Amber Liu Claims Second-Straight NCAA Title
May 29, 2004
ATHENS, Ga. - Stanford sophomore Amber Liu came out on the winning end of a hard-fought championship match on Saturday to claim her second-straight NCAA Singles title at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex at the University of Georgia. The fourth-seeded Liu defeated No. 3-seed Jelena Pandzic of Fresno State 6-4, 0-6, 6-3.
'This court has been very good to me this week,' Liu said. 'This has been quite a week.'
Liu, wrapping up the season with a 25-4 overall singles record, helped the Cardinal to the 2004 NCAA team title earlier this week.
The championship stands as the 12th NCAA singles title all-time for Stanford and the fourth in the last five years. Liu is the first Cardinal to win back-to-back titles since Laura Granville in 2000 and 2001.
Pandzic, down 1-0 in the first set and serving, was called for four foot faults for having her right foot start on the ad side of the hash mark before she served. Unnerved, Pandzic's committed three double faults in that opening service game and fell behind 2-0. Liu broke Pandzic's serve to claim the first set 6-4 in 40 minutes.
Liu's game fell apart in the second set. She sprayed balls wildly all over the court, while Pandzic improved her consistency. Pandzic broke in the first game and cruised, winning the second set 6-0.
But Liu came out in the first game of the third set and served notice she had put the second set far behind her. Playing more aggressively and consistently, Liu held to go up 1-0 and then broke for a 2-0 lead. Pandzic came right back with a break of her own and then a service hold to knot it back up at 2-2. After three easy service games in a row, Liu was ahead 4-3 with Pandzic to serve.
Down 15-30 on her service game at 3-4, Pandzic launched two forehands well long, handing a break to Liu. Serving for the match at 5-3, Liu once again was the benefactor of forehand errors by Pandzic, who missed long on 15-love and then again at 30-15. On her second match point, Liu claimed victory when a Pandzic backhand went into the net.
The singles championship match will be broadcast on The Tennis Channel on June 4, at 4 p.m. PT and will be re-aired several times later that week. Log onto www.thetennischannel.com for details.
Finals (May 29, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (14) Jelena Pandzic (Fresno State) 6-4, 0-6, 6-3
Semifinals (May 28, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (6) Julie Coin (Clemson) 6-1, 7-6 (7-2)
Quarterfinals (May 27, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (13) Audra Falk (Vanderbilt) 6-1, 6-3
Round of 16 (May 26, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (42) Margarita Karnaukhova (Sac St) 6-3, 6-0
Round of 32 (May 25, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (17) Dea Sumantri (Wash) 6-2, 6-4
Round of 64 (May 24, 2004)
(7) Amber Liu (Stan) def. (27) Natalie Braverman (Pepp) 6-3, 6-0