Oct. 7, 2007
LOS ANGELES - California women's tennis senior Susie Babos won her second-straight singles title Sunday at the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships presented by Fila at the Riviera Tennis Club in Los Angeles. The All-American event is the first of three national championship events during the 2007-08 collegiate tennis season. The others are the ITA National Indoor Championships (which Babos now automatically qualifies for) and the NCAA Championships in the spring.
Babos, seeded No. 4, defeated Ani Mijacika of Clemson 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in today's final. Babos is the first player since San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova (1998-99) to repeat as ITA All-American singles champion. Two other players have also won consecutive titles - Stanford's Sandra Birch in 1989-90 and Mississippi's Paloma Collantes in 1991-92. Mijacika was the first Clemson player to reach the All-American singles final. She had upset the No. 2 and 6 seeds en route to reaching the championship match-up against Babos.
Babos, a senior from Sopron, Hungary, has won 10 straight matches over the last two years at the All-American and 12 of 13 over the last three years. The championship match was the fourth national final appearance of her career and third title, she also captured the 2006 NCAA crown. Both of her final appearances at Riviera went three sets, last year she topped Fresno State's Melanie Gloria.
The first set stayed close and on serve the whole way but at the critical points of the set, Babos was able to force Mijacika to play a couple of extra balls on several service returns by getting herself into many points and setting herself up in the middle to finish rallies. Slipping a little in the second set, Babos' mistakes allowed Mijacika to climb back into match contention. After a long game at 3-2 in the third set, Babos turned the corner by making clean and strong returns and pulled away to win the championship.
Babos and rest of the Golden Bears will participate in the St. Mary's Invitational next weekend (Oct. 12-14) in Moraga, Calif.
Cal Women's Tennis Head Coach Amanda Augustus
On Babos' second All-American Championship
"I think at this point in her career, the biggest thing is how historic this achievement is. She really wants to leave her mark, not only on Cal tennis but on collegiate women's tennis and Susie [Babos] is now on her way to being one of the greatest collegiate players to have ever played."
On Babos' focus and concentration through three sets
"She has been proving herself to be really coachable and focused all week. She's really taken herself one match at a time and hasn't been worried about protecting her title. She just went out there and played and when she does that, she plays her best."
On what the win means for the team as a whole
"Susie has been working really hard and is in great shape this year. She's been putting in the time and doing so much extra work, I think the win helps make the team better as a whole by making an impression on the others to get on board with her and work just as hard."
Cal Senior Susie Babos
"It was a pretty tough match and I expected it to be tough. Altogether, I'm really happy with how I did because I tried not to have very many high expectations for myself this weekend. I thought I kept myself together pretty well both physically and mentally."
"I think it was more of a valuable personal experience to have won the championship this year. Last year, coming in after winning NCAA's, I may have put too much pressure on myself to perform. This time, I didn't have anything big under my belt yet so I think I was able to play more free and loose."