Saturday, February 23, 2013

Chirico Reaches Surprise $25K Final; UCLA Men Defeat USC Via Another Third Set Tiebreaker; Florida and Stanford Women Meet Sunday; Delray Qualifying Underway


Sixteen-year-old qualifier Louisa Chirico of New York picked up the best win of her career Saturday to reach the final of the $25,000 Pro Circuit event in Surprise Arizona. Chirico, who trains at the USTA National Center in Flushing Meadows, defeated top seed and former WTA No. 25 Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, winning the last four games of the match. Gajdosova, who reached the fourth round at both Wimbledon and Roland Garros in 2010, is now ranked 164. Perhaps the most impressive part of Chirico's seven wins this week is that she dropped the first set in all four of her main draw victories. She will play unseeded Tara Moore of Great Britain in Sunday's final. Chirico already has a Pro Circuit title to her credit at the $10,000 tournament in Sumter SC last year, where she qualified and won nine matches, beating Vicky Duval in the final.

It's hard to imagine two teams more evenly matched than the USC and UCLA men, who again needed a third-set tiebreaker in the last match on to determine the winner on Friday.  Last week, USC's Roberto Quiroz defeated UCLA's Adrien Puget in a third-set tiebreaker give the Trojans a 4-3 win and a berth in the ITA Men's Team Indoor final. Last night, the Bruins went into USC's Marks Stadium and came away with a 4-3 win, with Marcos Giron of the Bruins outlasting Emilio Gomez in a third-set tiebreaker at No. 2 singles to take a 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) victory.

As UCLA coach Billy Martin says in this UCLA release, "it's as close as I've seen the UCLA-USC rivalry in all my years of coaching."

The No. 3 Bruins and No. 2 Trojans meet again, this time in conference play at UCLA, on April 19th. Then Ojai, for the Pac-12 men's team tournament, and, most likely, in the NCAAs. Who would venture to guess which team will win any of those matches?

Sunday is the first CollegeMatch day, with the No. 13 Stanford women playing No. 4 Florida in Gainesville. Both teams defeated No. 18 Clemson this weekend, with the Gators beating the Tigers 6-1 Friday and Stanford winning 5-2 today. The 2011 NCAA final rematch is scheduled for 11 a.m. and will be webcast by Ken Thomas at radiotennis.com. There is no charge for listening to Ken's call of the match.

The qualifying for the ATP Delray Beach tournament includes many familiar young Americans, with Bradley Klahn, Chase Buchanan and Denis Kudla among those who won their first round matches.  Jared Hiltzik, now a freshman at the University of Illinois, was in the qualifying, apparently as a result of his performance in the USTA Clay Courts last year, even though he and George Goldhoff ended up flipping a coin for the gold ball after the final was rained out.  Hiltzik lost to Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4.