Friday, July 21, 2017

Loeb beats 15-year-old phenom in Stockton quarters

   STOCKTON, Calif. -- Amanda Anisimova had the hype, but Jamie Loeb had the game.
   Despite giving up four inches (10.2 centimeters) to the 15-year-old phenom, the second-seeded Loeb outslugged Anisimova 6-4, 6-2 today in an all-American quarterfinal in the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger.
   In May, the 5-foot-10 (1.83-meter) Anisimova became the youngest player to compete in the main draw of the French Open since Alize Cornet of France in 2005. Before the tournament, USTA general manager for player development Martin Blackman called Anisimova "a very special player" in a New York Times profile of her.
   After dispatching sixth-seeded Grace Min 6-1, 6-2 in the second round on Thursday, Anisimova said her long-term goal is "to become No. 1 and win every Grand Slam." 
   But Loeb, a 22-year-old product of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York, is surprisingly powerful for someone her size.
   "You're not the first person to say that," Loeb, who turned pro after winning the 2015 NCAA singles title as a North Carolina sophomore, said with a laugh. "Some people are like, 'How do you get your power?' I'm like, 'I don't know.' I've always been pretty powerful and aggressive. I'm just trying to be more versatile on the court, but aggressiveness definitely is my strength."
   Loeb, ranked 154th, played outstanding offense and defense and repeatedly put Anisimova on the defensive with deep returns of serve. Loeb, however, put in only 43.4 percent of her first serves (23 of 53).
   "Obviously I can still improve on my serve, but I'm still pleased with how I'm playing and constructing points from the baseline," observed Loeb, a singles quarterfinalist in Stockton last year and the doubles champion in the 2015 (inaugural) tournament.
   Loeb said her game plan against Anisimova was to "keep the rally going because I knew once I got into the rally I had a good chance of winning. She has a big game and likes to go for her shots. I wanted to keep moving the ball around."
   The fast courts at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center should have favored the bigger Anisimova, but it didn't work out that way.
   "I didn't have enough time to prepare for them," lamented a subdued Anisimova, who was born in Freehold Township, N.J., to Russian parents.
   At the same time, Anisimova complimented Loeb.
   "She played really well," said Anisimova, ranked 257th. "I think her style of game really helps her here. She plays really quick and fast -- she prepares her return early and has a compact swing -- and moves around the court really well."
   Loeb, who has not lost more than four games in a set in three tournament matches, will play 18-year-old wild card Ashley Kratzer of Newport Beach in Southern California for the first time in Saturday's second semifinal. Kratzer, a left-hander who turned pro late last year, defeated Xu Shilin, 19, of China 6-4, 6-2.
   "My expectations were to get to the quarters. I did that yesterday, so today, I said, 'Let's just play, have fun and do what you can do,' and it worked," said the 415th-ranked Kratzer, who skipped the juniors, like the Williams sisters, to work on her game and avoid injuries. "Anything from here on, I'm proud of."
   In the first semifinal at 9 a.m., fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., will face Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia.
   Kenin, 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters), downed Francesca Di Lorenzo, a 19-year-old left-hander from New Albany, Ohio, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-1.
   Kenin, who won last year's Sacramento Challenger, is ranked 160th. Di Lorenzo won the NCAA doubles title and lost in the first round of singles as the top seed as an Ohio State sophomore in May. She said she will decide at the end of the summer whether to turn pro.
   Tomljanovic, 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters) and lean, used her laser groundstrokes to subdue former Irina Falconi, only 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters) of Orlando, Fla., 2-6, 6-0, 6-2 in a matchup of former top-70 players rebounding from surgery. That prevented an all-U.S. semifinals.
   "I thought she played pretty good in the first set," Tomljanovic, who's based in Boca Raton, Fla., and speaks English with no accent, said after her second consecutive three-set victory in the blazing heat of the San Joaquin Valley. "I had a good start but kind of lost my concentration and let it slip away for a couple games. I just started fresh after the first set and tried to stay calm and win some more games. I got on the board 6-2 and came out and started picking up from there."
   Tomljanovic reached the Australian Open doubles quarterfinals and the fourth round of singles in the French Open in 2014. She had shoulder surgery in February 2016 and missed one year. Ranked a career-high No. 47 in February 2015, Tomljanovic has tumbled to No. 297.
   Tomljanovic is 1-0 against Kenin, having won 6-4, 6-1 in the first round of a $60,000 clay-court tournament in Charlottesville, Va., in April en route to the semifinals.
   Here are the Stockton singles and doubles draws and Saturday's schedule. Live streaming is available.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

No. 1 Ahn, three other seeds fall in 60K Stockton

   STOCKTON, Calif. -- Top-seeded Kristie Ahn lost today in the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger, but the former Stanford star shouldn't feel too bad.
   For one thing, Ahn fell to a WTA veteran who reached a career-high No. 63 in May 2016.
   For another, Ahn had plenty of company.
   Irina Falconi dismissed friend and fellow Orlando, Fla., resident Ahn 6-4, 6-0 in the second round at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center. Also eliminated were No. 3 seed Danielle Collins, No. 6 Grace Min and No. 7 Usue Maitane Arconada. Only two seeds, No. 2 Jamie Loeb and No. 4 Sofia Kenin, reached the quarterfinals.
   Falconi, only 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters), reached the third round of the 2011 U.S. Open and 2015 French Open. The Ecuador native won her only WTA title in April 2016 on clay in Bogota but had surgery on her right big toe after the U.S. Open and returned to the tour at the beginning of January.
   Now ranked No. 247, the 27-year-old Falconi said the key to beating Ahn was making sure she did "something as simple as looking at the ball on every single point. There were a few times where I corrected myself and said, 'Look at the ball.' Once I won the first set, continuing with that fire and intensity helped me in the second."
   The 5-foot-5 (1.63-meter) Ahn, 25, had no aces and six double faults. She won only 43.3 percent of the points on her first serve (13 of 30) and 39.1 percent (9 of 23) on her second delivery.
   "I didn't serve very well," acknowledged Ahn, ranked No. 117. "I tried to do the right thing and come forward a couple times and made too many errors. It was partly due to her great defense. I definitely overplayed a couple times.
   "Overall it was not my best, but I do think we had a couple good points, and there were some positives I could take away from today. I came forward more today than I did the other day, and I'm trying to incorporate that more into my game."
   Falconi is scheduled to play Croatia's Ajla Tomljanovic, a former top-50 player rebounding from shoulder surgery, Friday not before 10:30 a.m. on Court 2 in the quarterfinals.
   The 5-foot-11 (1.80-meter) Tomljanovic (pronounced Tom-lee-an-o-vich), who reached the fourth round of the 2014 French Open, defeated Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, 18, of France 5-7, 6-4, 6-0.
   Falconi has a 4-2 record with a three-match winning streak against Tomljanovic. Falconi won the last meeting 6-1, 6-2 in the second round of qualifying in the 2015 Canadian Open.
   Also today, 19-year-old Xu Shilin of China dispatched third-seeded Danielle Rose Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., 6-3, 6-3.
   Xu, who lived in Florida from age 8 to 14 and speaks fluent English, uses two hands on her forehand and backhand. Collins won the 2014 and 2016 NCAA singles titles while playing for Virginia.
   Xu will play wild card Ashley Kratzer, an 18-year-old left-hander from Newport Beach in Southern California, not before 10:30 a.m. on the Stadium Court. Kratzer beat naturalized U.S. citizen Anna Tatishvili, a former top-50 player, 6-4, 7-5.
   Amanda Anisimova, a 15-year-old phenom from Hallandale Beach, Fla., dominated sixth-seeded Grace Min of Atlanta and Orlando 6-1, 6-2. The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Anisimova, who has lost only four games in two Stockton matches, will take on Loeb of Ossining, N.Y., at 9 a.m. on the Stadium Court.
   Loeb, a singles quarterfinalist in Stockton last year and doubles champion in the 2015 (inaugural) tournament, outclassed 18-year-old Caroline Dolehide of Hinsdale, Ill., 6-3, 6-2. Loeb, the 2015 NCAA singles champion at North Carolina, has not lost more than three games in a set in her two matches.
   Also, Francesca Di Lorenzo held off seventh-seeded Usue Maitane Arconada 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a hard-hitting battle of U.S. teenagers. Arconada, who was born in Argentina and grew up in Puerto Rico, led 4-1 in the tiebreaker.
   Di Lorenzo, a 19-year-old left-hander, won the NCAA doubles title as an Ohio State sophomore in May and lost in the first round of singles as the top seed. She will face Kenin, 18, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., at 9 a.m. on Court 2.
   Kenin, who won last year's Sacramento Challenger, beat Robin Anderson, a 24-year-old former UCLA star, 6-4, 6-3.
   Here are the Stockton singles and doubles draws and Friday's schedule. Live streaming is available.  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Cancer survivor Duval loses in Stockton Challenger

