Cal unable to reach ITA tourney finale

The Cal’s women tennis team seemed to have worked out many glitches in the ITA Northwest Regional Championships in Stanford, Calif. but could not break through to any championships.

Top overall singles seed of Jana Juricova showed flashes of her usual brilliance but missed on more than a few opportunities. Juricova lost in a semifinal match to Nicole Gibbs of Stanford on Monday. Two Bears doubles teams made the semifinals but both were upset in Monday semifinal matches. The doubles teams, which were a major concern entering the weekend, have shown definite signs of improvement.

Jana Juricova and Sofie Susanyi, seeded second, looked strong, as Juricova’s length at the net complements Susanyi’s spectacular power from the baseline. Juricova played her doubles match with Susanyi after losing in singles, so fatigue might have played a role in the duo’s loss to Sacramento State, 3-8.

Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting, who have had experience playing together in the past, were also solid. In an early match against Santa Clara, Schutting continually baffled her opponents with her serve, and both she and Goransson executed at the net. One of the few points that Santa Clara won in an 8-3 rout was when Goransson fired a volley off her opponent with such force that it bounced back over the net.

However, the two also fell in a semifinal to Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay of Stanford.

The Bears’ third doubles team, Tayler Davis and Cecilia Estlander, were also knocked out by Tan and Tsay. Estlander’s serve was on point, and she showed a multitude of looks from the baseline. The match was tied 7-7, but Stanford proved to be too much at the net. Tsay had more than a few gorgeous deflections at the net, prompting applause from the hometown crowd on multiple occasions.

Many of the tournament favorites performed well in singles. Seven of the eight quarterfinalists were expected to reach that point, with the exception of Davis, who lost in the second round as a result of a tough draw. The semifinals consist the top four ranked players.

In her quarterfinal match against Marianne Jodoin of Fresno State, Juricova struggled early, hitting potential slams into the net and struggling to find her accuracy. Jodoin, a raucous French-Canadian, was fired up after winning the first set 5-7, yet Juricova came back and dominated, dropping only three games in the closing sets.

Juricova’s match against Gibbs was similar, although Gibbs’ skill allowed her to take advantage of Juricova’s mistakes.
Juricova seemed in control, up 2-0 in the third set, but she did not win another game, falling 6-4, 2-6, 2-6.

Goransson was the other Bear to reach the final eight, but she was also defeated by Gibbs, 1-6, 3-6. Goransson showed signs of life early, cutting the lead to 4-3 but then dropped eight of the final nine games to the crafty Gibbs.