Friday, May 25, 2018

Last NorCal players eliminated from NCAA tourney

   Northern California players are done in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships.
   Emily Arbuthnott, a Stanford sophomore from England, and Cameron Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, lost today in the singles round of 16 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   No. 9-16 seed Astra Sharma, a Vanderbilt senior from Australia, defeated Arbuthnott 6-2, 6-4. Stanford edged Vanderbilt 4-3 on Tuesday for its second NCAA team title in three years. Sharma beat Arbuthnott in doubles; they did not meet in singles.
   No. 2 seed William Blumberg of North Carolina beat Klinger 6-4, 6-1. Blumberg reached last year's final as a freshman, losing to senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski of Virginia.
   By reaching the round of 16, Arbuthnott and Klinger earned All-America status.
   Sharma will meet Mayar Sherif, a Pepperdine senior who transferred from Fresno State two years ago, on Friday. The other women's quarterfinal matchups are No. 6 seed Arianne Hartono of Mississippi against Luisa Stefani of Pepperdine, No. 9-16 Ashley Lahey of Pepperdine versus No. 9-16 Andrea Lazaro of Florida International and No. 8 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt against No. 9-16 Anna Danilina of Florida.
   Blumberg will face No. 7 Borna Gojo of host and NCAA champion Wake Forest. The other men's quarterfinal matchups are No. 1 Martin Redlicki of UCLA against No. 9-16 Mazen Osama of Alabama, No. 4 Petros Chrysochos of Wake Forest versus No. 6 Mikael Torpegaard of Ohio State and No. 3 Nuno Borges of Mississippi State against No. 9-16 Timo Stodder of Tennessee.
   Only two women, Contreras and Lahey, and two men, Redlicki and Blumberg, in the quarterfinals are American.

Querrey to face fellow American Tiafoe in French Open

   No. 12 seed Sam Querrey will play fellow American and rising star Frances Tiafoe in the first round of the French Open.
   The draw for the year's second Grand Slam tournament was held on Thursday in Paris. The main draw begins Sunday at 2 a.m. PDT (Tennis Channel).
   Querrey, a 30-year-old San Francisco native, is 1-0 against Tiafoe, 20. Querrey won 6-3, 7-6 (7) in the second round at Shanghai last October.
   The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Querrey is 4-11 in the French Open with three consecutive first-round losses. His best result was a third-round appearance in 2013. Tiafoe is 0-2 at Roland Garros.
   Querrey is ranked 13th and Tiafoe 61st.
   On the women's side, 10th-seeded Sloane Stephens will play a qualifier to be determined.
   Stephens, a 25-year-old Fresno product, missed last year's French Open while recovering from foot surgery. In her fifth tournament back, she won the U.S. Open for her first Grand Slam title.
   Stephens reached the fourth round at Roland Garros for four consecutive years (2012-15), her best showings there.
   Querrey and the 10th-ranked Stephens are situated in the bottom quarter of their respective draws. Also in those quarters are No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev and No. 7 Dominic Thiem among the men, and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 8 Petra Kvitova among the women.
   Another San Francisco native, 19-year-old CiCi Bellis, remains out with a right elbow injury. She has not played since losing to Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-0 in the first round at Miami in late March.
   Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, seeded eighth in French Open qualifying, lost to Veronika Kudermetova of Russia 6-0, 5-7, 6-1 in the second round.

