   Two years ago, Djokovic was getting ready to practice on a distant back court in front of a handful of fans during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
   Normally, stars practice on one of three front courts at Indian Wells while fans pack the surrounding stands.
   "There was like five people, and I was the only kid there," recalled Nelson, a lifelong Sacramentan who will turn 12 on June 22. "Well, there was one other kid. So (Djokovic) had me and the other kid come down to his court, and we (each) played one point with him."
   Nelson's Indian mother, Bonnie (born Bhavna Parmar), witnessed the -- ahem -- stroke of luck.
   "He was like, 'I want some kids to practice with me, get me started, get me warmed
up,' " said Bonnie, a financial planner.  
   Djokovic handed Priya one of his rackets, and the showdown began. Who won?
   "Him," Nelson groused.
   Ditto for the point against the other kid, a boy. Hey, children have to learn that nothing in life is going to be handed to them -- other than grades, of course -- right? But Djokovic complimented Nelson afterward.
   "He said, 'You did a good job for having my heavy racket,' " Bonnie noted.
   Priya said she wasn't nervous facing Djokovic, which seems odd until you consider that she has exhibited traits of professional players almost since she first picked up a racket at 3 years old. Nelson has unusual intelligence, variety, natural ability, poise, touch, competitiveness and dedication.
   Three weeks before the Easter Bowl, Nelson played No. 1 singles and doubles (except for one match at No. 2 doubles) in the USTA National Boys & Girls 12 Spring Team Championships in Tucson, Ariz. The tournament used a college dual-match format, with six singles and three doubles matches. Nelson went 4-0 in singles without losing a set and 2-2 in doubles for the Tootsie Pops, who won the Northwest consolation bracket.
   Janusz Conradi, the Tootsie Pops' coach, was so impressed with Nelson that he likened her to a friend and childhood practice partner in Poland. You might have heard of her, too. Young lady named Agnieszka Radwanska, ranked eighth in the world and formerly second.
   "(Nelson) has a gift that not too many players have at this stage," Conradi said. "She knows how to win points. In certain situations, she knows what she needs to do to win the point, and she's going to do it. She can come up with a pretty clear pathway.
   "She's very organized when it comes to her pattern of play. She's also able to change it. This is something very unique among junior players. Many kids know how to hit topspin cross-court and topspin down the line. She's able to change the pace with her slice, she's able to change the pace with a heavy topspin, able to hit a flat backhand down the line. These are shots that you are expecting from professionals. She has that variety at a very young age."
   Conradi continued: "This is something I'm sure she learned from watching other players. I'm sure she's going to improve physically and technically later on. I would like to see how she plays in three years, how she improves in those areas. She's tall (5-foot-4 or 1.62 meters), but she's tiny (91 pounds or 41.3 kilograms). ... The intelligence, the tennis IQ, reminds me a lot of Agnieszka."
   Gay Goff, who plays at the Rio del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento, observed Nelson's intelligence last weekend as the phenom cruised to the girls 16 semifinals in the Rio del Oro 18s, 16s and 14s Junior Championships. The semis are scheduled for Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and the final for Sunday at 9 a.m.
Priya Nelson, wearing her trademark Roger Federer
cap, takes a selfie with Federer's Swiss countryman,
Stan Wawrinka, during the BNP Paribas Open at In-
dian Wells in March. Photo courtesy of the Nelsons
   "She's amazing," Goff marveled. "If she sees her opponent likes pace, she doesn't give it to her. It's instinctive. If she has to run wide for a shot, (the ball) goes up to give her time."
   Nelson also is perceptive on the practice court.
   "She learns well when you teach her," said Conradi, the director of junior tennis at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette, La. "Sometimes you teach a student five things, and they learn four. With Priya, you teach her five things, but she learns seven or eight. It's very unique the way she sees things."
   John Nelson said he first saw something special in his daughter when she was 4. And John knows what he's talking about. He teaches physical education at Pacific Elementary School in south Sacramento.
