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UCLA at the 2022 Australian Open: Day 8

Jan 17, 2022
Maxime Cressy (Photo: USTA)

MONDAY, JAN. 24

Ena Shibahara, who starred for the UCLA women's tennis team in 2017 and 2018, advanced to the Australian Open women's doubles quarterfinal round with partner Shuko Aoyama Monday, while impressive runs by Maxime Cressy and Marcos Giron were ended.

Shibahara and Aoyama, seeded second, downed the No. 16 combination of Viktoria Kuzmova and Vera Zvonareva in a comeback. Kuzmova and Zvonareva took six of seven first-set games and held a 5-4 advantage in the second before Shibahara and Aoyama turned it around. Shibahara and Aoyama took the final three games of the second set and the final four of the third for the 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 win. They meet Petra Martic and Shelby Rogers next.

Pitted against No.2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia, Cressy also had to work from behind. Medvedev made a statement in the first set before Cressy settled in. Neither player was able to notch a break of serve in the second before Medvedev took the tiebreaker. It was more of the same in the third, but Cressy ensured the match would go to a fourth set, taking the final four points. Then, in what proved to be the deciding frame, Medvedev earned a break at 5-5 and rode that to a 6-2, 7-6(4), 6-7(4), 7-5 victory.

Giron and partner Kwon Soon-woo had their time in the men's doubles draw stopped by the 10th-seeded tandem of Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Giron and Soon-woo were broken at 3-4 of the first set and 0-1 of the second to make the difference in a 6-3, 6-4 result. The third-round trip was the best in a Grand Slam doubles tournament by Giron

Shibahara's Tuesday at Melbourne Park will also feature her quarterfinal-round mixed doubles contest with Ben McLachlan. The eighth-seeded pair takes on No. 2 John Peers and Shuai Zhang.

SUNDAY, JAN. 23

Former UCLA tennis standout Ena Shibahara earned her third win in as many days at Melbourne Park, ensuring third matches in the women's and mixed doubles draws.

The partnership of Shibahara and Ben McLachlan, seeded eighth, prevailed in a first-to-10 tiebreaker against Santiago Gonzalez and Nadiia Kichenok for each victor's first mixed doubles quarterfinal-round appearance in a Grand Slam. It was a comeback effort for Shibahara and McLachlan, as the pair bounced back from a lost first set to force the difference maker. There, Gonzalez and Kichenok earned the first point, but it was all Shibahara and McLachlan the rest of the way, as the latter tandem never trailed again en route to the 4-6, 6-3, 1-0(8) victory. Shibahara and McLachlan next meet the winner of No. 2 John Peers/Shuai Zhang and Wesley Koolhof/Bernarda Pera.

In the meantime, Shibahara will once again team with Shuko Aoyama in women's doubles play. The second-seeded pair meets the 16th-seeded combination of Viktoria Kuzmova and Vera Zvonareva to start the second week of competition. Also in action will be Bruin Marcos Giron and partner Kwon Soon-woo in the men's doubles third round. Also, Maxime Cressy will look to reach the men's singles quarterfinals when he squares off with No. 2 Daniil Medvedev of Russia.

SATURDAY, JAN. 22

Three Bruins were in action Saturday at Melbourne Park and each proved victorious as the second week of competition drew nearer.

Maxime Cressy, Marcos Giron and Ena Shibahara advanced. Cressy moved on to the men's singles fourth round, Giron the men's doubles third round and Shibahara the mixed doubles second round. Shibahara Friday reached the women's doubles third round.

Cressy, who has the most ATP Tour match wins in 2022, with nine, continued to improve upon his best Grand Slam showing with a 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-2 win versus wild-card recipient Christopher O'Connell of Australia. Cressy took the final five games of the first set, the first three of the third and the last four of the fourth. Next up for Cressy is a matchup with the second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia.