Klinger, Arbuthnott reach NCAA singles round of 16

   Only Cameron Klinger and Emily Arbuthnott survived a brutal day for Northern California players on Thursday in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, and Arbuthnott, a Stanford sophomore from England, reached today's singles round of 16.
   Klinger dismissed Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech 6-3, 6-2, and Arbuthnott held off Josie Kuhlman of Florida 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 two days after helping the Cardinal win the NCAA title. Kuhlman reached the 2015 semifinals as a freshman.
   Klinger, who upset 9-16 seed Alex Knight of Michigan 6-4, 6-0 in the first round, is scheduled to face second-seeded William Blumberg, a North Carolina sophomore who advanced to last year's final. Arbuthnott will take on Astra Sharma, a 9-16 seed from NCAA runner-up Vanderbilt. Both matches are scheduled for 7 a.m. PDT and will be streamed live.
   Sharma, a redshirt senior from Australia, has lost only two games in two matches.
   No. 9-16 seed Michaela Gordon, a Stanford freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost to Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (5) in the second round.
   Billy Griffith, a Cal senior from Fresno, bowed out to Jose Salazar of Arkansas 6-1, 7-5 after ousting eighth-seeded Ryotaro Matsumura of Kentucky in the first round on Wednesday.
   Arbuthnott and Gordon, seeded third in doubles, fell to Chandler Carter and Emma Davis of Wake Forest 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round.
   Other results of matches involving NorCal players:
   Alfredo Perez (9-16), Florida, def. Victor Pham (Saratoga), Columbia, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.
   Fernanda Contreras (8), Vanderbilt, def. Felicity Maltby (Sunnyvale), Texas Tech, 6-1, 6-1 in the second round.
   Johannes Ingildsen and Perez (4), Florida, def. Tom Fawcett and Axel Geller, Stanford, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 10-4 in the first round.
   Blumberg and Robert Kelly (2), North Carolina, def. Griffith and J.T. Nishimura (San Jose), Cal, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round.
   Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith, UCLA, def. Klinger and Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round.
   Alexa Bortles and Arianne Hartono (5-8), Mississippi, def. Georgia Lawson and Emma Wilson, Fresno State, 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the first round. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cal's Griffith stuns No. 8 seed in NCAA singles

   Billy Griffith, a Cal senior from Fresno, ousted No. 8 seed Ryotaro Matsumura of Kentucky 6-4, 6-3 today in the first round of the NCAA Men's Singles Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Griffith, ranked No. 54, is scheduled to play No. 18 Jose Salazar of Arkansas on Thursday at 6 a.m. PDT. All matches are being streamed live.
   Cameron Klinger, a Vanderbilt junior from San Jose, knocked off No. 9-16 seed Alex Knight of Michigan 6-4, 6-0. Klinger, ranked No. 26, will take on No. 29 Mitch Harper of Virginia Tech at 5 a.m.
  Victor Pham of Columbia and Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area topped Jordi Arconada of Texas A&M 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3. Pham, a junior, will meet 9-16 seed Alfredo Perez of Florida at 8:30 a.m.
   No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior and 2017 semifinalist, lost to Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
   Top-seeded Martin Redlicki of UCLA beat Tim Sandkaulen of Mississippi 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
   On the women's side, Stanford's Michaela Gordon and Emily Arbuthnott advanced one day after the Cardinal won its second NCAA crown in three years.
   Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga seeded 9-16, dismissed Fatima Bizhukova of Wichita State 6-2, 6-3. Arbuthnott beat Ingrid Gamarra Martins of South Carolina 6-3, 7-5. Gamarra Martins replaced fourth-seeded Samantha Harris of Duke after Harris withdrew.
   Gordon, ranked 15th, is scheduled to face No. 21 Gabriela Talaba of Texas Tech on Thursday. The 43rd-ranked Arbuthnott will play No. 52 Josie Kuhlman of Florida. Both matches are scheduled for 8 a.m.
   Melissa Lord, who won the deciding match in Stanford's 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt in the NCAA final, lost to No. 9-16 seed Andrea Lazaro of Florida International 6-4, 6-1.
   Alternate Felicity Maltby of Texas Tech and Sunnyvale in the Bay Area routed Maria Kononova of North Texas 6-1, 6-1. Maltby, a junior ranked No. 58, will face Vanderbilt's Fernanda Contreras, ranked and seeded 10th, at 7:30 a.m.
   Top-seeded Bianca Turati of Texas fell to Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani, a semifinalist two years ago as a freshman, 7-6 (6), 4-6, 6-3.
   All three Cal women in NCAA singles -- junior Olivia Hauger and freshmen Anna Bright and Julia Rosenqvist -- lost in the opening round.
   In the first round of doubles on Thursday:
   --Griffith and J.T. Nishimura, a senior from San Jose, will take on second-seeded William Blumberg and Robert Kelly of North Carolina at 11:30 a.m.
   --Klinger and Billy Rowe will face Austin Rapp and Keegan Smith of UCLA at 12:30 p.m.
   --Arbuthnott and Gordon will meet Chandler Carter and Emma Davis of host Wake Forest at 1:30 p.m.
   --And Fawcett and Axel Geller will play fourth-seeded Johannes Ingildsen and Perez at 2 p.m.