   Third-seeded Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., beat qualifier Victoria Duval of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 7-6 (5) today in the first round of the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton (Calif.) Challenger at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center.
   Collins won the 2014 and 2016 NCAA singles titles while attending Virginia to become the seventh woman with multiple NCAA singles crowns.
   Duval, now 21, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014 and missed one year while undergoing chemotherapy.
   Collins, 23, is scheduled to play Xu Shilin, 19, of China on Thursday not before 10:30 a.m.
   In a battle of teenagers, Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of  France took out fifth-seeded Lizette Cabrera of Australia 1-6, 7-5, 6-2. After the first round, six of the eight seeds remain. No. 8 Jennifer Elie of New York lost to former top-50 player Anna Tatishvili, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen from the nation of Georgia, on Tuesday.
   Second-seeded Jamie Loeb, a product of the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York, outclassed An-Sophie Mestach of Belgium 6-3, 6-2.
   Shortly after Loeb won the 2015 NCAA singles championship as a North Carolina sophomore, she took the doubles title in the inaugural Stockton Challenger with previous Tar Heels star Sanaz Marand. Mestach reached the singles final, falling to Nao Hibino of Japan.
   Amanda Anisimova, a 15-year-old phenom from Hallandale Beach, Fla., demolished qualifier Ingrid Neel, 19, from Rochester, Minn., 6-0, 6-1 in 47 minutes.
   Both Anisimova, who will turn 16 on Aug. 31, and Neel made news in May. Anisimova became the youngest player to compete in the main draw of the French Open since Alize Cornet of France in 2005, losing to Kurumi Nara of Japan 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the opening round. Neel, then a freshman at Florida, won the clinching match in the Gators' 4-1 victory over Stanford in the NCAA final in Athens, Ga.
   Anisimova's victory was not the only 47-minute match of the day. Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia overwhelmed Michaela Gordon, a 17-year-old qualifier from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-1, 6-0. Gordon will enroll at Stanford in September.
   Tomljanovic, 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters), attained a career-high ranking of No. 47 in February 2015 and reached the quarterfinals of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford that July. But she had shoulder surgery in February 2016 and missed 13 months.
   Francesca Di Lorenzo, 19, of New Albany, Ohio, defeated qualifier Allie Will, a former University of Florida star who teaches tennis in Fairfield (near San Francisco), 7-5, 6-3. Di Lorenzo won the NCAA doubles title in May as an Ohio State sophomore with Miho Kowase.
   Here are the Stockton singles and doubles draws and Thursday's schedule. Live streaming of the tournament is available.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Cancer survivor gains main draw; Date, 46, falls

Victoria Duval, slugging a backhand in her final-round
qualifying win in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger, has
overcome three harrowing personal crises, plus a knee
operation. Photo by Paul Bauman
   STOCKTON, Calif. -- Kimiko Date peaked at No. 4 in the world on
Nov. 13, 1995. Seventeen days later, Victoria Duval came into the world.
   They continued their remarkable stories today in the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger.
   Duval has overcome three harrowing personal crises, plus a knee operation, in her 21 years. She overpowered fellow American Kristina N. Smith 6-2, 6-1 in the morning at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center in the final round of qualifying.
   Japan's Date (pronounced DAH-tay), still playing professionally at the preposterous age of 46, fell to seventh-seeded Usue (pronounced OO-sway) Maitane Arconada, an 18-year-old American, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 on a hot, gusty afternoon.
   Date led 3-1 in the second set when she began to tire, and then her surgically repaired left knee tightened up early in the third set. The hard-hitting Arconada, who reached No. 5 in the junior world rankings, swept the last 11 games of the match.
   Duval was born in Miami but lived in Haiti until she was 8. At age 7, she was held hostage in an armed robbery in her aunt's house in Port-au-Prince, along with several cousins before being freed unharmed. Duval has put the incident out of her mind.
   "I have made sure that was locked away in a box," she said in her high-pitched voice.  
   After the robbery, Duval's mother, Nadine, gave up her neonatal practice and moved Vicky and her two brothers to South Florida, leaving behind Vicky's father, Jean-Maurice, to continue his obstetrics and gynecology practice in Port-au-Prince.
   Vicky then moved with her mother to Atlanta to work with coach Brian de Villiers at the Racquet Club of the South. Vicky was training in Atlanta in January 2010 when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. Estimates of the death toll range from 100,000 to 360,000.
   Vicky's father was trapped under collapsing walls outside his home for 11 hours. His legs were broken, his left arm was crushed, he suffered seven fractured ribs and a punctured lung, and an infection spread throughout his body. A wealthy Atlanta family connected to the club where Vicky trained donated money to have him airlifted to a Fort Lauderdale hospital.
   "He's still paralyzed in his left arm," Duval said. "Everything else is fine."
   At age 17, Duval qualified for the 2013 U.S. Open and shocked 2011 champion Samantha Stosur in the first round.
   Shortly before reaching a career-high No. 87 in August 2014, Duval was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system (part of the immune system). She missed a year while undergoing chemotherapy and has been cancer-free since then.
   By comparison, her surgery for a torn meniscus in her left knee last summer was relatively minor. Still, she missed nine months.
   Reflecting on all her misfortune, Duval said she never asks, why me?
   "People go through worse things in life," she submitted. "I never (pity myself). I don't have that kind of personality, so anything I've been through, you just buckle down and do it."
   This is the fourth tournament of the 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Duval's comeback. She has reached two semifinals on the minor-league USTA Pro Circuit since returning to improve her ranking to No. 436.
   Duval is scheduled to face third-seeded Danielle Collins, the 2014 and 2016 NCAA champion from Virginia, on Wednesday not before 10:30 a.m.
   "I just feel privileged to be back on the court," Duval allowed.
Kimiko Date, 46, of Japan lost to seventh-seeded Usue Maitane Arconada,
an 18-year-old American, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the first round of the main draw
in Stockton. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Date, only 5-foot-4 (1.63 meters) and 117 pounds (53.1 kilograms), said in halting English that her knee "is not big problem" and she plans to play in next week's $60,000 Sacramento Challenger at the Gold River Racquet Club.
   Date frustrated Arconada with devastating flat groundstrokes and great gets before tiring and taking a medical timeout at 0-3 (two service breaks) in the third set.
   It was easy to see how Date reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in 1994, the French Open in 1995 and Wimbledon in 1996. However, she retired four days before her 26th birthday in September 1996, a victim of burnout, and returned a whopping 12 years later. At age 39 in 2010, Date became the oldest player to rank in the top 50 since Billie Jean King was No. 22 at age 40 in 1984.
   Date advanced to the semifinals of the inaugural Stockton Challenger in 2015 but missed last year's tournament because of two operations on her left knee. She still seeks her first main-draw victory in three tournaments since returning in early May.
   Stockton was Date's first tournament since she qualified for a $25,000 event in Changwon, South Korea, in mid-May and retired from her first-round match with a right shoulder injury.
   "Still I have problem with my shoulder," said Date, who could not have been more gracious with reporters after the match. "That's why I cannot hit hundred percent."
   The unranked Date said her motivation is "just to enjoy to play tennis. I love competition, I love traveling. Everybody asking me, 'Why you continue to play? Anytime you can stop.' I don't need to stop (laughs). One day when I feel it's time to stop, of course I will stop. But still I want to continue."
   Her goal?
  "Yeah, it's most difficult," Date conceded. "I don't need a ranking anymore. Also, it's difficult to be (top) hundred anymore. I just want to play hundred percent, (not) worry about my body, just focus on the ball and try hundred percent on the match. Then maybe I feel it's time to stop. But last two, three years, always I have some problem, so it's difficult." 
   Date, who divorced German race car driver Michael Krumm last September but said they remain good friends, laughed heartily when asked how long she'd like to play.
   "I don't know," she mused. "Slowly, (retirement) is coming."
   Notes -- Top-seeded Kristie Ahn, a 5-foot-5 (1.65-meter) former Stanford star, defeated lanky Sophie Chang of Havre de Grace, Md., 6-2, 7-5 in a ragged match. Ahn, ranked No. 117, faces a tough assignment in the second round against fellow American Irina Falconi, who is rebounding from toe surgery after climbing to a career-high No. 63 in May 2016. ...
   Wild card Anna Tatishvili, a 27-year-old U.S. citizen from the nation of Georgia, ousted eighth-seeded Jennifer Elie, 30, of New York 6-4, 7-6 (4). ...
   Fourth-seeded Sofia Kenin, a resident of Pembroke Pines, Fla., who won last year's Sacramento Challenger, topped Vera Lapko of Belarus 6-4, 7-5 in matchup of 18-year-olds. ...
   Northern Californians Michaela Gordon and Allie Will advanced to the main draw with 7-5, 6-1 victories. The Stanford-bound Gordon, a resident of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area who will turn 18 on July 26, defeated Ena Shibahara, who won last year's U.S. Open girls doubles title with UCLA teammate Jada Hart. Will, a former top-100 doubles player who teaches tennis in Fairfield (near San Francisco), beat former USC standout Brynn Boren. ...
   Here are the Stockton singles, doubles and qualifying draws and Wednesday's schedule.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Stockton Challenger schedule features top attractions

