Saturday, November 17

Fifth-seeded Phebus downed 6-2, 6-1 in finals


Fifth-seeded Phebus downed 6-2, 6-1 in finals

Texas senior Kelly Pace prevails at All-American tennis
tournament

By Christopher Isidro

Keri Phebus ­ the fifth-ranked collegiate player in the
nation ­ fell in straight sets to Texas senior Kelly Pace 6-2,
6-1 at the Riviera Women’s All-American Tennis Championship last
Sunday. The loss was a disappointing end to an otherwise fabulous
weekend for the junior and the rest of the UCLA women’s tennis
team.

No. 3 Pace peppered Phebus with solid forehands and backhand
chips, throwing her off-balance for most of the match. Phebus,
meanwhile, sporadically attacked the net and played into Pace’s
game.

"There are very few girls in the country who can hit 10 or 15
ball rallies with Kelly Pace and come out on top," UCLA assistant
coach Henry Himes said. "When [Phebus] gets into these long rallies
with these baseliners, she’s going to wind up making the unforced
error."

The key point of the match occurred at 40-30 in Game 6 of the
first set. Phebus, serving, was seemingly in control of the point
when a Pace backhand slice bounded off the net cord just above
Phebus’s racket as she was preparing to hit the winning volley.
Pace went on to break Phebus’s serve and take the victory.

"You just have to laugh," Phebus said. "When [a net cord]
happens, God is in control and I just don’t let it get to me."

To reach the finals, Phebus dismantled top ranked Lucie
Ludvigova of Texas, 6-4, 6-3. Down 3-0 in the first set, Phebus
found her rhythm and exploited Ludvigova’s weaknesses. She asserted
herself on Ludvigova’s shaky second serve ­ moving well inside
the baseline to receive ­ and constantly approached the
net.

With her semifinal victory, Phebus became the first Bruin to
reach the finals of the WAATC, the second leg of the collegiate
tennis grand slam. Head coach Bill Zaima hopes Phebus’ recent
performances will finally garner her more respect.

"When she’s focused, she’s the best player in the nation," he
said.

* * *

Phebus was not the only Bruin racketeer to have a good weekend
at the Riviera. Fellow junior Jane Chi, just returning from the
Asian Games where she played in the doubles competition, returned
to singles action this weekend in Pacific Palisades. Chi reached
the semifinals where she succumbed to the eventual champion Pace,
6-3, 6-3.

The fired-up Pace quickly seized control of the match, sending
Chi all over the court chasing balls.

"[Chi] hasn’t played singles in a long time," said Zaima, "so
her court coverage is not quite there yet."

* * *

In doubles competition, the second ranked tandem of Phebus and
Susie Starrett were forced to withdraw after Starrett defaulted in
singles play with leg spasms. Freshman Stephanie Chi made her UCLA
debut teaming up with her sister, Jane, and qualified for the main
doubles draw. The Chis were eliminated in the first round.

Three other Bruins made the main singles draw including senior
captain Paige Yaroshuk, Starrett, and Diana Spadea. With five
Bruins among the top 32 in the elite field, Zaima has high hopes
for No. 7 UCLA.

"We are a contender for everything this year," he said.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.