   "She had a little Dora the Explorer pink racket, and she would hit foam balls with her (older) brother," said John, who met Bonnie when they were students at Sacramento State. Priya and Ravi, 15, are their only children. "She just did a lot of things that were natural. She would keep to the side of the ball and move and hit the ball with topspin. She had never been taught to do that. Her footwork was really interesting for such a small kid."
   Priya, a home-schooled sixth grader, and Ravi, a freshman at Rio Americano High School, train under Joseph Gilbert at the JMG Tennis Academy at the Arden Hills Club & Spa in Sacramento. Ravi, Rio Americano's No. 1 singles player, won the Capital Athletic League championship last week.
   "(Priya) watched her brother," said Gilbert, the academy's founder and owner. "From a coach's side, the younger ones watching the older ones, it definitely helps."
   Goff saw Priya play mini-matches at age 4.
   "They played four games then," Goff said. "She was like a professional. There was no fussing."
   Nothing has changed in that regard.
   "Priya's always mentally calm," Gilbert said. "I've had my share of different kids on that, but she's definitely one of the best at keeping her emotions under control."
   Gilbert began working with Nelson when she was 5.
   "Priya picked up (the game) pretty easily," he said. "She has very good hands, very good feel. She understands the game really well, and she has since a young age. It's easy to teach the skills she needs, and she likes to compete. That's one thing we changed in her schedule as I got to know her and talked to the parents. We upped the tournament side because she liked to compete so much, and that started making a difference right away. She was the one who said she wanted to play more tournaments. I usually have a lower (frequency) of tournaments, but you've got to adjust to every kid."
   Gilbert elaborated on Nelson's understanding of tennis.
   "She just understands the feel of it, the movement, covering the court," he said. "She has good hands, so she has the skills to put the ball where she needs to when she's in trouble. And (she has) good court sense -- when to be aggressive, when to be more defensive. She's always had that. Since 6, 7, 8 years old, she could feel the court really well.
   "As a coach, you've got to move her in that direction, to her strengths. It works well with me because I like it. I was attracted to her as a player from a very young age because I felt she had good hands, good feel and good court sense, which is right up my alley for what I enjoy teaching (versus power)."
   Nelson won the girls 8-and-under singles title in the 2013 Little Mo Nationals in Austin, Texas, and made her Easter Bowl debut this year. She was unseeded at Indian Wells because it was only her second Level 1 national tournament; Nelson reached the third round of the USTA National Winter Championships in Tucson in late December.
   The Easter Bowl singles draw featured five of the top 10 girls in the USTA 12-and-under rankings but only one of the top five. No. 1 Katja Wiersholm of Kirkland, Wash., No. 2 Vivian Ovrootsky of San Jose and No. 4 Robin Montgomery of Washington, D.C., played in the 14s, and No. 5 Nikita Vishwase of Phoenix did not play in the tournament.
   No. 3 Matilyn Wang, a Scottsdale, Ariz., resident seeded first in the Easter Bowl girls 12s, lost to unseeded Eleana Yu of Mason, Ohio, in the semifinals.
   Nelson ousted three seeds in the Easter Bowl, including No. 2 Tsehay Driscoll of Pacific Palisades in the Los Angeles area 6-1, 6-4 in the first round, before beating Yu 6-1, 6-3 for the title. Yu is the top-ranked sixth grader on tennisrecruiting.net. Driscoll is fourth and Nelson fifth.
Priya Nelson poses in front of a pool at the Arden Hills
Club & Spa, where she trains, in Sacramento last month.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   "After I saw that match (against Driscoll)," Gilbert said, "I was like 'All right, it pretty much shows she can play with anybody in the tournament. Now let's keep it consistent throughout a whole week.' That's something we've been working on, and I was trying to challenge her at the tournament to do that, not to have any sluggish days or down days or where you're not 100 percent prepared. ...
   "To her credit, she did the thing I thought was toughest for her to do, is to do that throughout a week. She was probably the best (all week) in the final. She was the most fired up and the most energetic (with) the most attention to detail, which for a coach was really fun to watch."