Kimiko Date, 46, will play seventh-seeded Usue Maitane
Arconada, 18, on Tuesday in the first round of the Stockton
(Calif.) Challenger. 2015 photo by Mal Taam
   Top-seeded Kristie Ahn, ageless wonder Kimiko Date and cancer survivor Victoria Duval are scheduled to play on Tuesday in the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger.
   Ahn, a 25-year-old former Stanford star ranked No. 117, will meet 20-year-old Sophie Chang of Havre de Grace, Md., not before 10 a.m. on the Stadium Court in the first round of the main draw at Pacific's Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center.
   In the following match on the Stadium Court, Date (pronounced DAH-tay), 46, of Japan will take on seventh-seeded Usue (pronounced OO-sway) Maitane Arconada, an 18-year-old resident of College Park, Md.
   Date returned to competition in May after undergoing two operations on her left knee and missing 15 months. She climbed to a career-high No. 4 in 1995, retired in 1996, returned 12 years later and reached the semifinals of the inaugural Stockton Challenger in 2015.
   Duval, 21, of Bradenton, Fla., will meet Southern Californian Kristina N. Smith at 9 a.m. on Court 2 in the final round of qualifying. Duval, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma shortly after reaching a career-high No. 87 in 2014, outlasted American Megan McCray 6-7 (8), 6-3, 6-4.
   Ahn's former teammate at Stanford, Nicole Gibbs, withdrew from the Stockton Challenger. She played World TeamTennis for the host Orange County Breakers on Monday night.
   Seeded first in Stockton last year, Gibbs lost to Arina Rodionova of Australia 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6) in the second round. The grueling match lasted 2 hours, 24 minutes in 98-degree (36.7 Celsius) heat.
  Also playing in the final round of qualifying on Tuesday at 9 a.m. will be Northern Californians Michaela Gordon, who will turn 18 on July 26, on the Stadium Court and Allie Will on Court 1.
   Here are the singles and doubles main draws, the qualifying draw and Tuesday's schedule.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cancer survivor Duval advances in Stockton qualies

   Victoria Duval, a former top-100 player who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014, routed UCLA's Alaina Miller of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area 6-2, 6-1 today in the first round of qualifying for the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center.
   Duval, seeded first with a world ranking of No. 440, won 78.3 percent of the points on her first serve (18 or 23) to Miller's 42.4 percent (14 of 33).
   Miller had no aces and eight double faults. On groundstrokes, she uses two hands on both sides.
   Duval, 21, is scheduled to meet fellow American Megan McCray on Monday at 9 a.m. McCray dispatched Magdalena Ekert of Poland 6-1, 6-2.
   Two seeds, both former USC standouts, lost in the opening round. No. 2 Giuliana Olmos of Fremont in the Bay Area fell to Ena Shibahara of UCLA 6-3, 6-2, and No. 6 Kaitlyn Christian bowed out against fellow American Kristina Smith, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3. Christian won the 2013 NCAA doubles title with Sabrina Santamaria.
   Third-seeded Tori Kinard of the United States beat Brienne Minor, the reigning NCAA singles champion from Michigan, 6-2, 7-5.
   Kinard will face Ingrid Neel of reigning NCAA titlist Florida. As a freshman, Neel won the clinching match in the Gators' 4-1 victory over Stanford in the NCAA final in May in Athens, Ga.
   Also advancing today were fifth-seeded Michaela Gordon, a 17-year-old Saratoga resident headed to Stanford; Cal's Olivia Hauger; former Florida star Allie Will of Fairfield; and wild cards Karina Vyrlan and Roos Nederstigt of Pacific.
   The main draw will begin Tuesday. Heading the field are former Stanford teammates Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn. Also entered are 46-year-old Japanese marvel Kimiko Date, who reached No. 4 in the world in 1995, and 15-year-old U.S. phenom Amanda Anisimova.
   Here are the qualifying draw and Monday's schedule.

Federer claims record eighth Wimbledon title

Roger Federer, playing at Indian Wells in March, broke a tie with Pete Sampras
and William Renshaw for the most men's singles titles at Wimbledon.
Photo by Mal Taam
   There is no king of England.
   Except Roger Federer.
   The Swiss star dominated ailing Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 today to win his record eighth Wimbledon singles title. Federer had been tied with Pete Sampras (1993-2000) and William Renshaw of Great Britain (1881-89).
   "It means the world to me to hold this trophy, particularly when I haven't dropped a set," Federer, who missed the last half of 2016 to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery, told the BBC. "It's magical. I can't believe it yet. It's too much, really. It's disbelief that I can achieve such heights.
   "I wasn't sure if I'd be in a final again after last year, especially some tough losses to Novak (Djokovic) in 2014 and 2015. But I kept believing, and if you believe, you can go a long way in your life. Here I am with an eighth title. It's fantastic."
   Cilic said afterward he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday, reported The Associated Press.
   The 1-hour, 41-minute final was the most one-sided in men's singles at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt whipped David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in 2002.
   Federer, who will turn 36 on Aug. 8, became the oldest Wimbledon men's champion since the Open Era began in 1968 and the second player in that period to win the title without dropping a set. Bjorn Borg accomplished the feat in 1976.
   Federer has won two Grand Slam singles crowns this year and a record 19 overall. Rafael Nadal is second with 15. Before triumphing in the Australian Open in January, Federer hadn't won a major title since Wimbledon in 2012.
   Federer improved to 7-1 against Cilic, who led two sets to none and held three match points before falling to Federer in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year.
   Cilic, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), was trying to earn his second Grand Slam singles championship and join Goran Ivanisevic (2001) as the only Croatians to win Wimbledon.
   Cilic overpowered Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 for the 2014 U.S. Open title. Cilic also outclassed Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Cancer survivor Duval to play in Stockton qualifying

   Former top-100 player Victoria Duval, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014, is scheduled to play Sunday morning in the first round of qualifying for the $60,000 University of the Pacific Stockton Challenger.
   Duval, seeded first with a world ranking of No. 440, will face UCLA's Alaina Miller of Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area at 9 a.m. at Pacific's Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center.
   Duval, 21, of Bradenton, Fla., missed one year after her diagnosis.
   Miller uses two hands on both sides.
   A temperature of 84 degrees (29 Celsius) is forecast for the beginning of the match, rising to a high of 105 (41 Celsius) at 4 p.m.
   Here are the qualifying draw and Sunday's schedule. The main draw will begin Tuesday.

