No. 6 Cal Continues Home Stand With Two Matches This Week

March 7, 2007


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The sixth-ranked California women's tennis team (9-3) continues its five-match home stand this week and opens Pac-10 play as well. The Golden Bears square off against Oregon Friday, March 9, at 1:30 p.m. in the conference opener. Two days later, Cal hosts Loyola Marymount at 12 p.m. Both matches will be played at the Hellman Tennis Center. The home stand continues next week, when Cal faces Texas Monday, March 12, at 1:30 p.m.

Last Saturday, Oregon defeated Boise State, 5-2. The Ducks (8-2) are on a four-match winning streak. Previous to the victory over the Broncos, Oregon enjoyed a win against Washington State on Feb. 24. The winning streak began in Colorado on Feb. 9 when the Ducks beat Denver, 4-3, and then beat Colorado, 5-2, on Feb. 11. Oregon also started the dual season on a four-match winning streak. It opened the spring with a pair of 7-0 sweeps over Montana State and Portland. The Ducks then went to Texas and notched two victories as they beat Texas Tech (4-3) and Alabama (6-1). In Loyola Marymount's last match, it beat USF, 4-3, last Sunday. The win snapped a three-match losing streak for the Lions, who have two matches in the Bay Area this week before heading to Berkeley. They face Santa Clara on Wednesday and San Jose State on Friday. LMU (4-4) started the season with two wins over Cal State Fullerton and UC Santa Barbara before dropping four of its next five matches. Two of the four losses came to Pepperdine and UCLA, two teams that Cal has already beaten.

Last weekend, Cal faced two teams in the top 25. The Bears split the matches, losing on Friday to then-No. 1 Stanford, 6-1. The next day, Cal returned to Berkeley and beat then-No. 18 Pepperdine, 6-1. Against the Waves, The Bears swept the doubles matches and won five of the six singles matches en route to the victory. Defending NCAA singles champion Susie Babos dominated in her match against Bianca Dulgheru with a 6-1, 6-2 victory on the No. 1 court. Making her singles debut in the spring season, sophomore Claire Ilcinkas turned in a strong showing. She knocked off Tania Rice, 6-1, 6-3. No. 25 Zsuzsanna Fodor and junior Marion Ravelojaona were both tested in their matches. After Fodor took a 7-5 first-set win in her match against Sylvia Kosakowski, Fodor dropped the second set, 6-4. In the third set, Fodor lost the first two games and trailed 5-4 at one point before coming back to win the next three games and the match. Ravelojaona followed a similar pattern as Fodor, winning the first set and losing the second set. In the third-set tiebreaker, Ravelojaona jumped out to a 5-2 lead and hung on for the 10-6 win. The Bears won all three doubles matches to start the afternoon. The third-ranked tandem of Babos and Fodor beat Eva Dickes and Kosakowski, 8-3. Ilcinkas and sophomore Daron Moore clinched the doubles point on the third court with an 8-5 victory.

The most successful player for Cal last weekend was freshman Nina Henkel. Henkel, currently ranked No. 16 in the ITA singles rankings, won three of the four matches she played, one of which was the only win for the Bears against Stanford. It was a big victory against the Cardinal, as Henkel took down No. 8 Celia Durkin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The next day against Pepperdine, she earned her second singles win of the weekend when she defeated Katie Sebate, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. Henkel clinched the match victory for the Bears on the No. 3 court. After dominating the first set, Henkel struggled in the second, but rebounded in the third set to take the match. In doubles against the Waves, Henkel and junior Stephanie Kusano beat Sebate and Bianca Dulgheru, 8-6.

Zsuzsanna Fodor, who was ranked ninth in the ITA singles rankings earlier this season, garnered an eight-match winning streak to open the spring season. Recently, Fodor won in singles and doubles against Pepperdine. The senior won three out of four matches in Arizona two weeks ago. It was her victory over Tracy Lin of UCLA that clinched the victory for the Bears in their 7-0 sweep over the Bruins on Feb. 16. Fodor was the only Bear to pick up a win against Stanford in the second round of the ITA Indoor Championships on Feb. 2, as she knocked off Anne Yelsey, 6-1, 6-4. Fodor has had some dominating singles wins over the past month and a half. She beat Brittany Blalock of Cal Poly, 6-1, 6-1, on Jan. 13. In the dual-match season opener against Sacramento 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.

Susie Babos, the reigning NCAA singles champion, was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for Feb. 12-18. The All-American garnered two straight-set victories over two top Pac-10 competitors when Cal claimed two big wins over then-No. 15 UCLA and then-No. 5 USC on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17. Babos defeated the previous Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week, Riza Zalameda of UCLA, 7-5, 7-5. The next day, in a rematch of the 2006 NCAA singles final, Babos once again beat USC's Lindsey Nelsen, 6-1, 6-2. Both wins came on the No. 1 court.

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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