Aug. 13, 2003
The battle was classic, but the war is far from over between two freshmen destined to become the nation's premier rivalry. Defending USTA Girls 18's Super Hard Court Champion Alexandra Podkolzina of Cal put up a valiant effort against Stanford freshman, No. 4 ranked, Theresa Logar, but came up short in her quest to repeat as champion.
Despite laboring noticeably with an upper hamstring injury Podkolzina produced a strong performance, only fading late to fall to her counterpart from the Farm (2-6, 6-3, 6-4) at the Almaden Valley Athletic Country Club in San Jose, Califor.
"My goal for the tournament was to play well, but I did not do that," the Cal freshmen explained. "I had a couple of long matches early in the tournament that, coupled with some injuries, really wore me down."
Hailing from Northgate High School in Concord, the Russia native Podkolzina was ranked as the No. 1 Girls' 18-and-under-junior player, according to the USTA National Junior Rankings, making her the highest ranked tennis recruit to ever wear the blue and gold.
Podkolzina started the day blistering hot, matching the heat in the Silicon Valley. With pinpoint accuracy, she took control early, winning the first set quickly 6-2.
However, Logar was able to recover in the second set when Podkolzina aggravated her hamstring.
"I have not been 100 percent for about eight months now," explained Cal's prize recruit. "It is one those things that pops up and goes away when it wants to."
In a turnaround that resembled the difference between night and day, Logar was able to match Podkolzina at a set a piece with a just-as-dominating, 6-3 victory in the second set.
In the third set, both players came out like champions, exhibiting breathtaking rallies, and then ending them with riveting smashes, from imaginative angles. With the deciding set tied at three, Logar made her move, taking advantaged of a battered and bruised Podkolzina in outscoring her 3-1 to become the USTA Girls 18's Super National Champion.
Podkolzina lost the match but she gained a lot of respect from her teammates and Cal followers, due to with her impressive display of heart and passion for a sport that she truly loves.
"I play because it makes me happy," said Podkolzina. "I was not going to miss this match. The drive to win is embedded in my personality. I need that adrenaline rush that comes from playing tennis."
The match should be the first of many classic matches between the two instant rivals. But Podkolzina is not looking any farther than the next time they meet.
"I know I will get my rematch," Podkolzina said. "The rivalry between the two schools and close proximity guarantees it."
Bay Area tennis fans are in for a treat over the next four years, as they have the opportunity to watch two of tennis' budding stars develop underneath the nurturing shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.