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Women's tennis jumps coasts for Cal Nike Invitational in Berkeley

By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 1, 2004
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The UA women's tennis team goes coast to coast this week, traveling to Berkeley, Calif., for the Cal Nike Invitational today through Sunday, after spending last weekend in Philadelphia for the Cissie Leary Invitational.

Fresh off their eastern road trip, freshman Camelia Todorova and junior Iza Ferreira will join fellow junior Stephanie Balzert at the Hellman Tennis Center on California's Berkeley campus.

The Wildcats will be joined by five fellow top-40 teams from a year ago. The field includes Arizona State, Washington State, Texas, Sacramento State and host Cal as well as University of California at Davis.

Last week, Todorova earned her first collegiate win but couldn't get past the round of 16 in Philadelphia. Ferreira won her first match of the year before falling 6-0, 6-0 in her next two matches. Balzert, a transfer from Baylor, lost in the singles consolation semifinals and won the doubles consolation championship at the Baylor Invitational Sept. 16.

"I feel pretty good about this tournament," Balzert said. "I want to get to the quarterfinals or semifinals."

The event, sponsored by Nike and PowerBar, will feature both singles and doubles draws. All three Wildcats will play singles, while Ferreira and Balzert will play doubles for Arizona. Todorova may team with a player from an opposing school in the doubles bracket as she did last weekend with Harvard's Cindy Chu.

Coach Vicky Maes said she will look for competitiveness from all her of her players.

"That's always what I'm looking for," she said. "No matter what the outcome is I want to see their competitive spirit and their fight. It's going to be hard competition no matter who we play so winning or losing at this point in the season is not important to me. It's executing what I ask them to do and good things will happen."

Maes said she chose Todorova and Balzert, two Wildcat newcomers, for this tournament so they can get a feel for what a Pacific 10 Conference match at Cal will be like.

"It's really nice to go to the Bay Area and play at Cal because we don't really get that opportunity except for during the dual matches. It's kind of a tough place to compete," she said. "Todorova and Balzert will have to play there in the spring, and I wanted them to have that picture they can visualize."

Warkentin lone men's tennis player in action

Junior Paul Warkentin will be Arizona's lone representative at the pre-qualifying singles draw of The Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championship today through Sunday.

Warkentin must advance to the quarterfinals of this 192-player field in order to move on to the qualifying singles tournament Monday through Wednesday of this Chattanooga, Tenn., event.

While Warkentin faces the tough task of winning five matches to make it to the qualifying event and two more to qualify, it is not unprecedented in history. UCLA's Vince Allegre advanced through both the pre-qualifying and qualifying rounds before winning five more matches to reach the finals. Benedikt Dorsch of Baylor nearly matched the feat in 2002 before falling in the semifinals, according to ITA's Web site.

Coach Bill Wright said he thinks Warkentin has a chance to qualify for the main tournament.

"He's got a long weekend ahead of him, but he'll do pretty well I hope," Wright said.

As a sophomore, Warkentin won three matches in the pre-qualifying tournament but still failed to advance to the qualifying round. He beat Saint Louis' Ikaika Jobe 6-4, 7-5, Arkansas Little Rock's Mark Edney 6-3, 6-2 and Georgia Tech's Jose Luis Muguruza 6-3, 7-6 before pulling out due to injury while trailing Colorado's Marek Dvorak 6-2, 1-0.

Sophomore Colin O'Grady has earned a spot in the qualifying tournament by virtue of his 85th overall country ranking. Fellow sophomore Roger Matalonga, ranked 29th, has already clinched a spot in the main draw Oct. 7-10 along with the fifth-ranked doubles team of Matalonga and O'Grady.

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