Day One of Pac-10 Men's and Women's Tennis Championships is Served
OJAI, Calif. - The 111th Ojai Valley Tournament, the host for the 2011 Pac-10 Men's and Women's Tennis Championships got underway today at Libbey Park and the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. Singles action on both the men's and women's invitational and championships brackets took to the courts.
On the men's side, the No. 1 ranked individual player in the country, USC junior Steve Johnson cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over UCLA's Alex Brigham in the first round and then took care of Oregon's Alex Rovello, in the second round, 6-2, 6-1.
UCLA's Alex Inbar defeated Arizona's Frank Chen, 6-0, 6-3 and came up against Stanford senior Alex Clayton. The first set between Inbar and Clayton was close, but Inbar prevailed, winning 7-6 and then taking the second set, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals to face USC's Johnson.
Stanford sophomore Ryan Thatcher and UCLA freshman Adrien Puget met in the second round after their first round wins, in what proved to be a great match. Thatcher took the first set, 6-4, but Puget came to play, taking the next set, 6-3, forcing a third set that came down to the wire, but the UCLA freshman prevailed, winning 7-6 (2).
Washington senior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and USC freshman Emilio Gomez played a tight second round match after both dispatched their first round opponents, with Gomez coming through with a 7-5, 6-2 two-set match victory.
Stanford junior Bradley Klahn, the reigning 2010 NCAA singles champion and at the opposite end of the bracket from Johnson, defeated Arizona's Mario Urquidi, 6-3, 6-2 and advanced to face. Oregon's Robin Cambier. Klahn dominated the first set, 6-2, but had a shaky second set and Cambier took advantage, taking the second set, 6-4, to force a third. Klahn cleaned things up and won the third, 6-1, to take the match and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Klahn will face USC freshman Ray Sarmiento, who went undefeated in Pac-10 dual match play and continued his hot hand in Ojai, dispatching fellow freshman Clay Thompson of UCLA, 6-1, 7-5.
Thousand Oaks, Calif., native Kyle McMorrow of Washington defeated USC's Peter Lucassen, but dropped the match in three sets, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6 to California's Nick Andrews. He will face Stanford sophomore Denis Lin, who defeated USC junior Daniel Nguyen in the second round, 7-6 (3), 7-5. Lin and Nguyen are familiar foes, growing up in the greater Santa Barbara area and meeting on the junior circuit. Nguyen, a native of Oxnard, Calif., has played in The Ojai since he was 10 years old.
On the match, which Lin, he explained, "I stayed steady and made some good shots. Nguyen really is a great player. I am feeling good, feeling steady and ready to get back out there tomorrow. I am also excited to begin doubles play.
On the women's side, the 32 individual singles championship got underway, with the No. 2 player in the nation, Maria Sanchez of USC at the top of the bracket. She earned two wins against Washington State's Ksenia Googe in the first round, 6-1, 6-1 and Oregon's Pavlina Smatova in the second round, 6-2, 6-1.
Arizona State's Michelle Brycki took Stanford's Mallory Burdette to three sets in the first round, but Burdette prevailed, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. She then defeated California's Annie Goransson, 6-2, 7-5. Burdette will face Sanchez in the quarterfinals in what promises to be a stellar match.
Arizona State senior Kelcy McKenna continued her stellar season in her final Pac-10 championships, defeating Washington's Aleksandra Krsljanin, 6-1, 6-2 and then despite dropping the first set to Arizona's Sarah Landsman in the second round, 3-6, she recovered and won the match in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-1. She is set to face Stanford's Stacey Chan, who had a strong first day, including a win over California standout Mari Andersson, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.
The bottom half of the bracket saw an upset, with California's Anett Schutting defeating Washington senior Venise Chan, 7-6(5), 6-4. USC freshman Kaitlyn Christian then defeated Schutting in the second round, 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the quarterfinals, where she will face Stanford's Kristie Ahn. Ahn advanced after wins over California's Marina Cossou, 7-5, 6-3 and ASU's Micaela Hein, 6-4, 6-2.
Stanford freshman Nicole Gibbs ran through to the quarterfinals, defeating USC's Cristalia Andrews, 6-0, 6-1 and Washington's Samantha Smith, 7-6(4), 6-2. Gibbs will face UCLA senior McCall Jones, who advanced on wins over Stanford's Veronica Li and California's Tayler Davis.
The men's championships quarterfinals begin at 12 p.m. PT at Libbey Park. The women will take to the court for quarterfinal action at 12 p.m. PT at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club.
Friday marks the beginning of the 16-team doubles championships draw for both the men and the women. The men will serve at 9 a.m. PT at Libbey Park and the women will begin at 9 a.m. PT at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club.
The invitational individual singles action for both the men and women will continue with the semifinals on Friday at Libbey Park Lower and the Ojai Valley Athletic Club. The invitational doubles competition will begin tomorrow.
To see the complete brackets and match times for tomorrow, visit http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/Draws/EventDraw.aspx?T=99869.