Giron and Kwon Soon-woo, ranked No. 1,169 and No. 699 by the ATP, respectively, beat two top-70 players in Aleksandr Nedovyesov (70) and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (42). Nedovyesov and Qureshi took six of seven first-set games to seemingly set the tone, but Giron and Soon-woo answered by taking four of five to start the second. The third went to a tiebreaker and Giron and Soon-woo would seize the final four points and 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(7) victory. Next for them is the 10th-seeded combination of Wesley Koolho and Neal Skupski.

The eighth-seeded tandem of Shibahara and Ben McLachlan celebrated the start of mixed doubles action with a straight-set win against Skupski and Storm Sanders. Shibahara and McLachlan picked up the match's first break of serve at 3-2 in the first set on the way to the contest's first advantage. Sanders and Skupski jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second, but Shibahara and McLachlan ultimately forced a tiebreaker and edged out their counterparts there for a 6-3, 7-6(8) decision. They will next meet Santiago Gonzalez and Nadiia Kichenok Sunday.

FRIDAY, JAN. 21

Former UCLA standout Ena Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama advanced to the women's doubles third round Friday in Melbourne, Australia, defeating hometown wild-card selections Lizette Cabrera and Priscilla Hon in straight sets.

The match started with four consecutive breaks of serve, but the second-seeded tandem of Shibahara and Aoyama would take four of the opening set's last five games for the advantage. In the second, Shibahara and Aoyama posted a break out of the gate and would see Cabrera and Hon hold just twice. A marathon eighth game lasted 11 minutes and 34 seconds as the Australians looked for another, but Shibahara and Aoyama would close it out for a 6-3, 6-2 decision.

Shibahara and Aoyama will try to equal their best showing at Melbourne Park when they take on the winner of 16th-seeded Viktoria Kuzmova/Vera Zvonareva and Nao Hibino/Alicja Rosolska for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Shibahara will begin her time in the mixed doubles draw Saturday, when she teams with Ben McLachlan to face Storm Sanders and Neal Skupski (approximately 6:55 p.m. PT Friday). Shibahara/McLachlan is seeded eighth. Also in action is the men's doubles combination of Bruin Marcos Giron and Kwon Soon-woo, which will take on Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (approximately 5:35 p.m. PT Friday). Finally, Maxime Cressy looks to continue his run in the men's singles bracket when he squares off with Christopher O'Connell, a wild card from Australia (approximately 9 p.m. PT Friday).

THURSDAY, JAN. 20

Three former UCLA men's tennis standouts who earned NCAA championships as Bruins were in action on Day 4 of the Australian Open, as singles and doubles matches continued at Melbourne Park.

Maxime Cressy reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career with a four-set singles win. On the doubles side, Marcos Giron bounced back from a first-round singles loss to Rafael Nadal with a convincing victory. Mackenzie McDonald, meanwhile, had his time in Melbourne, Australia stopped.

Cressy set the tone early against qualifier Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic with a dominant first set. Machac answered in the second, but Cressy would ultimately sandwich a pair of 6-1 sets around that one. The match would be decided by way of tiebreaker, as Cressy edged out his counterpart to finish off the 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5) decision. He will next face wild-card entry Christopher O'Connell of Australia.

In doubles play, Giron and partner Kwon Soon-woo needed just 55 minutes to top Alexander Bublik and Jan Zielinski, 6-3, 6-4. The second-round doubles appearance marks the first in the career of Giron. The pair next sees Aleksandr Nedovyesov and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. McDonald and partner John Millman were on the opposite end of a 55-minute decision, falling by a 6-2, 6-2 score against Jonny O'Mara and Andrei Vasilevski.

Play continues Friday with the second-seeded tandem of Bruin Ena Shibahara and partner Shuko Aoyama eyeing a trip to the women's doubles third round.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 19

Doubles play got underway Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia with two former UCLA players in action, while Mackenzie McDonald had his singles stay ended.

Bruin Ena Shibahara and doubles partner Shuko Aoyama, both ranked sixth by the WTA and the tournament's No. 2 seed, had a slow start to their opener before rebounding convincingly against Natela Dzalamidze and Kamilla Rakhimova. Shibahara and Aoyama took four of the first five second-set games and all but one in the third for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory and a second-round date with the wild-card Australian combination of Lizette Cabrera and Priscilla Hon. Shibahara and Aoyama reached the quarterfinal round in 2021.

