No. 5 Cal Completes Five-Match Homestand against TCU

March 14, 2007


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The fifth-ranked California women's tennis team (12-3) concludes its five-match home stand this weekend against TCU on Sautrday, March 17, at 12 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Center. The Golden Bears are currently on a four-match winning streak and they look to make it five in a row before they head to Hawaii for two matches the following weekend. Cal will face Northwestern and Hawai'i on that road trip.

TCU (7-4) is in the midst of a six-match road trip. The Horned Frogs won the first three matches of the road trip and head to California this week for the final three. The three victories came against Oklahoma, Rice and SMU. Before facing the Bears, TCU travels to Fresno to face USF on March 14 and Fresno State on March 15. Earlier in the dual season, the Horned Frogs had lost two out of three matches in the ITA Indoor Championships. TCU will be armed with a top-10 doubles duo (No. 7 Ana Cetnik Anna Sydorska). Cetnik is also ranked 37th in the ITA singles rankings.

Cal recently played three matches in four days, and won them all in a decisive manner. The Bears beat Oregon and Loyola Marymount last week and Texas last Monday. They swept the Ducks and defeated the Lions and the Longhorns by the score of 6-1. Against Oregon, every singles match ended in a straight-set win for the Bears. Senior Zsuzsanna Fodor was the first Bear to finish, as she knocked off Dominika Dieskova, 6-0, 6-1. Junior Susie Babos was second to wrap up her match. The reigning NCAA singles champ beat Carmen Seremeta, 6-2, 6-3. Junior Marion Ravelojaona clinched the match for Cal when she defeated Monica Hoz de Vila, 6-0, 6-2, on the No. 5 court. Two days later against LMU, sophomore Claire Ilcinkas earned the first singles victory of the day on the No. 6 court. Ilcinkas beat Audrey Bulkley, 6-0, 6-1. Right behind Ilcinkas, junior Stephanie Kusano picked up the second singles win as she took care of Tamara Tanner, 6-1, 6-0. The Bears started the day with three doubles victories to take the doubles point. On the No. 1 court, the third-ranked team of Babos and Fodor saw its 7-2 lead over Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker dwindle down to 7-6 before the duo picked up the 8-6 win.

Although Cal defeated Texas by the score of 6-1, the Longhorns gave the Bears all they could handle, particularly on the top two courts against Zsuzsanna Fodor and Susie Babos. Fodor dropped the first set to Vanja Corovic, 6-3. In the second set, Fodor was on the brink of losing the match when Corovic held a 5-3 lead. Although the team victory was already won by Cal, Fodor refused to quit and battled back to win the set, 7-5. In the third-set tiebreaker, Fodor and Corovic fought to an 8-8 tie. The reigning Pac-10 singles champion won the next two points to take the match. Babos struggled as well in the opening set of her match against Petra Dizdar. Dizdar was controlling the set with a 5-1 lead. Babos, currently ranked No. 4 in the ITA singles rankings, came all the way back to take a 6-5 lead and eventually earn the 7-6 win. The All-American carried her momentum into the second set, as she quickly took care of Dizdar, 6-1. The win for Babos clinched the team victory for the Bears.

Zsuzsanna Fodor was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for March 5-11, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced. Fodor won the award for her accomplishments in Cal's victories over Oregon, Loyola Marymount and Texas. This is the third career Player of the Week award for Fodor, including the automatic award for winning the Pac-10 Championships last year. It is the fifth all-time award for Cal.

One of Cal's most successful players as of late has been freshman Nina Henkel. Henkel, currently ranked No. 16 in the ITA singles rankings, has won eight of her last nine matches. Henkel picked up a singles win against Oregon and a doubles victory against LMU last week. She picked up a decisive, 6-2, 6-2, victory last Monday against Sarah Lancaster from Texas. Henkel won in doubles with Marion Ravelojaona against the Longhorns as well. Against Stanford on March 3, she turned in 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.

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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