Muguruza, entered at Stanford, wins Wimbledon

Garbine Muguruza, playing in the 2015 U.S. Open, beat
Venus Williams today for her second Grand Slam title.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nothing against Venus Williams, but organizers of the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford clearly were rooting for Garbine Muguruza in today's Wimbledon women's final.
   Muguruza is entered in the Bank of the West; Williams is not. The tournament is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 6 at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   Muguruza, a 23-year-old Spaniard, rolled to a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Williams, 37, for her second title in three Grand Slam finals. She won the French Open last year and lost at Wimbledon in 2015, facing Serena Williams each time.
   Muguruza, seeded 14th, saved two set points serving at 4-5 in the first set and swept the last nine games. Ranked No. 15, she will return to the top five on Monday. Muguruza climbed to a career-high No. 2 after winning the French Open last year. She is the only player to beat both Williams sisters in a Grand Slam final.
   Venus Williams, seeded 10th, was seeking her first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2008. The seven-time major singles champion was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, which saps energy and causes joint pain, in 2011.
   Williams, the oldest Wimbledon singles finalist since Martina Navratilova lost to Conchita Martinez of Spain in 1994 at the same age, lost in a major final for the second time this year. She fell in the Australian Open to Serena, who has not played since then because she is pregnant with her first child.
Garbine Muguruza talks to the media during the 2014
Bank of the West Classic at Stanford. Photo by
Paul Bauman
   Martinez, the only previous Spanish woman to win Wimbledon, coached Muguruza during the tournament. Muguruza's regular coach, Sam Sumyk,  stayed home in Los Angeles because his wife, former professional player Meilen Tu of the United States, is expecting their first child.
   Sumyk, a Frenchman, formerly guided Victoria Azarenka to the No. 1 ranking and two Australian Open singles titles.
   Venus Williams, knowing she has few chances left to win majors at her advanced age, likely felt more pressure than Muguruza. Williams also was coming off emotional victories over surprise French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and British hope Johanna Konta.
   Furthermore, Williams was involved in a two-car accident near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., last month in which a 79-year-old man later died. She broke down when asked about the crash in her initial post-match news conference at Wimbledon last week. The man's family has sued Williams for wrongful death.
   Both Williams and Muguruza have won Bank of the West titles. Williams captured the singles championship in 2000 and 2002 and was the runner-up in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009 and 2016. Muguruza took the doubles crown with countrywoman Carla Suarez Navarro and reached the singles quarterfinals in 2014, her only appearance at Stanford to date.
   Also entered in singles at Stanford this year are Azarenka, former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova and local favorite CiCi Bellis, 18.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Querrey falls to Cilic in Wimbledon semifinals

Marin Cilic, serving at Indian Wells last year, reached his
second Grand Slam final. He won the 2014 U.S. Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   The task was too tall for Sam Querrey.
   In more ways than one.
   Coming off three consecutive five-set victories, the 29-year-old San Francisco native faced a Grand Slam champion today in a semifinal matchup of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) players at Wimbledon.
   Marin Cilic, 28, triumphed 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 to reach his second major final. He overpowered Kei Nishikori of Japan for the 2014 U.S. Open title.
   Querrey, the first player to win three straight five-set matches at Wimbledon since Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 10 years ago, must settle for becoming the only active U.S. man to advance to a Grand Slam semifinal and earning $719,451. The champion will pocket $2,877,805.
   "Before I go for major titles, I need to take some baby steps,” Querrey, who now lives in Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area, told reporters. “I do feel I can. I feel that if I play well, my level is at a high enough point where I can beat those top guys.”
   Querrey beat Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year, Rafael Nadal in the Acapulco final in March and Andy Murray in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this year.
   Djokovic, who remains in a slump, had just won the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam, and personal problems may have contributed to his loss to Querrey. Murray hobbled with a sore hip after leading Querrey by a set and a break on Thursday.
   Cilic, the seventh seed and tallest Wimbledon finalist since the Open Era began in 1968, will face Roger Federer, seeded third, on Sunday at 6 a.m. PDT (ESPN). Federer, a father of four who will turn 36 on Aug. 8, beat Tomas Berdych, the Wimbledon runner-up in 2010, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4.
   Federer, the oldest finalist at the All England Club since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974, seeks his first Wimbledon singles title since 2012. He shares the record of seven with Pete Sampras (1993-2000) and William Renshaw of Great Britain (1881-89). Federer would be the oldest Wimbledon men's champion in the Open Era.
   The Cilic-Querrey match lasted "only" 2 hours, 56 minutes. Cilic outlasted Querrey 17-15 in the fifth set in 5 1/2 hours in the third round at Wimbledon in 2012. It's the second-longest match by time in Wimbledon history behind John Isner's 11-hour, 5-minute victory over Nicolas Mahut spanning three days in 2010.
   Cilic improved to 5-0 against Querrey (3-0 at Wimbledon) and became the first Croat to reach a Wimbledon singles final since Goran Ivanisevic edged Pat Rafter of Australia 9-7 in the fifth set in 2001.
   Cilic played brilliantly today. He had 25 aces and only one double fault, won 88 percent of the points on his first serve (69 of 78) and 67 percent on his second delivery (28 of 42), ripped 70 winners and committed 21 unforced errors. Cilic converted 4 of 14 break-point opportunities.
   Querrey, seeded 24th, finished with 13 aces and three double faults. He won 48 percent of the points on his second serve (26 of 54) and had only three break-point chances, capitalizing on two.
   Federer leads Cilic 6-1 in their head-to-head series, In their last meeting, Cilic led two sets to none and held three match points before falling in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year. Cilic dominated Federer 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Open.
   Cilic, one of the nicest guys on the tour, served a four-month doping suspension in 2013. He said he inadvertently ingested a stimulant in a glucose tablet bought at a pharmacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Venus avenges Stanford loss to Konta

Venus Williams, shown during the Bank of the West Classic
at Stanford last July, today reached her first Wimbledon final
since 2009. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Venus Williams today reached her first Wimbledon final since 2009 and avenged a loss to Johanna Konta in the Bank of the West Classic final at Stanford last July.
    Williams, 37, outslugged Konta
6-4, 6-2 to become the oldest Wimbledon singles finalist since Martina Navratilova lost to Conchita Martinez of Spain in 1994 at the same age.
   The sixth-seeded Konta, 26, was trying to become the first woman from Great Britain to win Wimbledon since Virginia Wade 40 years ago. Konta was born to Hungarian parents in Sydney, Australia, moved to Great Britain at 14 and became a British citizen in May 2012.
   Five of Williams' seven Grand Slam singles titles have come at Wimbledon. Her last major crown came at the All England Club in 2008. She was diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome, which saps energy and causes joint pain, in 2011.
   Williams was involved in a two-car accident near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., last month in which a 79-year-old man later died. She broke down when asked about the crash in her initial news conference at Wimbledon last week.
   Williams, seeded 10th, will face Garbine Muguruza, seeded 14th, for the title on Saturday at 6 a.m. PDT (ESPN). Muguruza, a 23-year-old Spaniard, dismissed unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia 6-1, 6-1.
   Muguruza will be playing in her third Grand Slam singles final. She lost to Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2015 and won the French Open last year.
    Venus Williams, 6-foot-1 (1.85 meters), is 3-1 against Muguruza, 6 feet (1.82 meters). This will be their first meeting on grass. Williams won the first three encounters on hardcourts, and Muguruza triumphed 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on clay in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open in May.
   Muguruza heads the field in this year's Bank of the West Classic, July 31-Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Also entered are former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, but Venus Williams and Konta are not.
   Serena Williams, who has won the last two Wimbledon titles and seven overall, is not playing in this year's tournament because she is pregnant.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Querrey ousts ailing Murray in Wimbledon quarters

