Suzi Babos Wins NCAA Singles Title
May 29, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - California sophomore Suzi Babos was crowned the 2006 NCAA Women's Tennis Singles Champion Monday afternoon at the Taube Tennis Center at Stanford. Babos defeated Pac-10 foe, sophomore Lindsey Nelson of USC, to become the first ever Cal women's tennis player to win the singles title.
'I am still in shock,' said Babos. 'I need to believe that I actually won. It was a really big surprise and I need time to know what happened. It's just a huge being here in this tournament. I had a couple of good matches this semester, but also some bad matches. After our team lost in the NCAA Regionals to Fresno State, I felt really awful. I felt like I didn't deserve to be in this singles championships. Once I was here, I just got carried away with everything that was going on. Finally, everything clicked this weekend. I never stopped doubting that I could do really well here.'
Babos grabbed the first set over 18th-ranked Nelson, downing her 6-4. In the second set, Babos jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead over her opponent, but Nelson came back to take the next game. With Babos up 5-1, she ensured the title with a 6-1 second set victory. This was the first match in the NCAA singles tournament history that both players competing for the title have been unseeded.
'It hasn't really sunk in yet,' said 28th-year head coach Jan Brogan. 'The tournament was really about redemption and determination. Suzi said she didn't feel good about her spring, she was having difficulties. She played at this level given the opportunity for redemption. When she first came to Cal she looked at the champions on the wall and she said that she wanted to win a singles title. To play well and allow herself to mentally play this well when she was feeling down, I am so proud of her. It shows what a great competitor she really is.'
Babos is the fifth sophomore in the 25-year history of the tournament to win the title and the 15th Pac-10 NCAA singles champion. She ends her singles season with a 32-13 overall record and a No. 27 national ranking.
Complete ResultsNCAA Women's Tennis ChampionhipsTaube Tennis Center, Stanford, CAMay 29, 2006
Singles Finals(Cal) Suzi Babos d. (USC) Lindsey Nelson, 6-4, 6-1
Quotes from Suzi Babos:
'Right after the All-American tournament in October, I tore two ligaments in my right ankle so I couldn't play for a couple of months. I started coming back in January, but it wasn't functioning 100 percent so I was really struggling with it until March. My confidence was really, really low. I didn't believe I could come back and play at the level I wanted to play ever again. I just had to work extremely hard.'
On the difference between last year's tournament and this year's:
'Last year I went to Gerogia and said 'I have a shot. I can win this tournament.' This year, I wasn't expecting anything. I just wanted to enjoy it and take it match by match. I never even thought about playing the next round. Last year, I was focusing on winning. This year, I was just focusing on enjoying my game and improving point by point.'
On playing Lindsey Nelson:
'She was a big hitter, which I like. I just wanted to make her move and touch every single ball. Once we started playing, I realized if my serve was on, and it was on fire today, then there was no way I could lose this match. Coming into the match, I was extremely nervous warming up. As soon as I stepped on the court, I said there's no way I'm losing this match because I'm nervous.'
On future goals:
'I never expected to come this far. My goal now is to improve in doubles. I really want to win a team championship, winning the singles title isn't the same as winning it with your team. After that we will see.'
'This year I learned how deal with pressure and how to control my emotions. Freshman year I was a mess and the coaches did a lot of mental training.'