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Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Freeman last day

Had to recuperate.

Really it's downright criminal there being only one rest area on the way home -_-  Same as I-5 south to San Diego. Always the other one is closed.  Ideally there should be one per hour(drive), at least one per 2 hours. It's really a criminal negligence! Is American Privatization at work here or what, or did the roadside restaurants lobby the government lol.  Less rest areas, the more possibility of driver fatigue and hence the chance of unfortunate accidents, no?  Such a shame.  [/End of Rant]

Can't do this, really, 4-hour drive is just too much, I need a designated driver!

Again couldn't bird the Preserve much, this time only the eastern portion. Spotted Say's Phoebe and female Common Yellowthroat(which isn't common there). I see that other birders recorded Orange-crowned Warbler at ebird and although it is confusing, methinks I did spot COYE..well, who knows.  Other highlights were 5 Black-tailed Gnatcatchers and 2 Verdins, desert-specific species; purposely walked the outer park edge to spot those desert species(so didn't concentrate on the ponds much). Missed Wilson's Snipe and Loggerhead Shrike.
So..spotted 43 species there this time. LA county, 115 so far this year.

Again thanks to UNLV for providing us with a delicious lunch, and to Dzina for 'delivering' it to me haha. Coach Cory's kid wore a UCLA hood t, where did he get that? Too bad coach Kalbas's son wasn't there this time to play with him :)

I see that the whole Tar Heels squad bar Marika was present, why was she left behind lol.

Hastily bid farewell to the coaches and got the hell out as soon as the final match was finished(only coaches Forood, Brown, Cory and his son, and UNLV trainer were present; others all got out before the match start, including coach Burdette; should joke to her about the 'Burdette Dynasty' sometime, should've done it there, maybe next time!), wanting to get home as soon as possible.

Copied scores from UF and OSU websites;


(1) #2 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (UNC) def. Chalena Scholl/Kaitlyn McCarthy (DUKE) 6-2

Star Wars. All 4 boast excellent junior doubles pedigrees.
Naturally concentrated on this match, court 1. My overall impression(or after reading what I've scribbled on my notepad), not only in this match, was that service returns were good. The ones that stood out with their 'failed' execution were by the Waves haha, Ahmed/Maddox.

Methinks the Devil's serves were a bit more unstable. Certainly both Tar Heels are good servers(albeit getting hit return winners now and then).

As usual the Tar Heels' defense was outstanding, and it probably decided the outcome of both matches. And Aney's poaching was again quite effective.  The Devils did commit some errors, Tar Heels were probably a bit more solid.

Some failed executions of overheads here and there, Aney twice, Stefani, Austin?, etc.

(2) #3 Mayar Sherif Ahmed/Christine Maddox (PEPP) def. (4) #9 Ena Shibahara/Jada Hart (UCLA) 7-6

Shibahara's frequent lob means that the Waves approached the net aggressively(as their wont).
Really impressed with Maddox's defense yesterday during those two matches. She's known for her aggression(again made a service return winner on Shibahara, like last time at SW Regional. Yup this Waves team is 2-0 against the USO Junior Doubles champs), but showed some very good defense as well.  As good as Ahmed is, of course you can't single-handedly win matches especially against elite teams. I actually noticed her strong singles play(she was a good server) during her junior years, but she has successfully 'reinvented' herself after injuries during college years. Quite a success story.

Methinks the Waves could have actually won easier(they won 8-4 at the Regional), had it not been for their execrable service returns haha. Probably the opponent servers intended the course(both Bruins and Tar Heels), but their bh service returns weren't good, botched a lot of them.


(1) #2 Jessie Aney/Hayley Carter (UNC) def. (2) #3 Mayar Sherif Ahmed/Christine Maddox (PEPP) 7-6

Explained already on the recap on SF. It really was a great match, the Waves' inherent aggression more than a match for the Tar Heels' brilliant defense. But probably those attacks weren't sharp enough to gain the decisive advantage. And as I said, their service returns left something to be desired.