Ex-Stanford teammates fall in French Open qualifying

   Former Stanford teammates Carol Zhao and Kristie Ahn each lost 6-3 in the third set today in the first round of French Open qualifying in Paris.
   Zhao, a 22-year-old Canadian, fell to 37-year-old Italian Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 champion at Roland Garros, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. The match had been suspended by rain at one set apiece on Tuesday.
   Ahn, 25, from Upper Saddle River, N.J., bowed out to Bibiane Schoofs of the Netherlands 7-6 (2), 2-6, 6-3.
   U.S. women went 6-4 in the first round of French Open qualifying, including Caroline Dolehide's victory over fellow American Irina Falconi. U.S. men, meanwhile, went 2-9.
   Nicole Gibbs, who won two NCAA titles in singles (2012 and 2013) and one in doubles (2012) before leaving Stanford one year early, is scheduled to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia for the first time on Thursday in the second round of qualifying.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Good Lord! Stanford women win another NCAA title

   Naturally, it came down to Melissa Lord.
   And naturally, she came through.
   That's how it works for the Stanford women.
   Lord, a junior All-American from Bloomfield, Conn., lifted the 15th-seeded Cardinal to a 4-3 victory over top-seeded Vanderbilt today in the final of the NCAA Championships in Winston-Salem, N.C.
   Stanford won its second NCAA championship in three years and record 19th overall. Florida ranks second with seven.
   Lord, ranked 40th after missing the first half of the spring season with a shoulder injury, outlasted No. 10 Fernanda Contreras of Vanderbilt 6-4, 2-6, 7-5 on Court 2 in Stanford's third consecutive NCAA final. The Cardinal lost to Florida 4-1 last year in Athens, Ga.
   It was the first clincher of the season for Lord, who improved to 15-0 over her career in NCAA team matches.
   Without Lord, Stanford fell to Vanderbilt 7-0 on Feb. 3 in Nashville, Tenn. In the first week of March, the Cardinal was ranked 46th, its lowest position ever, at 4-3 with losses to the Commodores, Texas and Florida.
   Stanford, however, finished the year with 20 straight victories and matched its 2016 record as the lowest-seeded team to win the NCAA championship. The Cardinal also won the title in 2013 as the 12th seed and in 2010 as the eighth seed.
   Having ousted, in succession, No. 2 North Carolina, No. 7 Georgia, No. 3 Duke and Vanderbilt in this year's tournament, Stanford has won 20 of its last 23 NCAA Tournament matches when seeded lower than its opponent.
   With its 117th NCAA title in all men's and women's sports, Stanford moved one spot ahead of UCLA for the all-time lead.
    Stanford lost the doubles point against Vanderbilt, as it did against North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and Duke in the Final Four. The Cardinal has won 15 of its last 20 matches, spanning three years, when dropping the doubles point.
   Michaela Gordon, a freshman from Saratoga in the San Francisco Bay Area, lost at No. 1 doubles and No. 1 singles against Vanderbilt.
   No. 11 Contreras and Astra Sharma defeated No. 3 Emily Arbuthnott and Gordon 6-3, and No. 11 Sharma beat No. 15 Gordon 7-6 (3), 6-3.
   In the men's final, top seed and host Wake Forest beat third-seeded Ohio State 4-2 for its first NCAA title. The Demon Deacons became the first team other than USC or Virginia to win the men's crown since Georgia in 2008.
   The NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships begin Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, in Winston-Salem. The matches will be streamed live.
   No. 9-16 seed Tom Fawcett, a Stanford senior and 2017 semifinalist, is scheduled to play Giovanni Oradini of Mississippi State at 8 a.m. PDT.
   Here's the schedule of other matches featuring Northern California competitors in the 64-player singles draws and 32-team doubles draws:
Men's singles (Wednesday)
   Cameron Klinger (San Jose), Vanderbilt, vs. Alex Knight (9-16), Michigan, 6 a.m.
   Billy Griffith (Fresno), Cal, vs. Ryotaro Matsumura (8), Kentucky, 8 a.m.
   Victor Pham (Saratoga), Columbia, vs. Jordi Arconada, Texas A&M, 11:30 a.m.
Men's doubles (Thursday)
   Fawcett-Axel Geller, Stanford, vs. Johannes Ingildsen-Alfredo Perez (4), Florida.
   Klinger (San Jose)-Billy Rowe, Vanderbilt vs. Austin Rapp-Keegan Smith, UCLA.
   Griffith (Fresno)-J.T. Nishimura (San Jose), Cal, vs. William Blumberg-Robert Kelly (2), North Carolina.
Women's singles (Wednesday)
   Olivia Hauger, Cal, vs. Anna Danilina (9-16), Florida, 5 a.m.
   Julia Rosenqvist, Cal, vs. Megan McCray, Oklahoma State, 10 a.m.
   Felicity Maltby (Sunnyvale), Texas Tech, vs. Maria Kononova, North Texas, 10:30 a.m.
   Anna Bright, Cal, vs. Julia O'Loughlin, Denver, 11 a.m.
   Melissa Lord, Stanford, vs. Andrea Lazaro (9-16), Florida International, 12:30 p.m.
   Michaela Gordon (9-16, Saratoga), Stanford, vs. Fatima Bizhukova, Wichita State, 1 p.m.
   Emily Arbuthnott, Stanford, vs. Samantha Harris (4), Duke, 1 p.m.
 Women's doubles (Thursday)
   Arbuthnott-Gordon (3), Stanford, vs. Chandler Carter-Emma Davis, Wake Forest.

