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Monday December 4, 2000

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No. 7 seed takes home both championship titles

Headline Photo


Katalin Marosi-Aracama hits a ball yesterday in the Cigna Heathcare $50,000 Challenger at Robson Tennis Stadium. Marosi-Aracama, ranked No. 126 in the world, won both the singles and doubles titles.

By Lindsey Manroel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Tucson fans enjoy professional women's tennis

Katalin Marosi-Aracama, ranked No. 126 in the world, entertained Tucson fans and a packed house at Arizona's Robson Tennis Center yesterday.

In the Cigna Healthcare $50,000 Challenger, Marosi-Aracama - a No. 7 seed from Hungary - took home both singles and doubles championship titles in yesterday's tournament play.

"I'm very, very satisfied," Marosi-Aracama said. "I came here expecting to win, and I'm really happy that I did."

Marosi-Aracama outplayed the No. 1 seed from Russia, Alina Jidkova, to take home the singles championship match in three sets.

In the first set, with the score tied at 6 games, Marosi-Aracama lost the tie-breaker, 7-3, giving Jidkova the set, 7-6.

Despite losing the hard-fought battle, Marosi-Aracama rallied back.

Trailing Marosi-Aracama in the second set, an emotional Jidkova handed over the second set, 6-4.

"I had no pressure that I was No. 1," Jidkova said. "You can expect a surprise every time you play."

In the third set, Jidkova - No. 84 in the world, and the winner of four ITF singles titles - was handed a surprise, as Marosi-Aracama defeated her, 6-3.

"I think I played better tennis than her," Marosi-Aracama said. "I have better ground stokes, but she's really tough mentally."

Jidkova, forced to run the court, had trouble containing her backhand - a pivotal factor in her loss.

"My backhand was really bad, and I guess she understood it," Jidkova said. "She's playing really good, and she's moving much better."

Despite line calls that were disputed by both fans and Marosi-Aracama, the singles champion was able to contain her composure and take home the win.

"(The bad line calls) are bad for the moment, but it's a part of the game," Marosi-Aracama said.

After playing out three difficult sets on her quest to victory, Marosi-Aracama was not finished entertaining the Tucson fans.

With first-time partner Liezel Horn, the No. 1 seed defeated Dawn Buth and Jolene Watanabe, 6-4, 6-2, to take home the doubles championship title.

Horn- who credited her partner as the guiding force in their win-attributed their title to their confident mentality.

"I definitely think it came down to experience," Horn said. "We had more confidence- knowing you're going to win, and it doesn't matter what your opponent does."

The Challenger - the first professional women's tennis event in Tucson, and the first ever directed by UA head coach Brad Dancer - proved to be a successful tournament, according to Dancer.

"We had phenomenal success," he said. "We had great competitors, and the fans saw two players fight it out. It was just a perfect ending."

Dancer, who served as tournament director, reassured the Tucson fans that this tournament marked the first of many years of professional women's tennis in their hometown.

"Next year, same week," Dancer said. "It's already on the schedule."