So this Tar Heels team defended the title, quite a feat. Carter really has cemented herself as an all-time great, especially in doubles, winning 2 slams as well(with Kay won NIIC, with Aney won WAATC, did I get it right). Singles, probably one of the greatest slamless competitors lol, making Quarterfinals 6 times, Semifinals 5 times. That's only behind Juricova, and if she can make the NCAA Semifinal, can tie with Juricova's record 6(Juricova's Quarterfinal appearance is safe though).
Oh she must hate no ad lol, heard she lost all 7 points against Di Lorenzo in the NIIC final. Will be interesting to see if her Slam quest(be it NCAA team or Singles) will bear fruit.

Laura Gulbe/Dzina Milovanovic (PEPP) def. Paola Artiga/Anna Bogoslavets (UNLV) 6-0


#58 Aliona Bolsova/Sofia Bianco (OSU) def. Brooke Austin/Spencer Liang (UF) 7-6

Played at court 8 so could watch(as I said I concentrated on OSU players, since I won't have chance to watch them more this season, same as UNC and Duke players). 
Again so impressed with the Cowgirls' composure and touch. So good. They're definitely not 'Cow on Ice'!  Bolsova doesn't jump on overhead but made difficult angled ones. Both exploit the lines quite well, shallow-angled? volleys/drives. Their ranking is too low lol, but wonder which dual position they'll play.
Methinks Austin held her serve pretty well.

 Chloe Ouelett-Pizer/Rachael James-Baker (UNC) def. Viktoriya Lushkova/Katarina Adamovic (OSU) W/O

Two senior Cowgirls didn't play, enjoying the luxury haha.

#58 Aliona Bolsova/Sofia Bianco (OSU) def. Chloe Ouelett-Pizer/Rachael James-Baker (UNC) 6-3

Was surprised to find the Cowgirls promptly warming up again lol. Blanco's serve was from then on rather unstable, probably contributed to her loss against Doyle.

Taylor Davidson/Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) def. Meible Chi/Alyssa Smith (DUKE)  6-2

Court 6, so couldn't watch, too bad(played simultaneously with MD semis).

Cristina Moroi/Jovana Kenic (UNLV) def. Paulette Wolak/Liz Yao (STAN) 6-2

Ingrid Neel/Anna Danilina (UF) def. #8 Luisa Stefani/Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEPP) 7-5

Played too far away at court 10 or something, Stefani's matches were usually inaccessible this tournament. Still tried to glimpse now and then, and Stefani seemed 'rampant' at the start lol, making good plays. The Waves actually led, at least till 5-4.

Wonder what their doubles order will be. S/R played #1 last season and they did make WAATC final last Fall, but from then on are on a 5-match losing streak(UNC, Oklahoma, Baylor, Stanford and Florida). Ahmed/Maddox is a new team yet they already scored some major wins, losing only 3 times so far(NU, Syracuse, UNC). They have a win over the reigning NIIC champ and #1 UK team, and also against Oklahoma State, Stanford and UCLA(twice).

Terri Fleming/Alaina Miller (UCLA) def. Cassandra Vazquez/Alexa Graham 6-3

Missed this match too, probably played far from the clubhouse. UNC doubles could be vulnerable, other than Aney/Carter.

Carol Yang/En-Pei Huang (UNLV) def. Makenna Jones/Maggie Kane (UNC) 6-2

Missed this as well.



Melissa Lord (STAN) defIngrid Neel (UF) 6-7, 6-4, 6-3

Lord of the Baseline; lorded over the baseline lol. Probably won the baseline contest. In fact she was the best hitter of the tournament, imo. Consistently sent deep flat lethal drives, left and right, eventually gaining the upper hand many times(this also applies to the final against Shibahara). She always had power but thought consistency was the problem, but she's good enough now. Only lost one match this season(guess who). 

Neel's defensive fh seemed quite good. Just hit right back, flat. Could exploit the sidelines quite well, offensively. Net approaches were as usual effective. Her jumping bh winner was probably one of the shots of the day.