Sam Querrey, playing in the 2014 Sacramento Challenger, today
reached his first Grand Slam semifinal. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Sam Querrey achieved the biggest victory of his career today, ousting top seed and defending champion Andy Murray 3-6, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1 at Wimbledon to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal in 42 appearances.
   Murray, who also won Wimbledon in 2013 to end Great Britain's 77-year title drought in men's singles at the All England Club, struggled with a nagging hip injury after leading Querrey by a set and a service break.
   Still, the 24th-seeded Querrey told reporters that his victory is "a really big deal. It's my first (major) semifinal. To beat Andy, to have it be at Wimbledon, was even a little more special. (It was) just an incredible match. I'm just so happy right now.
   "I was a little nervous at first when we got out there," added Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals. "I had a little bit of a shaky game, my first service game. But then when I broke back in the second set, (I) kind of took a deep breath and settled in a little bit. As the match kept going, I just felt more and more confident, more and more like I belonged (out there).
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey pounded 27 aces, and the 6-foot-3 (1.90-meter) Murray had eight. Both players committed two double faults.
   Querrey won 84 percent of the points on his first serve (62 of 74) to Murray's 73 percent (60 of 82). Querrey had 70 winners and 30 unforced errors vs. Murray's 33 and 19, respectively.
   Although Querrey graduated from Thousand Oaks High School in the Los Angeles area and lives in nearby Santa Monica, he has strong Northern California ties.
   Querrey was born in San Francisco and briefly lived in nearby Santa Rosa before moving to Las Vegas and then Thousand Oaks. In his professional debut just after graduating from high school in 2006, he won the $50,000 Yuba City Challenger.
   Querrey reached the semifinals in the now-defunct SAP Open in San Jose in 2010 and the final edition in 2013, and won the doubles title there in 2010 with Mardy Fish.
   Querrey also played part-time for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis in 2012 and 2013, and swept the three-week NorCal Challenger swing through Napa, Sacramento and Tiburon in 2014.
   Another San Francisco native, 18-year-old CiCi Bellis, lost today in the women's doubles quarterfinals, and Sacramento native Sam Riffice was eliminated in boys singles and doubles.
Andy Murray, playing at Indian Wells in 2015, struggled with a nagging hip
injury after leading Sam Querrey two sets to one today. Photo by Paul Bauman
   In Friday's men's singles semifinals, Querrey will face another 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) player, No. 7 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia, and No. 3 Roger Federer will meet No. 11 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic.
  Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion, ended the run of Gilles Muller, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-5, 5-7, 6-1. Muller, a 34-year-old left-hander from Luxembourg, had ousted Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.
   Federer, who won the last of his seven Wimbledon singles titles in 2012, eliminated No. 6 seed Milos Raonic, last year's runner-up.
   Berdych led Djokovic, a three-time Wimbledon champion, 7-6 (2), 2-0 when the 30-year-old Serb retired with a right shoulder injury.
   Querrey became the first player since Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia 10 years ago to win three consecutive five-set matches at Wimbledon. And he could make it four straight.
   Cilic, 28, is 4-0 against Querrey, 29, but each match (three on grass and one on a hardcourt) has been close. They have met twice at Wimbledon, and both encounters were marathons. Cilic prevailed 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-7 (3), 17-15 in 5 1/2 hours in the third round in 2012 and 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the second round in 2009.
   The 2012 clash between Cilic and Querrey is the second-longest by time in Wimbledon history, trailing John Isner's victory over Nicolas Mahut, 70-68 in the fifth set, in 2010. That epic lasted 11 hours, 5 minutes over three days.
   Bellis and 18-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova lost to No. 9 seeds Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Monica Niculescu of Romania 6-3, 6-4.
   Riffice fell to Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5) in the second round and teamed with Duarte Vale of Portugal in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Americans Vasil Kirkov and Danny Thomas in the first round.
   Both Bellis and Riffice are now based at the new USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Konta, Venus to meet in rematch of Stanford final

Johanna Konta, playing in last year's U.S. Open, became the first
British woman to reach the Wimbledon semifinals since Virginia
Wade in 1978. Photo by Paul Bauman
   The Wimbledon semifinal between Johanna Konta and Venus Williams on Thursday will have a familiar feel for Northern California fans.
   Konta defeated Williams in three sets in the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford last July for her first WTA tour title.
   The sixth-seeded Konta, from Great Britain, edged the second-seeded Simona Halep, from Romania, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-4 today to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon semis since Virginia Wade in 1978.
   Halep's loss ensures that Karolina Pliskova, a Czech who lost in the second round at Wimbledon, will replace Angelique Kerber at No. 1 when the new world rankings are released on Monday. Pliskova narrowly lost to Kerber in the 2015 Bank of the West final. Halep would have ascended to No. 1 with a victory.
   The 10th-seeded Williams eliminated 13th-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, a 20-year-old Latvian, 6-3, 7-5 in the previous match on Center Court.
   Williams, who has won five of her seven Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon, is the second-oldest woman to reach the semifinals there at 37 years, 29 days. Martina Navratilova was 37 years, 258 days old when she advanced to the 1994 final.
   Ostapenko shocked Halep to win the French Open last month for her first tour-level title.
   Williams was involved in a car accident near her home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., last month in which a 79-year-old man later died. She broke down while trying to discuss the tragedy during a post-match news conference last week.
Venus Williams, practicing at the BNP Paribas
Open in Indian Wells in March, is the second-
oldest woman to reach the Wimbledon semis.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Neither Konta nor Williams is scheduled to play in this year's Bank of the West Classic, July 31-Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   In the other Wimbledon semifinal, 14th-seeded Garbine Muguruza of Spain will face unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia.
   Muguruza, the 2015 Wimbledon runner-up to Serena Williams, dismissed seventh-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 6-3, 6-4.
   Rybarikova, who had never advanced to the second week of a Grand Slam tournament, outclassed 24th-seeded CoCo Vandeweghe, the runner-up to Serena Williams in the 2012 Bank of the West Classic, 6-3, 6-3.
   Rybarikova, 28, underwent wrist and knee surgery last year and fell to No. 453 earlier this year. She is now No. 87.
   Konta, 26, is 3-2 against Williams, 37. If the seventh-ranked Konta wins their first meeting on grass, she will become the fourth British woman to crack the top five.
   Konta was born to Hungarian parents in Sydney, Australia, moved to Great Britain at 14 and became a British citizen in May 2012.
   In boys singles at Wimbledon, Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France leads Northern California product Sam Riffice 7-6 (8), 3-2 in a second-round match that was suspended by rain.
   Riffice, 18, was born in Sacramento and lived in nearby Roseville until age 15, when he moved to Florida to train full-time with the USTA. Ranked ninth nationally in the 18s, Riffice has given a verbal commitment to the University of Florida for the fall of 2018.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Querrey (singles), Bellis (doubles) reach quarters

