No. 9 Cal Faces Top-Ranked Stanford in Regular-Season Finale

April 18, 2007


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The No. 9 California women's tennis team (19-5, 5-2) faces No. 1 Stanford in the final regular-season match of the dual season, Saturday, April 21, at 12 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Center. Saturday's contest marks the third meeting between these teams this season. The Golden Bears lost the first two matches and hope the third outing will have a different outcome. The following weekend, Cal heads to Ojai for the 2007 Pac-10 Championships. Senior Zsuzsanna Fodor, who is ranked No. 13 in singles, looks to defend her Pac-10 singles title.

Stanford (19-1, 7-0) can win the Pac-10 title outright if it defeats Cal on Saturday. The Cardinal comes into Berkeley riding a 16-match winning streak. The only defeat Stanford was handed this season came against Georgia Tech in the semifinals of the ITA Indoor Team Championships on Feb. 3. Last weekend, the Cardinal won both matches in Los Angeles, knocking off USC and UCLA by the score of 4-3. No. 9 Theresa Logar leads her team in dual-match victories (17-3) and is 23-7 overall. She has won her last six matches, owns a 14-3 mark against Pac-10 opponents and is 12-3 against nationally-ranked foes. Logar is one of four Cardinal players to be ranked in the top 25 of the ITA singles rankings (No. 14 Celia Durkin, No. 15 Jessica Nguyen and No. 17 Anne Yelsey). Yelsey and Lindsay Burdette are also ranked No. 25 in the doubles rankings.

In the first two meeting against Stanford this spring, Cal lost both of them by the score of 6-1. The first match was a second-round contest in the ITA Team Indoor Championships. Zsuzsanna Fodor picked up the lone win for the Bears and also won in doubles with Susie Babos. Fodor beat Anne Yelsey, 6-1, 6-4. The second-ranked doubles team of Fodor and Babos defeated Yelsey and Celia Durkin, 9-8. Babos and Fodor overcame an early deficit to get the victory. Later in the dual campaign, the teams met on The Farm on March 3. Playing on the No. 3 court, Nina Henkel earned the lone win for Cal, as she defeated No. 8 Celia Durkin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Henkel rebounded after losing the first set and came back to dominate the second and third sets. In a close match on the sixth court, Marion Ravelojaona came back after dropping the first set against Lejla Hodzic to win the second, but Ravelojaona couldn't hang on and lost the third set. All three sets ended by the score of 6-4.

Despite most of Cal's streaks getting snapped by USC last Friday, two individual streaks were extended through the weekend. Freshman Nina Henkel, currently ranked No. 23 in the ITA singles rankings, is now on a 10-match winning streak. Going back to Feb. 16, Henkel has won her last 17 of 18 singles matches, and 15 of the 17 victories were straight-set wins. Last weekend in Los Angeles, Henkel picked up a three-set victory over USC's Amanda Fink and a straight-set win against Ashley Joelson from UCLA. The other individual streak still in tact is junior Stephanie Kusano's eight-match winning streak. Kusano hasn't lost since March 12, and since March 9, she has won 10 of last 11 singles matches. Against USC and UCLA last weekend, Kusano picked up two straight-set wins, as she beat USC's Anca Anastasiu, 7-5, 6-2, and UCLA's Elizabeth Lumpkin, 6-4, 6-1. The third streak the Bears still have going for them as a team is their perfect 12-0 record at home this spring. If Cal can knock off Stanford on Saturday, it will finish the dual season undefeated at home.

In the second-longest homestand of the season for Cal from March 30-April 7, the Bears were dominant in all four conference matches, recording sweeps over Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. Within those four matches, Cal only surrendered one doubles match on the third court against the Wildcats. In the 24 singles matches played, 20 of them were straight-set victories. Arizona State was the only team to give Cal a little trouble in singles. Susie Babos, Zsuzsanna Fodor and Marion Ravelojaona all went to a third set in their matches, but the Bears took the match-deciding set in all three contests.

Cal finished 9-1 in March, including seven wins on its home court. In the nine victories, five of them were by the score of 6-1. The other four were shutouts, which included three Pac-10 matches. Oregon, Hawaii, Arizona and Arizona State were all swept by the Bears. Before the victory against Hawaii, Cal took down then-No. 9 Northwestern in the Aloha state. Pepperdine was the first victim to fall to Cal in its five-match homestand on March 4. After the victory over the Ducks, Cal went on to beat Loyola Marymount, Texas and TCU.

The impressive string of championships won by Cal in 2006 includes the Pac-10 Singles title by Zsuzsanna Fodor, as she defeated then-No. 10 ranked Amanda Fink of USC to claim the title. Fodor, a 2006 All-American along with Susie Babos, was also named the Pac-10 Player of the Year last season. She entered postseason play ranked No. 3 by the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings.

Last May, Susie Babos became the first Golden Bear from the women's team to win the NCAA Singles title, becoming just the fourth international player to ever win the national singles title and the second Bear to advance to the NCAA final since Lisa Albano in 1991. In addition, Babos also was the sixth unseeded player to advance to the NCAA final, sixth sophomore to win the national championship and the 15th Pac-10 NCAA singles champion. She defeated USC's Lindsey Nelson, 6-4, 6-1, in the final. Along the way of winning the national crown, Babos upset the 2005 NCAA champ and No. 4 seed Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor, 6-3, 6-4, in the quarterfinals.

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