   Nelson became the fifth junior and first girl from the JMG Tennis Academy to earn a gold ball for winning a national Level 1 title. The others are Collin Altamirano (2013 USTA National boys 18 singles), Jenson Brooksby (USTA National boys 12 singles), Austen Huang (2015 USTA Winter Nationals boys 18 singles) and Karl Lee (2015 USTA National Clay Court boys 12 singles plus three doubles titles).
   Altamirano, a University of Virginia junior who's 15-5 at Nos. 1-4 singles and 17-3 at No. 3 doubles, will try to help the Cavaliers win their third consecutive NCAA title this month.
   Nelson came close to an Easter Bowl "Triple Crown." She reached the doubles quarterfinals with Maryia Hrynashka of Rancho Cordova in the Sacramento area, losing 10-8 in a match tiebreaker to the fifth seeds, and won the girls 12 sportsmanship award.
  Nelson, whose favorite shot is her slice backhand, now is ranked sixth nationally in girls 12 singles.
   "She has a good, clean game," Gilbert said. "Her serve is solid, she's consistent, she moves well. I like her forehand -- she can hit it heavy. Sometimes that's the shot that gets a little inconsistent at times, or the backhand gets a little stray. But overall, if she stays focused, she's clean on all of her shots, and that's what makes her tough to beat."
   Like Conradi, Gilbert appreciates Nelson's variety.
   "She plays points that are fun for me to watch because she'll hit so many different shots in a point, whether it's a high ball, whether it's a slice, whether it's an angle, whether it's a cut serve," Gilbert said. "She can do all of that in one point. She's pretty comfortable at the net, she's got good hands, so it's a little bit of a well-rounded game. I don't think anything really sticks out. I just think it's clean all over."
   Less than 48 hours after winning the Easter Bowl, Nelson was back on the court in the first round of the 16s in the Gold River Junior Championships at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento area.
   "Most of the time -- probably with 90, 99 percent of our players -- I would not have suggested that, but Priya likes to compete and play, so I let that one fly," Gilbert said with a laugh. "Three or four years ago, I would have texted or called the parents and said, 'Take her out of the tournament,' but I'm adjusting to her, and she's enjoying it. That's showing -- she got to the final of the 16s (at Gold River). She had a great tournament. ...
  "In the past, I spaced out the tournaments a lot more, and I still do with some players because they need that mental break from it, but Priya doesn't bring those emotions. Collin is a good example. Collin is so emotional on the court that doing back-to-back-to-back tournaments is exhausting for everybody (laughs), so we take breaks. Priya keeps a good, even demeanor, so I have to look at that and go, 'You know what? It doesn't take as much of an emotional toll on her to play these tournaments.' "
   Nelson ousted top-seeded Avantika Willy, last year's girls 14 NorCal Sectional champion, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round at Gold River en route to the final and won the 14s doubles title with Tomi Main of Seaside in the Monterey area.
   Nelson always wears a Roger Federer cap on the court and rarely takes it off at home. She idolizes Federer "because he's really good on court and his mental is really good and he's always really calm and I like how he moves and the way he treats others on court," she said.
   Nelson hopes to play professionally someday. She already trains like a pro, pounding balls and working out at Arden Hills from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. five days a week to prepare for weekend and national tournaments.
   The question, according to Gilbert, is whether Nelson can stay motivated for the next five or six years.
   "It's hard not to get distracted, to stay healthy, to enjoy it, to come out every day and be fired up and want to keep working and improving," Gilbert said. "That's the hard thing about tennis. It's a really long path these kids have to take, so where Priya's at right now, I don't have any big things I feel are holes in her game. To keep doing what she's doing for a long period of time is probably the biggest challenge."
   Bonnie Nelson is realistic but not worried about Priya burning out.  
   "There are no guarantees of any sort," Bonnie conceded. "Kids change as they grow. But one of the biggest things I can say towards her success is if there's something she needs to work on -- footwork or her backhand, whatever it is -- she works on it. That's the difference between my son and her. She wants it; she's hungry for it. That's what's driving her."

