Sunday, September 14, 2014

Doubles champs to play for Redding singles title

Jennifer Brady, left, and Lauren Embree won
the doubles title in the Redding Challenger.
Photo by Stephen Campbell
   Jennifer Brady and Lauren Embree won the doubles title in The Ascension Project $25,000 Women's Challenger on Saturday.
   They will play each other for the first time today at 12:30 for the singles title at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness in Redding, Calif.
   Both players are unseeded Americans who grew up in Florida but have Los Angeles-area ties. Brady, 19, played No. 2 singles as a freshman for UCLA's national championship team in the spring. Embree, 23, lives in nearby Santa Monica.
   They even have similar world rankings. The hard-hitting Brady is No. 524 (46th in the United States), and the counterpunching Embree is No. 527 (47th in the U.S.).
   Brady beat third-seeded Zuzana Zlochova of Slovakia 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday's semifinals, and Embree routed unseeded Alexandra Stevenson 6-0, 6-2. Zlochova (pronounced ZLOCK-ova) had cold symptoms.
Twins Alexandra, left, and Kat Facey, from Cam-
eron Park in the Sacramento area, fell in the
doubles final. Photo by Stephen Campbell
   The 6-foot-1 (1.85-meter) Stevenson, the second-oldest player in the draw at 33, was coming off a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) victory over Saratoga's Michaela Gordon, the youngest at 15 years and 1 month, on Friday. The temperature reached 100 degrees (37.8 Celsius) on both days.
   Fifteen years ago, Stevenson became the first female qualifier to reach the Wimbledon semifinals. The daughter of basketball legend Julius Erving, she climbed to a career-high No. 18 in 2002 before shoulder problems derailed her career. Stevenson is now ranked No. 515.   
   Embree, a former University of Florida All-American, underwent surgery for torn cartilage in her right hip in January and returned to the circuit in late June.
   Brady and Embree coasted past fraternal twins Alexandra and Kat Facey, UC Irvine juniors from Cameron Park in the Sacramento area, 6-3, 6-2 for the doubles title. Both teams were unseeded.
   It was Embree's second straight doubles crown in Redding. She won last year with UCLA star Robin Anderson.    

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