Jean-Julien Rojer, playing in his 12th Australian Open and first with partner Marcelo Arevalo, was eliminated from the doubles draw in a thriller. Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp outlasted the 14th-seeded pair, 6-7(5), 7-6(8), 7-6(8). Two former UCLA standouts remain in the doubles draw, McDonald and Giron set start Thursday with partners John Millman and Kwon Soon-woo, respectively.

McDonald could not equal his fourth-round singles run achieved in 2021, bowing out against the tournament's No. 18 seed, Aslan Karatsev of Russia. McDonald broke Karatsev out of the gate en route to a first-set win, but the call was answered. Karatsev righted his ship to the tune of a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win. Even with the loss, McDonald has made it out of the first round in five of six Australian Open singles draws he has found himself.

In addition to the doubles matches, Thursday in Australia also features a return to the court for Maxime Cressy. He meets qualifier Tomas Machac from the Czech Republic after 22nd-seeded fellow American John Isner Tuesday.

TUESDAY, JAN. 18

Two more former UCLA players were in action Tuesday in Melbourne, Australia, as Robin Anderson and Maxime Cressy both went the distance in their main draw matches.

Cressy, who was elevated to a career-best No. 70 in the ATP singles rankings Monday after a successful start to his time in Australia, outlasted fellow American and No. 22 seed John Isner in a match that eclipsed the four-hour mark. Three tiebreakers were needed, with Cressy winning one to take the first set and Isner logging answers in the third and fourth frames. In a match that featured just two breaks of serve (both by Cressy), the Bruin secured the most important one at 4-4 of the fifth set. He would close out the match for a 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4 result.

Cressy will next meet qualifier Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic in the second round.

Anderson, who starred for Stella Sampras Webster's team from 2012-15, made her Grand Slam debut. She previously made the second round of qualifying at each event. Pitted against fellow wild-card recipient Samantha Stosur of Australia, Anderson took the first set by way of tiebreaker. Stosur responded in front of her home fans, however, earning early breaks in the subsequent ones en route to a 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 victory.

Day 3 at Melbourne Park will include the start of doubles play. Jean-Julien Rojer forms the No. 14 men's doubles seed with partner Marcelo Arevalo. They will meet Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp. On the women's side, Ena Shibahara teams again with Shuko Aoyama to make the No. 2 pair. Mackenzie McDonald's first doubles match will wait another day, as he will meet 18th-seeded Aslan Karatsev of Russia in second-round singles play.

MONDAY, JAN. 17

Main draw action at the 2022 Australian Open began Monday in Melbourne, Australia and two former UCLA men's tennis teammates logged differing results in singles play.

Mackenzie McDonald, who reached the fourth round in 2021's tournament, was victorious in his 2022 opener, fighting back from a lost first set. Marcos Giron, meanwhile, was defeated by 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal of Spain.

Pitted against qualifier Nikola Milojevic of Serbia, McDonald saw his opponent take the final three games of the initial set for the advantage. The second set saw the players twice alternate breaks of serve before McDonald claimed the decisive one to send the match to a third set knotted at one apiece. There, McDonald won extended games at 3-2 and 5-3 to take a two-games-to-one advantage. Then, in the decider, McDonald took five of the first six games and finished off Milojevic in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 decision.

McDonald will next face 18th-seeded Aslan Karatsev of Russia.

Giron held serve in his first opportunity with the sixth-seeded Nadal, but was broken each of the next two times to lose the opening set in Rod Laver Arena. Giron settled in during the second set, but a break out of the gate proved all Nadal needed. Nadal went on to win by a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 margin.

Day 2 is set to feature an appearance by the third ATP top-70 Bruin, as Maxime Cressy will take on fellow American John Isner, who is seeded 22nd. Ready to make her Grand Slam debut is Robin Anderson, who squares off with Samantha Stosur of Australia in an all-wild-card matchup. Both contests will take place Monday night in the United States.