Cal takes Pac-10 doubles title

Photo: Jana Juricova  won the doubles title.
Ashley Chen/File
Jana Juricova won the doubles title.

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Since winning the 2009 NCAA doubles championship, the top-ranked duo of Jana Juricova and Mari Andersson has been chasing another trophy to add to their collection.

This weekend in the Pac-10 tournament championship game, the pair engraved their names to their first Pac-10 trophy.

No. 8 Cal women's tennis team went down to Ojai, Calif. this week to participate in the four-day Pac-10 tournament. With a history that originates back to 1899, the competition hosts all the squads in the conference to decide the best singles and doubles players.

Juricova and Andersson triumphed over the fifth-ranked USC partnership of Kaitlyn Christian and Maria Sanchez, 7-6 (8), 4-6, 6-1. This is the first Pac-10 title for the Bears since 2003. Thanks to their victory, they will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Doubles Championships later this month.

On the first day of the tournament, the tandem faced a tough, grinding match against the Trojans' Cristala Andrews and Alison Ramos in the quarterfinals. After soundly defeating Arizona State's Hannah James and Sianna Simmons, 8-1, earlier that day, Juricova and Andersson were situated at a 7-7 gridlock between the Trojans' duo but were able to pull away with the victory, 9-7. The next day, Juricova and Andersson cruised past Stanford's Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs, 8-5, to advance to the finals.

In the first set, both tandems played to the tiebreakers. After initially falling behind on the tiebreakers, Juricova and Andersson muscled in to come back and snatch the first set.

"We knew what we had to do to win the tiebreaker," Juricova said of the game. "Throughout the whole match, Mari and I had the right tactics. It was just a matter of executing it well or not."

The execution fell short in the second set, but during the third set - when physical endurance becomes the main key - Juricova and Andersson dominated, cruising to victory.

Juricova's confidence comes from nearly three years of experience and experimentation with Andersson. They played nearly all top doubles arrangements in the Pac-10 and continued to improve. Now with the senior Andersson set to leave the program in a month, they hope to shine on the top stage one more time.

On singles, all four Bears that participated in the Championships were eliminated in the first day of the tournament. Only Andersson was able to make it to the second round in the tournament.

But not all hopes in singles play were crushed during the weekend in Ojai. Freshman Alice Duranteau won the Pac-10 Invitational Singles, a lower-tier tournament where players who didn't participate in the Championships compete. She defeated Arizona's Susan McRann, 6-3, 7-5 in the finals Sunday to claim the title.

Seung Y. Lee covers women's tennis. Contact him at [email protected]

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