I was at Stanford today, and they had trouble with the scoreboard in person too! At one point, they turned the scoreboard on, and it showed some old random names that I did not recognize. Then it kept flashing/scrolling, and I thought, wow, I wonder if the players were distracted? It took a while, but it finally managed to show the names on the top three courts, although no scores ever appeared. That said, Stanford is a great place to play, and they do a good job with the Regional.
As for the play/players themselves, my Bears are doing well! After the first day, all 7 participating Bears (#1 seed Lynn Chi, #3 Zsofi Susanyi, #5 Maegan Manasse, #6 Denise Starr, #9 Klara Fabikova, and unseeded senior Cessi Estlander and frosh Karla Popovic) made it into the round of 32. Then today, 5 of the 7 (Starr and Eslander lost three-setters) made it to the round of 16:
#9 Fabikova vs. #2 Zhao:
Zhao looked fantastic throughout. She hits a clean ball, and moves really well. Klara tried her drop shots a few times, but Zhao got there and passed her every time. Zhao's terrific play frustrated Klara early, and she overhit. But then late in the second set, Klara found her range, and when she's on, she can hit with anyone. With Zhao serving for the match at 6-5, Klara broke back, and then cruised through the tie break. Zhao regrouped and led 3-0 and 4-1 (2 breaks) in the third. But again, Klara clawed back to 4-5. Again Zhao served for the match, and Klara got it to 30 all. But Zhao closed it out playing aggressively. 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-4
#1 Chi vs. #14 Tsay
Tsay was hitting bigger than I've seen her, but Chi's backhand was really on early. It was interesting watching them, as they are similar in height and build, but Chi was generating so much more pace and angles. Wasn't Tsay much more heralded coming out of HS? But Chi's game is much better at this point. Tsay got an early lead in the second, but Chi never seemed seriously threatened, and she closed it out 6-1, 6-4.
#3 Susanyi vs. #13 Douglas-Miron (UWashington)
This is the best Susanyi has looked in a while, maybe since her frosh campaign. Instead of just putting the ball back, Zsofi attacked, using great placement to keep her opponent off-balance. Zsofi even got off to a quick start--not always her strength--running out to a 5-0 lead. The match was completely on her terms: when her level dropped, she lost a couple of loose games. But all in all, a routine 6-2, 6-1 win.
#5 Manasse vs. Delphine Rouvillois (Santa Clara)
Maegan did not not look as crisp as when I saw her last at Cal's tourney, but her heavy topspin groundies drove her opponents nuts. She also looks to be in much better shape than last year. She got better at the end of each set, and closed it out 6-2, 6-1.
Popovic vs Catherine Leduc (St.Mary's)
Two unseeded players benefitting from a good draw--this was Hardebeck's section--they went at each other, swinging away. Popovic is solid from both sides, but there is something more mechanical (as opposed to free-flowing, like Zhao) to her game. She is willing to take the ball early, though, which is a good and necessary thing, because her shots just don't have the same pace as the top players at this level. And her serve is not much of a weapon. Still, she looked much better than when I saw her in her debut at Cal, and she fights. There were more contested calls in this match than all the others combined. She came through with some great shots at the end of the second set, applying the pressure until her opponent missed. Leduc could not shake off the loss of the 2nd set and fell behind early in the third and never threatened again. Popovic wins 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
So in the quarters will be 4 Cal players and 3 from Stanford.
#1 Chi vs. #7 Davidson--some history there, from last year's NCAA
#4 Doyle vs #15 Butkovska (Portland)
#3 Susanyi vs. Popovic
#2 Zhao vs. #5 Manasse
Doyle looked great today, so I expect her to come through, and Susanyi should beat Popovic. The other two matches will be interesting and will be a barometer of how much Chi and Manasse have upped their game. We'll see.
Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it there. But of course I am hoping for three Bears in the semis!
I like to see how far Zhao can go. This tournament should be a good test for her, as well for Doyle.
Nice to hear Tsay hitting the ball bigger instead of slapping the ball back, but playing #5 all these years hasn't developed her game to levels expected from a Top 3 Junior coming into college.
I thought Manasse looked more fit before she played for Cal, so nice to hear that she is in much better shape this year. I thought last year, she played more 3 set matches then she needed to if she was better fit.
It looks like the top 4 seeds have a good shot making the SF.
Davidson is no match for Chi, who will outpower her.
Doyle has lossed only 1 game in 2 matches. She should moved past Butkovska.
Susanyi should get by Popovic.
Zhao and Manasse should be the closest match of the four.
If Zhao is finding her range (not hitting short into the nets), she'll find a way to advanced. I might be underestimating Manasse here or over favoring my Cards, but if I am going to do that I can't go wrong with Zhao, who is getting mentally strong with each tight 3 set victory.
If Chi and Doyle both advance to SF, that should be a great match to watch. Chi may have experience on her side, so I give her the slight advantage.
Of course, I will be rooting for Doyle for the upset! Doyle is a year younger than all of the Freshmans coming in last year. I expect her to grow into the big shoes.
If Susanyi and Zhao both advance to SF, I think Susanyi will give Zhao fits, especially as she mix things up, not allowing Zhao to gain any rhythm and pace.
All-Cal final? I hope at least one Stanford player prevails.