Sunday, September 25, 2011

Facing Faceys jolts opponent

   Now Jacqueline Cako knows what Yogi Berra meant when he said, "It's like deja vu all over again."
   Cako had a surreal experience when she faced the Faceys back to back in singles qualifying for the recent $25,000 Oak River Rehab Challenger in Redding.
   Cako, a sophomore at Arizona State seeded first in qualifying, beat the 18-year-old twins from the Sacramento suburb of Cameron Park by almost identical scores to advance to the main draw. Alexandra lost 6-2, 6-0 in the first round, and Kat fell 6-2, 6-2 the next day in the second round.
   "It was pretty funny," said the 5-foot-10 Cako, who lost to University of Florida junior and eventual semifinalist Allie Will in the second round. "It's never happened to me. I played on the same court, I warmed up with the same person, and I was following the same person as the day before. It was like the day before all over again."
   Cako, a pre-med major from Brier, Wash., near Seattle who took a year off after high school to play professional tennis, plans to graduate in 2 1/2 years because she's eager to return to the circuit. She reached the round of 16 in the NCAA championships at Stanford in May.
   Cako said the Faceys have "very similar" games featuring powerful serves and two-handed forehands and backhands.  
   The Ponderosa High School graduates received a wild card into the main draw of doubles in Redding. Playing as amateurs in their first professional tournament, they lost to unseeded Julia Boserup, 20, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Malou Ejdesgaard, 20, of Denmark 6-0, 6-4 in the first round. Boserup went on to win her first professional singles title.
   Three days after the doubles loss, the Faceys left for UC Irvine to begin their freshman year on full scholarships.
   Christina Fusano, a 30-year-old Ponderosa graduate who retired early this month after eight years on the professional circuit, has practiced frequently with the Faceys in the last two years.
   "They're really athletic and talented but need coaching and matches," said Fusano, now an assistant coach for the UC Davis women. "They will really develop in college. I'm bummed because we play Irvine. (The Faceys) looked at Davis, but (head coach Bill Maze) only had one scholarship (available)."    
   Somewhat surprisingly, neither of the Faceys named twins Bob and Mike Bryan, the No. 1 men's doubles team in the world, as tennis idols.
   Alexandra chose Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. "Both play every point, have a lot of motivation and never give up," she said.
   Kat picked Alexandra and their mother, Kim, who played No. 2 singles at Auburn in the late 1980s and coaches her daughters.
   The Facey twins, however, did meet the Bryans at a doubles invitational in New York two years ago.
   Unlike the Bryans, the Faceys are not identical twins. At 5-foot-9, Alexandra is two inches taller than Kat. And whereas Bob is left-handed and Mike right, both Faceys are right-handed.
   Kim and her husband -- Mike, an information technology consultant -- have one other child. Michael is a junior on the University of Montana tennis team.
   When asked if Alexandra and Kat have pro potential, Fusano said: "I don't see why not. They have big games, but they have a long way to go. First, they have four years of college."
   As Berra said, "You can observe a lot by watching."
   WTA tour -- Kops-Jones and fellow Californian Abigail Spears, coming off the women's doubles title in Quebec City, defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan and Zhang Shuai of China 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the first round of doubles in the $2.05 million Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

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