Jensen Secures Spot In History With Title

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Amy Jensen is no stranger to the hoopla that winning a national championship entails. After all, she's won the women's NCAA doubles championship three years running.

But Jensen's 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 victory with partner Claire Curran over Georgia's Marissa Catlin and Lori Grey in Malibu, Calif., Friday was distinctly different from her previous two titles.

Not only is Jensen no longer sharing the limelight with Amanda Augustus, her former teammate and doubles partner in her previous tournament appearances, but Jensen is now the only player in NCAA history to have captured the doubles crown three consecutive years.

"I don't know that it's really sunk in yet," Jensen said. "It's been a different year and I've had a different role on the team as far as being more of a leader. All that, combined with my exhaustion after the match, and I really haven't thought about making history or anything."

As a team, Cal reached the semifinals of tournament before falling to Stanford for the fourth time this year.

In order to get over the disappointing team finish and get fired up for the doubles portion of the tournament Jensen needed look no further than the reason she was in Malibu in the first place - good tennis.

"I think before the doubles matches I had lost touch with the excitement of winning and being a champion," Jensen said. "But then I started watching the (NCAA team) finals between Georgia and Stanford and I was feeling the nerves that the players on the court were feeling, remembering what it was like to do battle, and I think that really got me going."

Jensen and Curran jumped out to a quick start against Catlin and Grey, garnering a 4-1 lead in the first set. But the Bulldogs' tandem took advantage of Cal miscues and won the next five games to claim the set, 6-4.

Jensen and Curran were able to regroup and discard their nerves enough to get out to another early lead in the second set. The duo broke two of Georgia's three service games and rolled on to win the set, 6-1.

"I think Claire got a little anxious and I let my game slip a little in the first set, but during the match I wasn't really focusing on the ramifications of winning or losing," Jensen said. "I think my ability to stay in the present and Claire's intensity helped us get back into the match."

The tandem's intensity ultimately pulled it through a hard-fought third set. Catlin and Grey stood to win with a 5-4 advantage at one point.

It was then that Jensen and Curran took advantage of their aggressive playing styles and hard-hitting serves to clinch the match with a 7-5 victory in the third set.

"One of the great things about Claire and I is that we are both intense players that exude a lot of energy on the court," Jensen said. "We didn't start thinking, 'What if,' in any of the sets, and we just reached down inside to pull the win out."

Prior to reaching the finals, Jensen and Curran had to navigate through rather steep competition.

The duo upset No. 3 Alison Bradshaw and Lelena McCoury of Arizona State in the round of 16 last Wednesday night before posting a 6-3, 6-4 win over Paola Salencia and Ipek Senoglu of Pepperdine in the semifinals Thursday.


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