March 10, 2008
Indian Wells, Calif. - UCLA senior women's tennis player Riza Zalameda proved that she has what it takes to compete against the world's best on Monday, as she battled back from a set down to defeat Germany's Julia Goerges in the first round of qualifying at the 2008 Pacific Life Open held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Zalameda, a wild card entry into the draw after capturing the singles title at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in January, lost the first set in a tiebreaker but came back to take a 6-7(1), 7-5, 7-5 victory. Goerges is currently ranked No. 127 in the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Rankings.
"I think I played as good as I needed to in order to win," said Zalameda, who next plays Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva on Tuesday. "We were both holding serve, and I thought that I served extremely well. I'd say my serves were pretty precise today. She was very tall and had a huge forehand and a huge serve. I tried to move her around because I knew that every time we got into a long point, I'd have a better chance of winning it."
Kudryavtseva, who sits just outside the top 100 of the WTA Tour Rankings (No. 101), was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Slovakia's Jarmila Gajdosova on Monday.
"I don't really know much about (Kudryavtseva) to be honest," said Zalameda. "Somebody told me that she is a big hitter. We will see how it goes. I'm just going to take it one game at time and hopefully I'll do well. I have a lot of support out here so it's really great."
The Pacific Life Open is annually one of the biggest stops on the WTA Tour. Zalameda would need to win two more singles matches to qualify for the main draw.