Sam Querrey, right, plays doubles with Gilles Muller of Luxembourg at Indian Wells
in March. Both players today reached the Wimbledon singles quarterfinals. Muller
ousted two-time champion Rafael Nadal, seeded fourth, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13
in 4 hours, 48 minutes. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Two San Francisco natives today reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals, one in singles and one in doubles.
   And another Northern California product scored an upset in the first round of boys singles.
   No. 24 seed Sam Querrey, 29, outlasted Kevin Anderson of South Africa 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-7 (11), 6-3 to advance to the Wimbledon quarters for the second consecutive year. Both players were trying to reach their second Grand Slam quarterfinal.
   Meanwhile, CiCi Bellis teamed with fellow 18-year-old Marketa Vondrousova, from the Czech Republic, to defeat Ukrainians Lyudmyla Kichenok and Lesia Tsurenko 6-4, 6-2.
   Also, Sam Riffice, who grew up in the Sacramento suburb of Roseville, topped fourth-seeded Yu Hsiou Hsu of Taiwan 6-4, 7-5.
   Querrey now lives in Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area. Bellis recently bought a house in Orlando, Fla., the home of the USTA National Campus.
   Anderson saved four match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker and one at 2-5 in the fifth set.
   Both Querrey, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), and Anderson, 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), hammered 31 aces in the 3-hour, 7-minute battle. Querrey committed only one double fault to Anderson's five. Querrey had 59 winners and only 18 unforced errors versus Anderson's 66 and 28.
   Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year, now must overcome a huge obstacle to reach his first Grand Slam semifinal. He is scheduled to face top seed and defending champion Andy Murray, a 7-6 (1), 6-4, 6-4 winner over volatile Frenchman Benoit Paire, on Wednesday.
   "This match was by far the best, the cleanest, I have hit the ball here," Murray, who advanced to the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the 10th consecutive year, crowed to reporters. "I has happy about that. Last couple of days, practice has been really good as well. I didn't feel great during my last match. I didn't feel like I played so well, not loads of rhythm in the first two matches. I definitely felt better today."
   Murray, a 30-year-old Scot, withdrew from two exhibitions before Wimbledon with a sore hip and hobbled between points against Paire.
   "I said at the beginning of the tournament, I'll be able to get through seven matches, if that's what I have to do," Murray said. "Obviously I want to try to get to the final. And, yeah, I've done a good job so far here."
   Murray is 7-1 against Querrey. They have met only once since 2014, with Murray winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 in the third round of this year's Australian Open. They also faced each other in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2010, with Murray triumphing 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
   "He makes a ton of balls," Querrey said. "He plays great defense. ... Hopefully I can make that extra ball or close out a little harder at the net, try not to let him dictate with his defense.
   "It's going to be tough. I've played him in the past, like in Australia, many times before that. He's playing at a high level. He's the defending champion, No. 1 in the world. He loves playing here. The crowd is going to be behind him. But sometimes it's fun to go out there and play where the crowd is behind the other player 100 percent. I'm going to try to play aggressive, hopefully play well, and sneak out a win."
   Bellis and Vondrousova, the girls runners-up in the 2014 French Open, are set to take on ninth-seeded Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Monica Niculescu of Romania on Wednesday. Chan and Niculescu held off Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil and Ana Konjuh of Croatia 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-4.
   Riffice is scheduled to face Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine of France on Tuesday. Bittoun Kouzmine defeated Anton Matusevich of Great Britain 6-3, 3-0, retired.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Querrey upsets Tsonga to reach Wimbledon last 16

   Sam Querrey needed only one game today to pull off a big upset in the third round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year.
   The 24th-seeded Querrey broke 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's serve to win 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5 in the completion of a match that had been suspended by darkness on Friday night.
   Querrey, a 29-year-old San Francisco native, avenged a marathon loss to Tsonga, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, three years ago at the All England Club and improved his career record against the 32-year-old Frenchman to 2-4. Tsonga won 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014.
   Querrey stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals. Djokovic was ranked No. 1 at the time and had won the past two Wimbledon titles.
   Another San Francisco native, 18-year-old CiCi Bellis, reached the round of 16 in women's doubles. But the Grand Slam drought of former Stanford stars Bob and Mike Bryan continued in men's doubles.
   Querrey now lives in Santa Monica in the Los Angeles area, and Bellis is based in Orlando, Fla.
   Querrey, ranked No. 28, will try to return to the quarterfinals when he meets Kevin Anderson, unseeded at No. 42, on Monday. The winner will play either top seed and defending champion Andy Murray or Benoit Paire of France.
   Anderson, a 31-year-old South African and former NCAA doubles champion at Illinois, eliminated qualifier Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-6 (3) on Friday. Bemelmans, a 29-year-old left-hander, won the $25,000 Burlingame (Calif.) Futures title last October.
   Querrey and Anderson have much in common and know each other well on the court. Both:
   --Are tall. Anderson is 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), and Querrey is 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters).
   --Are former top-20 players who have fought back from injuries. Their career highs are No. 10 (Anderson in 2015) and No. 17 (Querrey in 2011).
   --Have reached one Grand Slam quarterfinal. Anderson advanced to the quarters in the 2015 U.S. Open, ending Murray's streak of reaching at least the last eight in 18 straight Slams.
   --Played part-time for the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals of World TeamTennis, Querrey in 2012 and 2013 and Anderson in 2012.
   Querrey leads the head-to-head series 8-5, but Anderson has won four of the past six matches. Their last meeting came more than two years ago, a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory by Anderson in the second round at Miami in 2015.
   The players have met once on grass, a 7-5, 6-3 win by Querrey in the second round at Queen's Club in London in 2009. Their first meeting occurred 10 years ago in the opening round of the Sacramento Challenger as Querrey prevailed 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
   In women's doubles today, Bellis and Marketa Vondrousova, an 18-year-old Czech, defeated Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia 6-2, 6-4.
   Bellis and Vondrousova, the girls doubles runners-up in the 2014 French Open, will play Ukrainians Lyudmyla Kichenok and Lesia Tsurenko on Monday.
   Kichenok and Tsurenko received a walkover against top-seeded Bethanie Mattek-Sands of Phoenix and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic following Mattek-Sands' gruesome knee injury in singles.
   The fifth-seeded Bryan twins, 39, lost to Marcin Matkowski of Poland and Max Mirnyi, 40, of Belarus 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round. It was the Bryans' second consecutive loss in the second round of a Slam after their runner-up finish in the Australian Open. They won the last of their record 16 major men's doubles titles in the 2014 U.S. Open.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Querrey-Tsonga marathon suspended by darkness

   Sam Querrey and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are locked in another Wimbledon marathon.
   Querrey, a San Francisco native seeded 24th, led 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-5 today when the third-round match was suspended by darkness after 2 hours, 54 minutes.
   Tsonga, a Frenchman seeded 12th, will serve when the battle resumes on Saturday, not before 5 a.m. PDT, on Court 2 (ESPN). There are no tiebreakers in the fifth set at Wimbledon.
   As another indication of the closeness of the match, Querrey has 52 winners and 27 unforced errors to Tsonga's 51 and 27. Both players have five double faults, but the 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey has 22 aces to the 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Tsonga's 12. Querrey has won 88 percent of the points on his first serve (69 of 78) to Tsonga's 82 percent (77 of 94).
   Tsonga, 32, is 4-1 against Querrey, 29. But one of the victories went to 14-12 in the fifth set in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014. The encounter lasted 3 hours, 49 minutes.
   Tsonga reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2011 and 2012 and the quarterfinals there in 2010 and last year.
   Querrey shocked Novak Djokovic in the third round at the All England Club last year en route to the quarterfinals, his best Grand Slam result. Djokovic was ranked No. 1 at the time and had won the past two Wimbledon titles.
   The loss to Querrey marked the beginning of an ongoing tailspin for Djokovic, who has tumbled to No. 4.
   Querrey grew up in Santa Rosa (north of San Francisco), Las Vegas and Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles area. He now lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

S.F. native Querrey to meet Tsonga in showdown

   Sam Querrey will try to pull off an upset in the third round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year.
   Querrey, a 29-year-old San Francisco native seeded 24th, set up a showdown against 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia today at the All England Club outside of London.
   Tsonga, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, dismissed Simone Bolelli of Italy 6-1, 7-5, 6-2. The 32-year-old Tsonga is 4-1 against Querrey, including a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 victory in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014.
   Querrey, who now lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica, stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals for his best Grand Slam result. Djokovic was ranked No. 1 at the time and had won the past two Wimbledon titles.
   The loss to Querrey marked the beginning of an ongoing tailspin for Djokovic, now ranked fourth.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Querrey advances at Wimbledon; Bellis, Tursunov fall

