September 19, 2012

Katie Le Scores Huge Upset In Redding

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The following article is a reprint by Paul Bauman from the NorCal Tennis Czar website on junior tennis player Katie Le.  Le recently upset the No. 188 player in the world at the USTA Oak River Rehab Challenger.  Le won her first round against a top 500 player, won easily in the second round against the No. 2 seed and then fell in the quarterfinals to Sachie Ishizu of Japan, who is also ranked in top 500 in the world.

The reprint of the article: 

'Late bloomer' scores huge upset in Redding

   REDDING, Calif. -- In an upset-filled tournament, (Santa Clara junior) Katie Le pulled off the biggest one Sept. 13.
   It seemed nothing could top qualifier Kristie Ahn's straight-set victory over top-seeded Florencia Molinero on Wednesday in the first round of the $25,000 USTA Oak River Rehab Challenger.
   But the 6-2, 6-4 triumph by Le, another qualifier, over second-seeded Veronica Cepede Royg in the second round at Sun Oaks Tennis & Fitness was even more stunning.
   Both Ahn and Le (pronounced Lee) will begin their junior year at universities in the San Francisco Bay Area this month. But Ahn is a high-profile, albeit injury-prone, player from powerful Stanford who qualified for the U.S. Open in women's singles at 16 years old and has won professional tournaments.
   Le, on the other hand, was lightly recruited out of high school in the Bay Area suburb of Milpitas and settled for a full scholarship at obscure Santa Clara, a few miles down the road from Stanford. She needed a wild card to get into the qualifying event for the Oak River Rehab Challenger, her first pro tournament. As amateurs, Le and Ahn can accept only expense money.  
   Also falling Thursday were No. 4 Chieh-Yu Hsu of San Antonio and No. 6 Rebecca Marino, a Canadian formerly ranked in the top 40 in the world. Only one seed, No. 7 Nicola Geuer of Germany, reached today's quarterfinals. 
   Last season, Le became the first player in Santa Clara history to earn a berth in the NCAA Division I Singles Championships, losing in the first round, and the second Bronco woman to be named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in tennis.
   "I've improved a lot in college, maybe because of all the training and match play I got," said Le, who also was named to the WCC All-Academic team with a 3.81 grade-point average in computer engineering.
   Le now owns a victory over a top-200 player. Cepede Royg, a 20-year-old Paraguayan, is No. 188.
   Le was much fresher for the match, despite having played three matches to Cepede Royg's one in the tournament. Le lost only two games in two qualifying matches and dispatched Vojislava Lukic of Serbia 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday in the first round.  
   Cepede Royg, meanwhile, survived a draining 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (2) victory over Cal freshman Klara Fabikova of the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The match, played in 95-degree heat, lasted 3 hours, 7 minutes, but Royg said that wasn't a factor against Le.
   "I played some games OK and some not," said Cepede Royg, whose English is limited.
   The Fabikova match might have taken a mental, if not physical, toll on Cepede Royg. 
   "She lost focus on some points, and I was able to take advantage," Le said. "She was still playing really well. She hit a lot of deep balls."
   Cepede Royg, only 5-foot-4, has a blistering forehand, but Le ran down a surprising number of shots.
   "On the first ball (back), she'll make it, but not the third or fourth," Le said.