Juricova plays so nice, she wins it twice

Michael Gethers/Staff
Tayler Davis reached the final of the Cal Nike Invitational on Sunday but failed to win a game against teammate Jana Juricova.

Jana Juricova’s senior season started with a bang during this weekend’s Cal Nike Invitational at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Juricova and new doubles partner Annet Schutting captured the doubles’ crown, and Juricova rolled through teammate Tayler Davis to win the singles’ championship.

Although the doubles championship against Sacramento State was a back-and-forth contest, Juricova had no trouble in the singles’ final. Davis did not reach a game point in the match, as she was blanked, 6-0, 6-0. That match featured Juricova’s most aggressive play yet, as she capitalized on Davis’ fatigue with a flurry of forehand winners that flummoxed her formidable foe.

“I think the thing that’s always been with Jana is when she decides she wants to do something, her focus is of another level,” coach Amanda Augustus said.

Cal had five of eight quarterfinalists in the top singles’ flight, and all four semifinalists were Bears. Minutes after winning the doubles’ championship, Juricova beat Schutting, her doubles’ partner, to advance to the championship.

“It requires some kind of mental preparation,” said Juricova, reflecting on the transition from partner to opponent. “I think it is more difficult when you know each other and hit together at practices.”

The other semifinal was a mesmerizing match between Davis and freshman Zsofi Susanyi. Susanyi upset teammate and No. 3 seed Annie Goransson, 7-5, 6-3, on Saturday in the quarterfinals. The tilt between Susanyi and Davis was full of power, and although Davis is the more physically imposing presence, Susanyi packs punch into her slight, 5-foot-7 frame .

After losing the first set, 6-1, Davis came back to topple Susanyi in the grueling final two sets, 6-3, 6-2. Nonetheless, Susanyi, who was fighting illness the whole weekend, made quite an impression in her collegiate debut.

Senior Stephany Chang also surprised many over the weekend. Chang was unseeded in the second-tier blue singles’ flight, but worked her way through the draw to win the championship.

“Steph’s been working really hard,” Augustus said. “I think that, for me, seeing her work her way through the draw makes me proud of her and I think that her winning caps off the weekend for us.

“I think we have a much deeper team this year which I think will serve us well as we go forward.”

That depth was on display this weekend. The six Cal players in the gold singles’ draw had only one loss to other schools, as freshman Cecilia Estlander lost in the second round of the tournament to Hannah James of Arizona State. Alice Duranteau lost her first game of the blue singles’ draw, but came back and won the consolation bracket.

While Cal couldn’t have asked for more success out of the singles’ players, the results from the doubles’ brackets were a mixed bag. Although Juricova and Schutting won the championship, the second team of Davis and Goransson lost in the second round. The pair had two match points, but fell in a tiebreak, 9-8(2).