Saturday, May 24, 2014

Cal's Chi upsets top seed to reach NCAA semis

   Unseeded Lynn Chi of Cal ousted top-seeded and top-ranked Jamie Loeb of North Carolina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 today to reach the women's semifinals at the NCAA Championships in Athens, Ga.
   Chi, a freshman from Weston, Fla., ranked 24th, improved to 37-10. Loeb, a freshman from Ossining, N.Y., fell to 53-4.
   "Lynn came out a little bit nervous today, but with her progression and maturity, she was able to shake it off and execute the game plan,” Cal coach Amanda Augustus said on calbears.com. “She kept going for shorter balls, was willing to come in and was doing all the things she had been practicing. But now she’s gaining in confidence and starting to see all the options she has on the court.
   "Lynn hits the ball as clean as anyone in the country. It’s great to see her just play the match and not get distracted by the moment or who she was playing. That’s been huge, along with her just working and getting better every match she played.”
   Meanwhile, all of the remaining men with Northern California ties lost in the singles or doubles quarterfinals.
   Chi's victory marked the second time in the tournament that she beat a seed after losing the first set. She saved a match point in her 2-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1 victory over No. 9-16 seed Emina Bektas of Michigan in the first round.
   After that match, Augustus said Chi's "fitness was a major weapon in the third set in comparison to her opponent."
   In addition, Chi dismissed No. 8 seed Jennifer Brady of national champion UCLA 6-3, 6-2 in the third round.
   All semifinalists are unseeded.
   Chi's opponent, Abigail Tere-Apisah of Georgia State, today at 9 a.m. PDT (live streaming and scoring at www.georgiadogs.com) also beat a seed today after dropping the first set. She outlasted No. 5 Beatrice Capra of Duke 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.
   Chi and Tere-Apisah, who beat 2012 semifinalist Zsofi Susanyi of Cal in the second round,  have never met.
   "Being in the semifinals is something to definitely look forward to," Chi said before the match between Tere-Apisah and Capra. "It is a bit of a surprise for me. I'm not used to having these kind of results. I know they are both really good players, so I'm just going to watch a little bit and go out there and try my best tomorrow."
   In the other semifinal, Danielle Collins of Virginia will meet Ester Goldfeld of Duke. Collins outlasted No. 7 Hayley Carter of North Carolina 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, and Goldfeld topped No. 9-16 Chanelle Van Nguyen of UCLA 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
   Collins has defeated three seeds (No. 9-16 seed Anett Schutting of Cal in the second round, No. 2 Robin Anderson of UCLA in the third round and Carter), and Goldfeld has beaten three Pacific-12 Conference players (unseeded Denise Starr of Cal in the first round, unseeded Krista Hardebeck of Stanford in the second round and Van Nguyen).
   On the men's side, second-seeded Marcos Giron of UCLA dispatched unseeded Ben McLachlan of Cal 6-1, 6-3. Earlier, No. 9-16 seed Soren Hess-Olesen of Texas subdued unseeded Mackenzie McDonald, a UCLA freshman from Piedmont in the San Francisco Bay Area, 6-3, 0-6, 6-2.
   Giron will play Hess-Olesen, and Alex Sarkissian of Pepperdine will take on Denis Nguyen of Harvard in a matchup of unseeded players.
   In doubles, second-seeded Mikelis Libietis and Hunter Reese of Tennessee defeated unseeded Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton of Cal 7-5, 6-3.

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