No. 9 Cal Returns To Berkeley To Face No. 15 UCLA and No. 5 USC

Feb. 13, 2007


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The ninth-ranked California women's tennis team returns home this weekend for its first match in Berkeley in nearly a month. The Golden Bears will square off against two Pac-10 teams, both ranked in the top 15 in the country. No 15 UCLA (4-2) comes to Cal on Friday, Feb. 16, and No. 5 USC (4-0) will tangle with the Bears on Saturday, Feb. 17. Cal (4-2) looks to get back to the dominant form it was in, heading into the Indoor Championships two weeks ago. The Bears went into the tournament 3-0, but lost two out of the three matches they played. The next week, Cal is back on the road, head to the desert to face the University of Arizona and Arizona State.

UCLA improved its record last Friday with a 7-0 shutout against Fresno State. No. 35 Riza Zalameda from the Bruins squared off against fourth-ranked Melanie Gloria from the Bulldogs. The difference in the rankings didn't matter much, as Zalameda had little trouble with her higher-ranked counterpart, posting a 6-2, 6-2 victory. UCLA freshman Yasmin Schnack, currently ranked 28th, clinched the victory for the Bruins on court No. 3 with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Anastasia Petukhova. Before it's match against Cal on Friday, UCLA will face UC Irvine on Tuesday. USC is a perfect 4-0 to start its season. The Trojans dominated Cal Poly in their last match, shutting out the Mustangs, 7-0. Three of USC's victories have been shutouts. The Trojans are led by two top-25 ranked doubles teams (No. 15 Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink and No. 23 Sarah Fansler / Dianne Matias). Fansler, a freshman, is also currently ranked No. 9 in singles. USC, like its cross-town rival UCLA, has a match today. The Trojans will face San Diego State at Marks Stadium, the fourth home match for USC this season. On Friday, the Trojans battle No. 2 Stanford before heading to Berkeley on Saturday.

In its four matches against the two Los Angeles schools last year, Cal managed one win in the four matches, a 4-3 victory over UCLA. The Bruins came into that 2006 match ranked 10th, while the Bears were 13th. Despite losing the doubles point, Cal rebounded to win four of the six singles matches to earn the win and hand UCLA it's first Pac-10 loss of the season. The two matches in Southern California were both close, but the Bears couldn't manage a victory in either, losing both matches by the score of 4-3. Although Cal lost both team matches to USC, it got revenge in the Pac-10 Championships and in the NCAA Championships. Senior Zsuzsanna Fodor knocked off then-10th-ranked Amanda Fink of USC to win the Pac-10 singles title. In the NCAA singles final, Susie Babos beat Lindsey Nelson of the Trojans to become Cal's first singles national champion in women's tennis.

Cal went 1-2 in the 2006 ITA Team Indoor Championships in Madison, Wis. The eighth-seeded Bears opened the tournament with victory over No. 12 Virginia Commonwealth, 4-3. Cal picked up four singles wins to earn the victory. Junior Cristina Visico's victory over Vera Petrasvitch was the turning point of the match. In the tiebreaker set, Visico was down 6-3 and rallied to win the set and the match, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8). Zsuzsanna Fodor earned Cal's second win of the day by defeating Marianna Yuferova, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. The Rams came back to take a 3-2 lead, but Nina Henkel and Stephanie Kusano won the last two singles matches for the Bears. Although Cal lost the doubles point, the 12th-ranked doubles tandem of Henkel and sophomore Daron Moore picked up a doubles win, as it beat Petrashevitch and Tatsiana Uvarova, 9-7. The next day, top-ranked Stanford handed the Bears their first loss of the season, 6-1, in the second round. Cal lost in the consolation quarterfinals the next day to No. 7 North Carolina, 4-3. Against the Tar Heels, Susie Babos defeated No. 33 Austin Smith in two sets, 7-5, 6-1. Babos also won in doubles, as the second-ranked doubles team of Babos and Fodor defeated the 16th-ranked duo of Sara Anundsen and Jenna Long, 8-4. Babos and Fodor's win was one of two doubles win for Cal, as it took the doubles point. The other doubles win came from junior Marion Ravelojaona and sophomore Bojana Bobusic. The tandem knocked off Smith and Meg Fanjoy, 8-3. Besides Babos, Bobusic was the only other Bear to pick up a win in singles. Bobusic beat Laura Reichart, 6-1, 7-6 (4).

Zsuzsanna Fodor has been on a tear since the Cal Winter Invitational in January. The senior was on an eight-match winning streak until she was defeated in her last singles match by Jenna Long of North Carolina. Fodor was the only Bear to pick up a win against Stanford in the second round of the Team Indoor Championships, as she knocked off Anne Yelsey, 6-1, 6-4. Six of her eight singles wins came in straight sets. Fodor has had some dominating singles wins over the past month. She beat Brittany Blalock of Cal Poly, 6-1, 6-1, on Jan. 13. In the dual-match season opener against Sacrmento State on Jan. 20, Fodor defeated Katrina Bandere, 6-1, 6-0. Against San Diego State on Jan. 28, Fodor handled Alesya Vidov, 6-1, 6-1.

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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