Jones and Liversage Win Hard Court Championships in San Diego
by Marc Lucero, 20 June 2008
One of the better kept secrets in tennis is the USTA National Open Hard Court Championships in sunny San Diego, Calif., held at the Balboa Tennis Club July 9-15. Not many tournaments offer the triple crown of possible prizes: USTA Pro Circuit Wild Cards, gold/silver/bronze balls, and decent prize money. These three things combine to bring in an attractive field made up of current college players, some juniors, and a strong contingent of very good local former college players still in their twenties. It also makes for some great and interesting matches.
Former Arizona State star and WTA Tour player Allison Bradshaw has dominated this event in recent years but ran into a very match-tough McCall Jones in the quarterfinals and came up short. The future BYU Cougar then met Chelsea Orr, who just finished her career at the University of Oklahoma. Orr had earned her place in the semifinals by besting USC's Sarah Fansler in straight sets. Jones, playing well after a strong showing in the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Carson, got past Orr to earn a spot in the finals.
The bottom quarter was probably the strongest section of the draw and featured some battles in the round of 16. USC's Lyndsay Kinstler
faced off with Brown
standout Bianca Aboubakare
on a back court, and the two rising sophomores battled for almost three hours before the Ivy League Rookie of the Year Aboubakare prevailed in the third set. Two courts over, another Trojan was locked in an equally long match. Maria Sanchez
was taking on incoming UCLA
freshman Alexandria Walters
. Sanchez came out strong, but Walters was able to raise her level and get through in three sets. Walters was unable to continue her run as she lost to Aboubakare in straight sets in the quarterfinals. This win propelled Aboubakare into the semis where she beat local player April Bisharat, who quietly made her way through the softest quarter of the draw, taking out San Diego State
's Esther Cadua along the way.
The final round match up of McCall Jones versus Bianca Aboubakare was looking like a potentially good match as both women had only lost one set on their way to the finals, each in the Round of 16, Jones against Antonina Grib, and Aboubakare against Kinstler. There was little suspense in this championship match, though, as Jones handled Aboubakare in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0.