Sam Querrey addresses the crowd after winning the
2014 Napa (Calif.) Challenger. Photo by Paul Bauman
   After Day 1 at Wimbledon, Northern California's singles hopes rest with Sam Querrey.
   And the 29-year-old San Francisco native's day of reckoning could come soon.
   Querrey, seeded 24th, defeated Thomas Fabbiano of Italy 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-2 on Monday at the All England Club.
   Another San Francisco native, 18-year-old CiCi Bellis, lost in her Wimbledon women's main draw debut to former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 on Court 1.
   And Dmitry Tursunov, a 34-year-old Russian who trains in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, fell to 28th-seeded Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-1, 6-3,
6-3.
   Querrey, who stunned Novak Djokovic in the third round at Wimbledon last year en route to the quarterfinals for his best Grand Slam result, is scheduled to play Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia for the first time on Wednesday.
   Basilashvili, ranked 54th to Querrey's 28th, beat Carlos Berlocq of Argentina 6-4, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
   The winner of the Querrey-Basilashvili match probably will face 12th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, in the third round on Friday. Tsonga is 4-1 against Querrey, including a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 victory in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014.
   Bellis, the youngest woman in the top 50 at No. 40, lost in the opening round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. She reached the second round of the 2014 U.S. Open at 15 years old, shocking 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, and the third round of the U.S. Open last summer and the French Open in May.
   Azarenka, 27, is playing in only her second tournament since the 2016 French Open. She withdrew from Wimbledon last year with a knee injury and delivered her first child on Dec. 20. Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals in 2011 and 2012.
   Tursunov, a former top-20 player who has battled injuries throughout his career, was playing in his first tournament since the Australian Open and second since Toronto last July.
   Querrey grew up in Santa Rosa (north of San Francisco), Las Vegas and Thousand Oaks in the Los Angeles area. He now lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Monica. Bellis, who was raised in Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, is based in Orlando, Fla.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Ex-Stanford stars, Date, 46, in Stockton Challenger

Kristie Ahn serves during last year's FSP Gold River
Women's Challenger in the Sacramento area.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   Nicole Gibbs and Kristie Ahn, both of whom led Stanford to the 2013 NCAA title, head the field for the $60,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger.
   Gibbs and Ahn are No. 117 and No. 118, respectively, in the new world rankings released today.
   Also entered in the Stockton Challenger, July 17-23 at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center on the University of the Pacific campus, is ageless wonder Kimiko Date of Japan.
   Date, 46, returned to competition in May after undergoing two operations on her left knee and missing 15 months. She climbed to a career-high No. 4 in 1995, retired in 1996, returned 12 years later and reached the semifinals of the inaugural Stockton Challenger in 2015.
   The $60,000 FSP Gold River Women's Challenger in the Sacramento suburb of Gold River is scheduled for July 24-30. The acceptance list has not been released, but it will be similar to Stockton's.
   Eighteen-year-old American Sofia Kenin, last year's Gold River champion, is entered in Stockton.
STOCKTON CHALLENGER
Acceptance list (with world rankings as of June 26)
1. Kristie Ahn, United States, 116
2. Nicole Gibbs, United States, 124
3. Jamie Loeb, United States, 145
4. Danielle Rose Collins, United States, 164
5. Sofia Kenin, United States, 165
6. Lizette Cabrera, Australia, 167
7. Kimiko Date, Japan, 193 (protected)
8. Grace Min, United States, 197
9. Usue Maitane Arconada, United States, 220
10. Jennifer Elie, United States, 226
11. Shilin Xu, China, 234 (protected)
12. Vera Lapko, Belarus, 239
13. Caroline Dolehide, United States, 245
14. Irina Falconi, United States, 246
15. An-Sophie Mestach, Belgium, 251
16. Amanda Anisimova, United States, 254
17. Tessah Andrianjafitrimo, France, 259
18. Katherine Sebov, Canada, 281
19. Ajla Tomljanovic, Croatia, 293
20. Francesca Di Lorenzo, United States, 330
21. Tammi Patterson, Australia, 332
22. Chanel Simmonds, South Africa, 340
23. Robin Anderson, United States, 362
24. Hanna Chang, United States, 412

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Sharapova, Azarenka head Bank of the West field

Maria Sharapova
Victoria Azarenka
   Former world
No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka headline the Bank of the West Classic, July 31-
Aug. 6 at Stanford's Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
   Also featured are Garbine Muguruza, last year's French Open champion, and local favorite CiCi Bellis, 18. For more information, go to bankofthewestclassic.com.
BANK OF THE WEST CLASSIC
Acceptance list (as of June 19; with world rankings)
Garbine Muguruza, Spain, 14
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Russia, 17
Madison Keys, United States, 18
Ana Konjuh, Croatia, 28
Coco Vandeweghe, United States, 30
Lesia Tsurenko, Ukraine, 34
Timea Babos, Hungary, 38
Alize Cornet, France, 39
Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic, 40
CiCi Bellis, United States, 42
Alison Riske, United States, 45
Kristyna Pliskova, Czech Republic, 46
Misaki Doi, Japan, 52
Qiang Wang, China, 55
Lara Arruabarrena, Spain, 60
Naomi Osaka, Japan, 61
Natalia Vikhlyantseva, Russia, 65
Varvara Lepchenko, United States, 67
Francesca Schiavone, Italy, 73
Magda Linette, Poland, 75
Maria Sharapova (wild card), Russia, 179
Victoria Azarenka (wild card), Belarus, no ranking

Friday, June 30, 2017

Bellis to make Wimbledon debut vs. Azarenka

CiCi Bellis, shown last year, wanted to go to Wimbledon
"from Day 1," her childhood coach told The New York
Times in March. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area, is scheduled to play in the women's main draw at Wimbledon for the first time on Monday or Tuesday against former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.
   It will be Bellis' first match against Azarenka, who will be playing in her second tournament since giving birth to her first child in December, and first at Wimbledon since losing in the opening round of the juniors three years ago.
   "From Day 1, she wanted to go to Wimbledon, and I mean Day 1," Bellis' childhood coach, Monique Javer, told The New York Times in March.
   It didn't hurt that Javer's favorite tournament during her 16-year pro career (1985-2000) was Wimbledon. Although Javer was born in Burlingame, near Atherton, she represented Great Britain because her mother is British. Javer rose to No. 1 in the nation and peaked at No. 56 in the world in 1992.
   The draw for Wimbledon, Monday through July 16, was held today. No. 24 seed Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native like Bellis, will play Thomas Fabbiano of Italy. Dmitry Tursunov, a 34-year-old Russian who trains in the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, will meet No. 28 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy.
   Bellis, the youngest woman in the top 50 at No. 40, reached the Mallorca semifinals last week in her first tournament on grass since the 2014 Wimbledon juniors.
   The 27-year-old Azarenka last week played in her first tournament since the 2016 French Open, losing in the second round at Mallorca to No. 7 seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia. Azarenka withdrew from Wimbledon last year with a knee injury and announced her pregnancy on July 15. She won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 and reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2011 and 2012.
   The winner of the match between the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis and the 6-foot (1.83-meter) Azarenka likely will face No. 15 seed Elena Vesnina, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year, in the second round.
   Querrey, meanwhile, faces the pressure of trying to repeat his appearance in last year's Wimbledon quarterfinals, his best Grand Slam result. He stunned Novak Djokovic, ranked No. 1 and the two-time defending champion, in the third round.
   Querrey, 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), and Fabbiano, only 5-foot-8 (1.73 meters) and 152 pounds (69 kilograms), will meet for the first time. Fabbiano, ranked 95th, has won three Challenger titles this year and advance to two other finals, including Nottingham on grass two weeks ago..
   Querrey could face No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, in the third round. Tsonga is 4-1 against Querrey, including a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 14-12 victory in the second round at Wimbledon in 2014.
   Tursunov is 1-0 against Fognini, but that match occurred eight years ago. Tursunov won 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the first round on grass at Eastbourne en route to the sixth of his seven career singles titles.
   But the injury-plagued Tursunov will be playing his first match since the Australian Open in January and only his second since Toronto last July. Ranked No. 701 after climbing a career-high No. 20 in 2006, he hasn't won a match at the tour level since Acapulco in February last year.
   Tursunov reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2005 and 2006 for his best Grand Slam singles results, but he's 0-4 at the All England Club since 2011.
   The 30-year-old Fognini's best results at Wimbledon are third-round appearances in 2010 and 2014.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

