Monday, May 26, 2014

Cal's Chi falls in NCAA women's final

   Lynn Chi ran out of magic.
   The Cal standout lost to Virginia's Danielle Collins 6-2, 7-5 today in a matchup of unseeded sophomores in the NCAA women's singles final in Athens, Ga.
   Chi, from Weston, Fla., broke for 5-3 in the second set against her former junior rival but dropped the last four games.
   “(Collins) played really well at the end," the 24th-ranked Chi (38-11) said on "She hit some really nice shots.  I made a few errors. I had that one game, I think, where I hit four balls in the tape or around the tape area.
   "To make it to the finals for me was just unbelievable. I never expected that or anything near that. I’ve learned so much this tournament. I’m just going to use it for next year.”
   Chi saved a match point in her first-round victory over No. 9-16 seed Emina Bektas of Michigan and knocked off top-seeded and top-ranked Jamie Loeb of North Carolina in the quarterfinals after losing the first set. Chi then outlasted Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State in the semifinals after Tere-Apisah served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the third set. 
   Second-seeded Marcos Giron of UCLA beat unseeded Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine 6-4, 6-1 in an all-Los Angeles area men's final. On Tuesday, the region swept the team titles for the first time as the UCLA women won their second crown and the USC men took their fifth in six years and ninth overall.
   Chi was trying to become the fourth straight player from Cal or Stanford to win the women's title and the third overall from her school. The Bears' Suzi Babos and Jana Juricova triumped in 2006 and 2011, respectively, and Stanford's Nicole Gibbs prevailed the following two years.
   Collins, a St. Petersburg, Fla., resident who transferred from Florida, gave Virginia its first NCAA women's tennis title of any kind (singles, doubles or team).
   “It’s incredible," said the 32nd-ranked Collins (36-10), who upset No. 9-16 seed Anett Schutting of Cal in the second round, No. 2 Robin Anderson of UCLA in the third round and No. 7 Hayley Carter of North Carolina in the quarterfinals. "I still can’t believe it. It’s all really shocking to me, and I’m still really caught off guard right now, to be honest.
   "I’m just really excited to be able to do it for myself and also our program. I know it’s the first time the women’s side has had this much success. It’s been a pretty historic career for us, and I’m really excited to do it for my school and for my coaches. I know how much it means for them, too. They’ve helped me so much this year, and I think it’s been night and day since I came to Virginia."  
   The Cavaliers men have had considerable success in the NCAA Championships. They won the team title last year, Somdev Devvarman captured the 2007 and 2008 singles crowns, Dominic Inglot and Michael Shabaz earned the 2009 doubles title, and Drew Courtney and Shabaz took the 2010 doubles trophy.
   Giron became the fourth man from a California school in the Pacific-12 Conference in five years to win the NCAA singles title. Stanford's Bradley Klahn triumphed in 2010 (in Athens), USC's Steve Johnson in 2011 and 2012, and Ohio State's Blaz Rola last year.
   The doubles finals hardly could have contrasted more.
   Second-seeded Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee edged fourth-seeded Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 7-6 (6).
   Earlier, fourth-seeded Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama crushed second-seeded Lauren Herring and Maho Kowase of host Georgia 6-1, 6-0.

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