Bears send All-Americans to collegiate grand slam

Leya Andrews/Staff

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Competing against a tournament field comprised entirely of All-Americans, the nation’s top ranked players will compete this week for the first grand slam title of the 2012 season.

The ITA/Riviera All-American Championships begins on Tuesday and concludes Sunday at the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

The talent is immense and the competition will be fierce.

The Cal women’s tennis team will add its own forces to the cutthroat competition. Sophomore Zsofi Susanyi, junior Anett Schutting, and seniors Annie Goransson and Tayler Davis will join head coach Amanda Augustus for the trip down to SoCal.

Fresh off a successful run in the Cal Nike Invitational last weekend, the four had little time to prepare for the stiff competition awaiting them. All four players will compete in the singles draw of the competition, while the tandem of Schutting and Goransson will additionally compete in the doubles competition.

Since the teammates have only played in one tournament thus far, it is difficult to predict the level of success each Bear will have against the nation’s top talent.

“In national events, you have to take it match to match,” Augustus said. “We’ll adjust as needed. I think we’ll go round to round.”

The talent that the Bears will take on include last year’s finalist Jacqueline Cako from Arizona State. In addition, the top 10 ranked doubles pairs will all make an appearance, including overall No. 1 Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian from USC.

The No. 3 duo of Schutting and Goransson, the doubles champion of the Cal Nike Invitational, will face its first real challenge of the season as it will square off against the other duos that comprise the top 10.

Although the pair emerged victorious from the Cal Nike Invitational, Schutting believes that the pair can build off of and improve from last weekend.

“We can definitely improve, especially at the net,” said Schutting. “We can use more tactics, and trust each other more.”

On the singles side of the competition, Zsofi Susanyi figures to be challenged more frequently than she was last weekend.

No. 5 Susanyi at one point won thirteen games in a row and ended up taking first place at the Cal Nike Invitational. Susanyi made it clear, however, that although the national expectations of her may be high going into the All-American Championships, she won’t let it affect her play.

“I don’t really care about expectations,” Susanyi said. “Of course I listen to them, but I just want to play my best.”

While this week will provide a good measurement of where the Bears are at this point in the fall campaign, Augustus hopes that the Bears will walk away victorious.

“The goal is to do as well as we can,” Augustus said. “Hopefully we’ll come home with some hardware of some sort.”

Sean Wagner-McGough covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected]