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Freshman Cargill Is Champion

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TIMES STAFF WRITER

Aarthi Venkatesan, the top-seeded player at the Women’s All-American Tennis Championship, admits she’ll be ready to retire from competitive tennis at the end of this year.

Sunday, the senior who led Georgia to the NCAA championship got an early indication of what the next generation has to offer.

Duke freshman Ansley Cargill, a wild-card entry who has been top-ranked in the U.S. Tennis Assn.’s 18-and-under rankings, ushered out Venkatesan, 6-4, 6-4, in the All-American final at Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades.

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Cargill broke serve to take 3-0 leads in each set and put the finishing touches on the match by breaking Venkatesan’s serve at love in the final game.

Not that Venkatesan, a native of Brisbane, Australia, who has risen to become one of the top-ranked college players, made it easy on Cargill. The Georgia senior rallied in the first set to cut Cargill’s lead to 4-3.

That’s when Duke Coach Jamie Ashworth had seen enough.

He moved down from the stands to sit near his freshman the rest of the match and told her to concentrate on hitting toward the middle of the court to take the angles away from Venkatesan.

Venkatesan was visibly frustrated as she tried to adjust, at times talking to herself and yelling, “C’mon you’re better than this!”

“I don’t usually do that, but today I was frustrated,” she said. “I didn’t play the tennis I would’ve liked to play . . . because Ansley didn’t let me play the way I would’ve liked, she had a lot to do that.”

In the second set, Cargill started quickly again with a service break and a strong service game that included three consecutive aces. Yet her coach watched her allow Venkatesan to get back into the match, tying the second set at 3-3.

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“She was a little nervous,” Ashworth said.

The two then held serve until the 10th game when Cargill broke Venkatesan’s serve at love.

“She just hit all the big points today,” Venkatesan said.

Cargill has big plans too.

“I want to play professionally, that’s definitely a dream of mine,” she said. “But it’s college for now.”

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