Didn't particularly notice serve problem in this match, methinks. I mean it wasn't a crucial factor imo(It was 2nd sp though, her DFing). Methinks she tried drop shotting later on(Shibahara did it too methinks), but Lord generally handled those well, passing, etc. Neel also didn't help with her errors, same as Shibahara(the match seems quite similar, SF and F. Shibahara had some trouble coping with Lord's lethal drives painting the baseline, missing twice and botching some).

(1) #4 Ena Shibahara (UCLA) def. (6) #22 Mayar Sherif Ahmed (PEPP) 6-4, 6-3

Again, Ahmed's bad bh service return. That probably cost the match. Could attack at times, but overall, not good.
Otherwise, pretty much faultless. Moves decently for her size, can crank up the pace on her fh at will, possess one of the best varieties in the game, etc..

Chloe Ouelett-Pizer/Rachael James-Baker (UNC) def. Viktoriya Lushkova/Katarina Adamovic (OSU) W/O

(7) #30 Anna Danilina (UF) def. (2) #8 Luisa Stefani (PEPP) 7-6, 4-6, 7-5

Similar pattern with her match against Lord, Stefani was uber-aggressive, bashing at will(this match was played far away though, so only could glimpse now and then). Danilina was actually leading throughout but I see that Stefani caught up, finally managing to win the 2nd set.

So, like Lord, Danilina is poised to jump up from her singles position #6 last season. Or will she? Haha. Gators are just that deep. For example Keegan defeated Stefani too at WAATC. The only Gator who's overtly struggling is Austin, but she didn't play much this season.

You know, Liang is G16 National Finalist(lost to McPhillips) and Porter(defeated Alyssa Smith), winner. And they might not start in singles. Or doubles(Liang/Porter won EB G18). Crazy, isn't it. One could say it's such a waste of talent..wonder if they'll start against USC(al).

#48 Carol Yang (UNLV) def. Spencer Liang (UF) 6-2, 5-7, 11-9

Another huge win by Yang. The match seemed quite tight, couldn't watch much though.

Cristina Moroi (UNLV) def. Liz Yao (STAN) 7-5, 7-5
Mercedes Lopez (UNLV) def. Paulette Wolak (STAN) 6-0, 6-1
Alaina Miller (UCLA) def. Maggie Kane (UNC) 6-3, 6-3
En-Pei Huang (UNLV) def. Christine Maddox (PEPP) W/O

Aliona Bolsova (OSU) def. Taylor Davidson (STAN) 6-1, 6-1

Court 6 so could watch some, but the match was already progressed far ahead when I finally got the chance to go there. Bolsova just too good. Wonder which singles position will she play.

Emily Arbuthnott (STAN) def. #45 Makenna Jones (UNC) 6-1, 6-3

2nd set was actually quite competitive.

Brooke Austin (UF) def. Chloe Ouelett-Pizer (UNC) 6-4, 6-4

Austin was in agony after dumping drives haha(Neel too).
Why COP is such a good defender despite her size; she's ceaselessly moving. Saw her immediately sprint to the opposite direction right after hitting, anticipating Austin's return. So could return another of Austin's lethal drive right away. Can generally handle pace, of course.

Jada Hart (UCLA) def. Cassandra Vazquez (UNC) 6-0, 6-4

Too bad I missed this, court 5 or something.

Terri Fleming (UCLA) def. Dzina Milovanovic (PEPP) W/O

Melissa Lord (STAN) def. (1) #4 Ena Shibahara (UCLA) 6-3, 6-3

Lord doesn't necessarily hit massively, sorta guides the ball on her fh, but nevertheless can produce impressive pace. As I said her deep groundstrokes discomfited Shibahara a lot. Shibahara's serve was a problem throughout the tournament(not necessarily her fault, the opponents attacked those well, too), and it really came to a head early on, DFed some and that led to early trailing 0-3. Won the next two games, but hard to overcome that initial deficit.
Like Neel, made some drive errors as well. Began to approach the net from the 2nd set, it wasn't without effect, also like Neel employed drop shots. As I said, like against Neel, Lord passed pretty well.

That's it. Will for sure attend Pepperdine NTI Regional, and UCSB, Denver, SJSU away matches..we'll see.  Wonder who's playing LBSU invite this weekend.

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