Bellis, 18, loses to Lepchenko in Morocco

Varvara Lepchenko, shown in the 2015 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford,
dispatched CiCi Bellis 6-3, 6-2 today in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat,
Morocco. Photo by Mal Taam
   For CiCi Bellis, one day was not enough time to recover from two consecutive long matches.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area lost to American Varvara Lepchenko 6-3, 6-2 in 65 minutes today in the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco.
   Lepchenko, a 30-year-old left-hander originally from Uzbekistan, broke Bellis' serve six times and saved the only break point against her.
   Bellis played for the third straight day after winning her first two matches 7-5 in the third set. On Wednesday, she survived one match point and outlasted No. 2 seed and defending champion Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in 3 hours, 8 minutes.  
   Bellis, by far the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 59, will rise about five spots when the next rankings are released on Monday.
   Lepchenko reached her first WTA semifinal since Stanford in 2015 and first on clay in her career. She will play Francesca Schiavone, a 36-year-old wild card from Italy. 
   Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion who will turn 37 on June 23, is coming off her eighth career singles title, on clay in Bogota. She has announced that she will retire at the end of the year. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Morocco marathon: Bellis, 18, ousts Bacsinszky

CiCi Bellis poses with her coach, Anibal Aranda, at the Broadway Tennis
Center in Burlingame, near San Francisco International Airport, on Dec. 28.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis took another step in her blossoming career today, upsetting No. 2 seed and defending champion Timea Bacsinszky 6-7 (3), 7-5, 7-5 in 3 hours, 8 minutes to reach the quarterfinals on clay in Rabat, Morocco.
   Bellis, an 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, saved one match point.
   "I feel amazing; it's definitely one of the longest matches I've played on the pro tour, so I'm happy to come through," Bellis said in an on-court interview.
   Bellis won 7-5 in the third set for the second consecutive day. She topped Japan's Nao Hibino, the champion of the inaugural Stockton Challenger in 2015, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 in 2 hours, 2 minutes in the first round.
   Bacsinszky, ranked No. 27 to match her age, is the fifth top-30 player Bellis has beaten but the first on clay.
   Bacsinszky also is the fifth player to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal or better whom Bellis has defeated. Bacsinszky advanced to the French Open semifinals in 2015 and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2015 and Roland Garros last year.
   Bellis, by far the youngest player in the top 100 at No. 59, will play American Varvara Lepchenko, a 30-year-old left-hander originally from Uzbekistan, for the first time on Thursday.
   Lepchenko, ranked No. 73, surprised fifth-seeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 in 2 hours, 15 minutes.
   Bellis can crack the top 50 for the first time by reaching the final of the $226,750 tournament. The champion will collect $43,000.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sac State women held out of relocated Big Sky tourney

The Sacramento State women's team poses after winning the 2012 Big Sky
Conference tournament at the Gold River Racquet Club in the Sacramento
area. Coach Dima Hrynashka is at front left, and Clarisse Baca is standing
third from right. Baca replaced the highly successful Hrynashka last October
under mysterious circumstances. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Sacramento State saga continues.
   In the latest blows to Sacramento-area tennis, the Hornets women have been held out of the Big Sky Conference Championships, and the men's and women's tournaments have been moved from the Gold River Racquet Club to Phoenix.
   The Big Sky Championships, which had been held at Gold River every year since 2007 except in 2011, are scheduled for Thursday through Sunday at the Phoenix Tennis Center. The Hornets men are seeded third.
   Sac State spokesman Andrew Tomsky said today that the school and NCAA are investigating the Hornets women's program but would not elaborate.
   "We can't comment on it since it's ongoing," said Tomsky, an assistant media relations director who handles women's tennis and four other sports at Sac State.
   Tomsky added that he doesn't know when the investigation will end.
   NCAA spokewoman Emily James also declined to comment.
   "Due to member rules, we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations," James, an associate director of public and media relations for the Indianapolis-based NCAA, wrote in an email.
   Brad Wall, the Big Sky communications director for tennis, did not return a phone call this morning.
   Since February 2014, the Sacramento area has lost two World TeamTennis franchises, a $100,000 men's tournament on the USTA Pro Circuit, a legends tournament and the USTA 30-and-over Indoor Championships in addition to the Big Sky tourney. Tomsky said that to his knowledge, future sites for the latter have not been determined.
   Despite the CIA-like secrecy, the issue with the Sac State women's program is thought to be minor. One source said on the condition of anonymity that it concerns summer employment last year by current seniors Alina Soltanici of Moldova and Deimante Bulatovaite of Lithuania. Their status as international students could be a factor.
   Soltanici, who played No. 1 singles for Sac State in 2016, and Bulatovaite, who played primarily No. 3 or 4, sat out the regular season this year. When asked why, Tomsky said, "Due to the ongoing investigation." 
   On Oct. 6 last year at the beginning of the fall season, Sac State announced that Clarisse Baca had been named the acting women's coach. The former Hornets star replaced longtime coach Dima Hrynashka, a Belarus native whose name was not mentioned in the release.
   Bill Campbell, then Sac State's director of tennis, said on Oct. 25 that Hrynashka had taken a leave of absence for personal reasons.
   Campbell said Tuesday that he retired as director of tennis in "September or October."
   Campbell also declined to discuss possible NCAA infractions by Sac State.
   "I told (Sac State) I wouldn't answer any questions, so I'm not answering any questions," he said.
   Hrynashka's future at Sac State is unclear. He compiled records of 168-96 (.636) overall and 85-4 (.955) in the Big Sky in 10 seasons at the school and was named the conference Women's Coach of the Year five times (2008-11 and 2013).
   Sac State moved its women's home matches from the Rio del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento to the campus this season. The men, however, continued to play at Rio del Oro. Campbell founded and owns a chain of nine fitness clubs, including Rio del Oro, in the Sacramento area.   
   The Sac State women finished fifth in the 12-team Big Sky at 7-4 this season (9-17 overall). Six teams qualify for the postseason tournament, and the winner receives an automatic berth in the NCAA Championships.
   The Hornets women won 13 consecutive Big Sky tournament titles from 2002 to 2014 and lost in the first round of the NCAAs each time. They won one point total in their last five appearances.
   Northern Arizona is seeded first in this year's tournament, and two-time defending champion Idaho is second. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Breaking story tomorrow; Nelson profile postponed