1) No. 11 Contreras/Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 3 Arbuthnott/Gordon (STAN) 6-3
2) No. 69 Kurtz/Smith (VANDY) d. No. 84 Lampl/Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-4
3) Lord/Shin (STAN) d. Meyer/Rosca (VANDY) 6-4
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
1) No. 11 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. No. 15 Michaela Gordon (STAN) 7-6 (3), 6-3
2) No. 40 Melissa Lord (STAN) d. No. 10 Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-4, 2-6, 7-5
3) No. 93 Caroline Lampl (STAN) d. No. 44 Chris Rosca (VANDY) 6-4, 6-2
4) Amanda Meyer (VANDY) d. No. 43 Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
5) No. 96 Janice Shin (STAN) d. Emma Kurtz (VANDY) 6-3, 6-3
6) No. 102 Emma Higuchi (STAN) d. Summer Dvorak (VANDY) 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 3, 1, 5, 4, 2

Gibbs, who battles depression, wins in French qualies

Nicole Gibbs, playing in the Indian Wells Challenger in late February, defeated
Han Xinyun 6-1, 6-4 today in the first round of French Open qualifying. Photo
courtesy of JFS Communications
   Ex-Stanford star Nicole Gibbs, who revealed in January that she struggles with clinical depression, defeated Han Xinyun of China 6-1, 6-4 today in the first round of French Open qualifying in Paris.
   Han, a 27-year-old left-hander, had only three winners and 25 errors.
   Gibbs, seeded eighth, is scheduled to play Veronika Kudermetova of Russia on Thursday. Ranked as high as No. 68 in 2016, the 5-foot-6 (1.67-meter) Gibbs has dropped to No. 114.
   "When you're not inside the top 50, tennis is a constant identity crisis," Gibbs, who turned 25 in March, told the Telegraph of Great Britain in January. "You ask yourself questions all the time. What can I be doing to do better? Am I doing everything I can? How do I get to that next level where I really want to be? There were times when the up-and-down elements of tennis made things almost unbearable for me."
   Gibbs, who won two NCAA titles in singles (2012 and 2013) and one in doubles (2012) before turning pro one year early, seeks her third main-draw berth at Roland Garros. She lost in the opening round to Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania in 2015 and to Heather Watson of Great Britain in 2016.
   Canada's Carol Zhao, the 2015 NCAA runner-up, was tied with 37-year-old Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, at one set apiece today when their match was suspended by rain.
   Bradley Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion from Stanford, lost to 28th-seeded Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 in 2 hours, 15 minutes in the opening round of qualifying.
   Only two of 11 U.S. men, Denis Kudla and 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Reilly Opelka, survived the first round of French Open qualifying.
   Opelka, 20, won the $125,000 Bordeaux Challenger on Sunday for the biggest title of his career and his first on clay. He became the first American in the 11-year history of the tournament to take the crown.