Unseeded freshman Alysia May of UCLA used an aggressive baseline game to upset top-seeded Janna Kovacevich of Pepperdine, 6-2, 7-5, to win the women’s Rolex Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Assn. Southern California championships Sunday at UC Irvine.
May, playing in her first collegiate tournament, kept Kovacevich off-balance in the first set with a series of low, hard ground shots. She then fought off Kovacevich’s comeback attempt in the second set to take the match.
Later, Kovacevich teamed with Carrie Crisell to defeat Pepperdine’s Camilla Ohrman and Anna Brunstrum, 6-4, 6-3, to take the doubles championship. May and Kovacevich will compete in the ICTA national indoor championships Feb. 9-12 at the University of Minnesota. The winning doubles team also earned a trip to that event.
“She just made these unbelievable passing shots on me in the first set,” Kovacevich said of May. “She just didn’t miss in the first set. In the second set, I hit the balls deeper with more topspin, but she just kept coming on.”
Kovacevich, ranked 12th in the preseason college rankings, broke May’s serve in the fourth game of the second set to tie the set, 2-2. The Pepperdine sophomore then fought off a series of May backhands to hold service and take a 3-2 lead.
After May held her serve to tie the set at 3-3, the two players fought through 6 deuces in the seventh game, Kovacevich finally winning the game when a return by May sailed out.
May then held serve to tie the set and then broke Kovacevich’s serve to take a 5-4 lead. But a double fault and 3 return errors by May gave Kovacevich a 5-5 tie.
Two Kovacevich double faults helped May take a 6-5 lead, and she closed out the match with a series of well-placed angle shots and a service winner.