   Because of a breaking story that I will post tomorrow, I have to postpone my profile of Sacramento's Priya Nelson until next week.
   Nelson recently won the girls 12 singles title in the prestigious Easter Bowl at Indian Wells.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Coming soon: Nelson profile, junior tourney

   I plan to post a profile of Sacramento's Priya Nelson, who recently won the girls 12 singles title in the prestigious Easter Bowl at Indian Wells, on Wednesday or Thursday.
   Then I'll cover the later rounds of the Rio Del Oro Junior Championships on May 6-7 at the Rio Del Oro Racquet Club in Sacramento. Nelson will play in the 16s.

Friday, April 14, 2017

After 2,000 posts, new blog format announced

   Since launching my website in June 2011, I have accumulated 2,000 posts while working full-time in Sacramento.
   Upon reflection, I have decided to alter the format.
   I will continue to cover professional, college and junior tournaments in Northern California (plus the first week of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March) and write occasional news and feature stories.
   However, I will no longer post other tournament stories, weekly rankings or TV schedules. This will give me some time to work on a football book that I have been eager to write.
   My next blog post will be a profile of Sacramento's Priya Nelson this month. Nelson recently won the Easter Bowl girls 12 singles title in Indian Wells.
   Here's my tournament coverage schedule for the rest of the year:
   May 6-7 -- Late rounds of Rio Del Oro Junior Championships, Rio Del Oro Racquet Club, Sacramento.
   June 17-19 -- Late rounds of NorCal Boys 18 &16 Junior Sectional Championships, Natomas Racquet Club, Sacramento.
   June 17-19 -- Late rounds of NorCal 14s Junior Sectional Championships, Arden Hills Club & Spa, Sacramento.
   July 17-23 -- $60,000 women's professional tournament, Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, University of the Pacific, Stockton.
   July 24-30 -- $60,000 women's professional tournament, Gold River Racquet Club, Gold River (Sacramento area).
   July 31-Aug. 6 -- Bank of the West Classic, Taube Family Tennis Stadium, Stanford.
   Aug. 7-13 -- $100,000 men's professional tournament, Seascape Sports Club, Aptos, Calif.
   Sept. 11-17 -- $25,000 women's professional tournament, Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness, Redding, Calif.
   Sept. 25-Oct. 1 -- $100,000 men's professional tournament, Tiburon Peninsula Club, Tiburon (San Francisco Bay Area).
   Sept./Oct. TBA -- Professional exhibition in Sacramento area.
   Oct. 2-8 -- $100,000 men's professional tournament, Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, University of the Pacific, Stockton.
   Oct. 9-15 -- $100,000 men's professional tournament, Solano Community College, Fairfield, Calif.
   Oct. 16-22 -- $25,000 men's professional tournament, Hellman Tennis Complex, University of California, Berkeley.
   Oct. 23-29 -- $25,000 men's professional tournament, Broadway Tennis Center, Burlingame (San Francisco Bay Area).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Azarenka to return in Bank of the West Classic

