Chao, Yen Win ITA West Region Doubles Title
Claremont, Calif. - Senior Sammy Chao (pictured, left) and sophomore Lea Lynn Yen (pictured, right) captured the ITA West Region doubles championship on Sunday afternoon at CMS with a 7-6, 7-6 win over Caroline Ward and Crystal Lim of the host Athenas.
The first set tiebreaker was won 7-3, while the second set tiebreaker went to 9-7 before the Sagehens earned the championship. With the regional tournament title, Chao and Yen automatically earn 2013-14 ITA All-America honors and will move on to compete at the ITA Nationals on Oct. 10-13 in Fort Myers, Florida.
The Sagehen doubles team, which was seeded third, knocked off the top two seeds in the final two rounds to earn the title, defeating top-seeded Jessica Ly and Natalie Etchagaray of Redlands in the semifinals and edging the second-seeded team from CMS in the finals.
The finals saw plenty of drama as both sets went to tiebreakers. The Sagehens went on a 5-0 run to take a 5-1 lead at the first changeover in the first set tiebreaker, and weren't threatened afterward, taking a 7-3 win.
The CMS team got the early edge in the second set, jumping out to a 3-1 lead, but the Sagehens won the next two games to pull even. Twice Pomona-Pitzer had chances to close out the title with a break, but CMS was able to hold at 5-4 and 6-5 to force the second set into a tiebreaker.
After Pomona-Pitzer led 4-2 at the changeover, CMS went on a 4-1 run and had a set point, but Lim's volley at the net hit the tape and fell backward to tie the score at 6-6. Yen had a volley to give the Sagehens a 7-6 lead, but Ward answered with a service winner to fight off the first match point.
Chao then hit a strong service return that forced Ward to hit the ball long over the end line to give Pomona-Pitzer it's second match point, and this time they were able to get the win as Yen's backhand handcuffed Ward and her shot hit the tape for the final point of the match.
Pomona-Pitzer's doubles team of Marie Fleming and Rosemary Pelch also had a good weekend, winning their first two matches before falling to Chao and Yen in an all-Sagehen quarterfinal.
Chao also had a strong weekend in singles, winning her first four matches to reach the semifinals before falling to second-seeded and eventual champion Andrea Madrigal of LaVerne on Sunday morning. Mae Coyiuto reached the quarterfinals after winning a third-set tiebreaker 8-6 against Lim, but then fell to top-seeded Maegan Zamilpa on Saturday afternoon.
Yen and senior Arthi Padmanabhan gave the Sagehens four singles players in the Round of 16, while freshmen Maddie Gordon and Rosemary Pelch reached the semifinals of the consolation brackets.
The ITA Regionals and Nationals are the only fall event for the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Tennis team, which will begin its traditional spring season in February.