German routs Bellis, 18, in Mallorca semifinals

Doubles partners Julia Goerges, left, and Karolina
Pliskova are interviewed at Indian Wells last year.
They reached the final, losing to Bethanie Mattek-
Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe 4-6, 6-4 [10-6]..
Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis' breakthrough week on grass ended abruptly today.
   Bellis, an 18-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, lost to resurgent Julia Goerges of Germany 6-1, 6-1 in 59 minutes in a semifinal matchup of unseeded players in the Mallorca Open. It was Bellis' first tournament on grass since she lost in the first round of Wimbledon juniors three years ago.
   Goerges, 10 years older and four inches (10.2 centimeters) taller than the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis, slugged 27 winners against just 12 errors. She pounded six aces versus two double faults and converted 6 of 7 break points.
   "I needed a little bit of time to figure out the way she's playing; I've watched her quite a few times but I haven't played her before," Goerges, who has plunged from a career-high No. 15 in 2012 to No. 54, said on wtatennis.com. "Obviously, she's very young and she's going to have a bright future. When you just play to her, she likes to hit the ball and redirect the ball very well, so I tried to mix it a little bit, to get the drop shots, and the slice and some volleys in and not only serving bombs. I tried to use this as my weapon today."
   Bellis won only 8 of 21 points (38 percent) on her first serve and just 4 of 17 points (24 percent) on her second delivery.
   Goerges, who routed top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the second round, has lost only 14 games in her four matches without dropping a set. She will face No. 2 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia in the final. Sevastova defeated No. 3 Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-2 to avenge a loss to the Frenchwoman in last year's final.
   Bellis, the youngest player in the top 50, will rise from No. 42 to a career high of about No. 38 on Monday. A ranking of No. 32 or better would guarantee her a seeding in the U.S. Open in August. Bellis turned pro last September after reaching the third round at Flushing Meadows as a qualifier.
   Bellis won't have to wait long for a chance at revenge against Goerges. They are scheduled to meet in the first round at Eastbourne next week. The winner will play No. 8 seed and 2008 champion Agnieszka Radwanska, who has a first-round bye. Bellis stunned Radwanska in the third round at Dubai on hardcourts in February for her only victory over a top-10 player.
   Wimbledon begins a week from Monday.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Evans, '16 Aptos champ, tests positive for cocaine

Daniel Evans practices during the U.S. Open last
August. Photo by Paul Bauman
   England's Daniel Evans, who won the $100,000 Aptos (Calif.) Challenger last August and reached the 2013 final there, faces a suspension after admitting he tested positive for cocaine in April.
   Evans, ranked 50th, held a news conference in London today but took no questions.
   “It’s really important you know this was taken out of competition and the context was completely unrelated to tennis,” said Evans, 27. “I made a mistake, and I must face up to it. I can only deeply apologize from the bottom of my heart.”
   Evans, only 5-foot-9 (1.75 meters) and 165 pounds (75 kilograms), reached a career-high No. 41 in March. He failed a doping test on April 24 at the Barcelona Open.    
   “Mr. Evans will be provisionally suspended with effect from 26 June … pending determination of the case,” the International Tennis Federation said in a statement.
   Evans withdrew from next week's grass-court tournament in Eastbourne with a calf injury and is doubtful for Wimbledon, which begins a week from Monday.
   Three weeks after beating countryman Cameron Norrie in last year's Aptos final, Evans almost pulled off a huge upset in the U.S. Open. He held a match point in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (6),  7-6 (8), 6-2 loss to No. 3 seed and eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in the third round.
    Evans lost to Stanford alumnus Bradley Klahn in the 2013 Aptos final after holding a championship point.

Bellis, 18, advances to first WTA Tour semifinal

CiCi Bellis poses with her coach, Anibal Aranda, last December
in Burlingame in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis reached her first WTA Tour semifinal today in her first grass-court tournament as a pro.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area breezed past Kristyna Pliskova, a 6-foot (1.84-meter) left-hander from the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-2 in 62 minutes in the Mallorca Open.
   "It's definitely one of the biggest achievements so far in my career," the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis gushed on wtatennis.com of advancing to the semis. "Grass suits my game. I would say my movement was a big strength (today). I got to a lot of balls, and my defense was really good."
   Bellis, who's closing in on a seeding for the U.S. Open in August (if not Wimbledon beginning a week from Monday), ripped 26 winners and committed only six unforced errors. She won 24 of 27 points (89 percent) on her first serve and saved three of four break points against her.
   Pliskova, the 25-year-old twin of third-ranked Karolina Pliskova, had 21 winners and 17 unforced errors. She won only 22 percent of the points on her second serve.
   Both players cracked the top 50 for the first time in May. Bellis, the youngest player in that group, is ranked No. 42, and Pliskova is No. 46.
   Pliskova was playing in her fifth quarterfinal of the year on a fourth surface. She pounded a record 31 aces in a second-round loss to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in last year's Australian Open. Puig won the singles gold medal in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.
   Bellis will face unseeded German Julia Goerges, ranked No. 54 after climbing to a career-high No. 15 in 2012, for the first time. Goerges, who's 10 years older and four inches (10.2 centimeters) taller than Bellis, defeated wild card and countrywoman Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 6-4.
   Lisicki, the Wimbledon runner-up to Marion Baroli in 2013, set the record for fastest women's serve at 131 mph (210.8 kph) in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford.
   Goerges, who routed top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 6-2, 6-1 in the second round, has lost only 14 games in her four matches in Mallorca without dropping a set.
   In Saturday's other semifinal, No. 2 seed Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia will meet either No. 3 Caroline Garcia, the defending champion from France, or No. 6 Roberta Vinci of Italy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bellis, 18, reaches Mallorca quarterfinals

CiCi Bellis, playing in the $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last July,
defeated Mona Barthel of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 today in the second round
of the Mallorca Open. Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis, an 18-year-old San Francisco native who grew up in nearby Atherton, defeated Mona Barthel of Germany 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 today on grass to reach the quarterfinals of the Mallorca Open.
   It was the first meeting between the 5-foot-7 (1.68-meter) Bellis, the youngest player in the top 50 at No. 42, and the 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Barthel, ranked No. 49.
   Bellis, who's closing in on a seeding for the U.S. Open in August (if not Wimbledon in two weeks), is scheduled to play 46th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova, a 6-foot (1.84-meter) Czech left-hander, for the first time on Friday.
   Pliskova, the 25-year-old twin of third-ranked Karolina Pliskova, defeated Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion who will turn 37 on Friday, 6-3, 7-6 (7).
   Pliskova pounded a record 31 aces in a second-round loss to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico in last year's Australian Open. Puig won the singles gold medal in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August.
   Both Bellis and Pliskova played in the $50,000 Stockton (Calif.) Challenger last July. The unseeded Bellis reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Pliskova, seeded second, lost listlessly to South Africa's Chanel Simmonds, a qualifier ranked No. 430 at the time, 7-5, 6-3 in the first round.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bellis, 18, surprises Suarez Navarro in Mallorca

CiCi Bellis, playing in the Stockton (Calif.) Challenger
last July, beat fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro
6-3, 7-5 in the first round of the Mallorca Open.
Photo by Paul Bauman
   CiCi Bellis pulled off another upset on yet another surface today.
   The 18-year-old product of Atherton in the San Francisco Bay Area ousted fourth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro, playing in her home country of Spain, 6-3, 7-5 on grass in the first round of the Mallorca Open. It was their first career meeting.
   Suarez Navarro, who has fallen from a career-high No. 6 early last year to No. 26, is the sixth top-30 player Bellis has beaten this year. Bellis knocked off two on hardcourts and three on clay, helping her rise to No. 42 in the world rankings.
   Suarez Navarro, 28, also is the fourth Grand Slam quarterfinalist or better Bellis has defeated this year and seventh overall. Suarez Navarro has reached the quarterfinals twice in the Australian Open, twice in the French Open and once at the U.S. Open. Although clay is her best surface, she has advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon twice, including last year.
   Suarez Navarro is tied for the fifth-highest-ranked player Bellis has beaten in her career. Heading the list are No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska in the third round at Dubai in February, No. 13 Dominika Cibulkova in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open and No. 18 Kiki Bertens in the second round of the French Open on May 31.
   Bellis, who's closing in on a seeding for the U.S. Open in August (if not Wimbledon in two weeks), is scheduled to play 49th-ranked Mona Barthel of Germany for the first time on Wednesday.
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Barthel, who climbed to a career-high No. 23 in 2013, defeated qualifier Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 7-6 (6), 6-4.