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Ojai Valley Tournament : Pearce and Fendick Play According to Form

<i> Times Sports Editor </i>

The 87th Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament belonged to Brad Pearce and Patty Fendick, just as it was supposed to. The tournament committee had seeded them No. 1 in the feature events, the Pacific 10 singles, and both won titles Sunday.

Pearce, a UCLA sophomore from Provo, Utah, did his usual workmanlike job in the men’s final, beating UCLA’s No. 2 player, Michael Kures, 6-4, 6-2. Kures won the 1984 Ojai title but missed the tournament last year with an injury.

Fendick, a Stanford junior from Sacramento who, like Pearce, plays No. 1 for her college team, beat Patricia Hy of UCLA in the women’s Pac-10 final, 6-2, 6-4. Hy had a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Fendick stormed back and broke Hy’s serve in the last game for her 6-4 win.

The only thing that might have detracted slightly from Pearce’s and Fendick’s titles was the absence of Rick Leach and Caroline Kuhlman of USC. They are the No. 1-ranked collegiate players in the United States, but Leach stayed home with a sore elbow and USC opted to have Kuhlman play doubles only here. Leach beat Pearce twice this season, and Kuhlman beat Fendick three times.

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But Pearce and Fendick got the titles--designated since 1981 as the official Pac-10 singles championships--and also had their thoughts afterward about the absences of their higher-ranked rivals.

“Yes, I guess it would have been a little better if Ricky had been here,” Pearce said. “But what makes me feel good is that I was seeded No. 1 and I won the tournament. That’s hard to do.”

And Fendick said: “Yes, I was a little disappointed she (Kuhlman) didn’t play singles here, but I guess I’ll run into her pretty soon in the nationals anyway.”

Pearce will turn pro after this season, and Fendick will do the same after she completes her college eligibility in 1987.

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Both played familiar opponents Sunday. Pearce, of course, knows his teammate’s game well, and Fendick said of playing Hy:

“We’ve played a million times. We were roommates at Nick Bollettieri’s camp, and when we play, we usually have knock-down, drag-out matches. That’s why I was disappointed that it took her so long to get started. But once she did, well, you saw it . . . “

Pepperdine, the nation’s No. 1-ranked collegiate team, was somewhat lost in the shuffle here, since top billing traditionally goes to the Pac-10 events. The Waves took both the men’s singles and doubles in the Independent Collegiate category. Kelly Jones beat teammate Robbie Weiss in the singles final, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, and Jones and Weiss combined to win the doubles against a team from UC Irvine.


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