Victoria Azarenka begins a practice at Indian Wells
last year by tossing a football. Azarenka went on to
win the title and the following Miami Open for a rare
Sunshine Double. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka announced today that she will return to the WTA tour in the Bank of the West Classic, July 31-Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   Azarenka gave birth to her first child, a son named Leo, on Dec. 20. The 27-year-old Belarus native will make her fifth appearance at Stanford, where she won the singles title in 2010 and the doubles crown with Maria Kirilenko of Russia in 2011.
   "I am very excited to be returning to the WTA at the Bank of the West Classic," said Azarenka, a two-time Grand Slam singles champion (2012 and 2013 Australian Open). "Becoming a mother has been the most rewarding thing that has ever happened to me and really puts things in perspective. I am looking forward to beginning this new stage of my career."
   Azarenka, who will turn 28 on the first day of the Bank of the West Classic, has another Northern California connection besides her Stanford titles. Slava Konikov, in his 12th season as the Sacramento State men's coach, worked extensively with her when she was a junior in Belarus.
   In Azarenka's last match on the tour, she retired in the first round of the 2016 French Open against Karin Knapp of Italy with a knee injury that also caused her to withdraw from Wimbledon.
   Earlier last year, Azarenka became only the third woman besides Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters to pull off a Sunshine Double, winning back-to-back titles in Indian Wells and Miami.
   The Bank of the West Classic also received a commitment from 10th-ranked Madison Keys, who recently launched a comeback of her own. The 22-year-old American returned to the circuit in March at Indian Wells, where she reached the fourth round, after undergoing left wrist surgery last fall.
   Keys, who climbed to a career-high No. 7 last October, has lost in the second round in both of her Stanford appearances (2013 and 2015).
   Bank of the West tickets are available online or by phone at (866) WTA-TIXS (982-8497).

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Querrey loses; U.S. ousted in Davis Cup

   Nick Kyrgios defeated Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4 today to give host Australia an insurmountable 3-1 lead over the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.
   Querrey led 3-1 in the third set on a hardcourt in Brisbane.
   Australia likely will play Belgium, which leads visiting Italy 2-1 in the best-of-five-match series, in September's semifinals. Belgium would host again with a victory, but if Italy rallies to win, it will travel to Australia.
   The United States and Australia are the two most celebrated nations in Davis Cup history with 32 and 28 titles, respectively. However, the Americans haven't won the Cup since 2007, and the Aussies haven't done so since 2003.

Bay Area product McDonald wins Futures doubles title

Mackenzie McDonald, shown last September, won the
doubles title in the $25,000 Memphis (Tenn.) Futures with
Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain. Photo by Paul Bauman
   No. 4 seeds Mackenzie McDonald, who grew up near Oakland in Piedmont, and Lloyd Glasspool of Great Britain defeated No. 1 Philip Bester of Canada and Alex Lawson of Tempe, Ariz., 6-2, 7-6 (3) Friday for the doubles title in the $25,000 Memphis (Tenn.) Futures.
   It was McDonald's fifth Futures doubles title but first with Glasspool. McDonald, who will turn 22 on April 16, also won the Fairfield (Calif.) Challenger last October with Brian Baker of Nashville, Tenn.
   McDonald, seeded No. 1 in singles, lost to unseeded Jared Hiltzik of Tampa, Fla., 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in today's semifinals.
   McDonald, only 5-foot-10 (1.78 meters) and 145 pounds (66 kilograms), is ranked a career-high No. 235 in singles. Hiltzik, a former Illinois All-American ranked No. 466, will play unseeded Takanyi Garanganga of Zimbabwe in the final. Gaganganga topped Bester, seeded eighth, 6-4, 6-0.
   After beating McDonald 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-2 in the second round of the $100,000 San Francisco Challenger in February, fellow American Denis Kudla said, "For sure, he'll be a top-100 player -- guarantee it -- so I knew it would be tough."
   Kudla, 24, is ranked No. 136 after reaching a career-high No. 53 last May.
   Glasspool and McDonald, now based in Los Angeles, have played separately on the last two NCAA championship doubles teams. Glasspool teamed with Soren Hess-Olesen for Texas in 2015, and McDonald paired with Martin Redlicki for UCLA last year.
   McDonald turned pro last June, forgoing his senior year, after becoming the first man since Matias Boeker of Georgia in 2001 to sweep the NCAA titles.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rankings mover of the week: Bradley Klahn

   Bradley Klahn continued his comeback from back surgery by reaching the singles final and winning the doubles title in the recent $25,000 Pro Tennis Championships of Calabasas in the Los Angeles area.
   Klahn, who won the 2010 NCAA singles title as a Stanford sophomore, soared 130 places to No. 633 in singles and 139 spots to No. 475 in doubles.
   The 26-year-old left-hander from the San Diego suburb of Poway climbed to career highs of No. 63 in singles and No. 131 in doubles in March 2014. However, he underwent his second operation for a herniated disc in February 2015 and missed almost two years.
WORLD RANKINGS
   Players with Northern California ties ranked in the top 1,000 in the world (change from previous week in parentheses):
Men's singles
   No. 25 (+2) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 187 (-11) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 235 (career high, +10) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old product of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 633 (+130) -- Bradley Klahn, 26-year-old former NCAA singles champion from Stanford.
   No. 654 (-5) -- Dmitry Tursunov, 34-year-old resident of Folsom in Sacramento area, 
   No. 703 (+4) -- Ryan Haviland, 36-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 798 (+25) -- John Lamble, 25-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star. 
   No. 815 (-1) -- Collin Altamirano, 21-year-old Sacramento native and resident.
   No. 892 (-16) -- Connor Farren, 22-year-old product former USC standout from Hillsborough in San Francisco Bay Area.
Men's doubles
   No. 3 (+1) -- Bob Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford..
   No. 3 (+1) -- Mike Bryan, 38-year-old former NCAA doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 59 (+2) -- Scott Lipsky, 35-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 60 (+5) -- Sam Querrey, 29-year-old San Francisco native.
   No. 139 (career high, +4) -- Dennis Novikov, 23-year-old resident of Milpitas in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 248 (-1) -- Mackenzie McDonald, 21-year-old product of Piedmont in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 387 (+2) -- John Paul Fruttero, 35-year-old former Cal All-American.
   No. 475 (+139) -- Bradley Klahn, 26-year-old former NCAA singles champion from Stanford.
   No. 621 (-1) -- John Lamble, 25-year-old Saratoga resident and former Santa Clara star
Women's singles
   No. 54 (career high, +1) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 70 (-1) -- Sloane Stephens, 24-year-old Fresno product. 
   No. 128 (-9) -- Nicole Gibbs, 24-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford..
   No. 206 (-3) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 384 (-11) -- Maria Sanchez, 27-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 522 (+5) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.
   No. 723 (+2) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area
Women's doubles
   No. 22 (-2) -- Raquel Atawo (formerly Kops-Jones), 34-year-old San Jose resident and 2003 NCAA doubles champion from Cal.
   No. 60 (+1) -- Maria Sanchez, 27-year-old Modesto product.
   No. 159 (no change) -- Nicole Gibbs, 24-year-old former NCAA singles and doubles champion from Stanford.
   No. 335 (-5) -- Kristie Ahn, 24-year-old former Stanford All-American.
   No. 381 (+9) -- Carol Zhao, 21-year-old former Stanford star.   
   No. 507 (+4) -- CiCi Bellis, 17-year-old product of Atherton in San Francisco Bay Area.
   No. 598 (+3) -- Maegan Manasse, 21-year-old Cal senior.
   No. 620 (+1) -- Michaela Gordon, 17-year-old resident of Saratoga in San Francisco Bay Area. 
   No. 709 (+2) -- Felicity Maltby, 19-year-old Sunnyvale resident.
   No. 731 (+2) -- Alexandra Facey, 24-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area. 
   No. 731 (+2) -- Kat Facey, 24-year-old product of Cameron Park in Sacramento area.