May 23, 2008
Tulsa, Okla. - UCLA women's tennis player Riza Zalameda won both of her round of 16 matches at the NCAA Championships at Tulsa's Michael D. Case Tennis Center on Friday. She is one of just two players still alive in both the singles and doubles draws at the tournament.
Zalameda moved into the quarterfinals of singles with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Cal's Claire Ilcinkas. Similar to her second-round win over Clemson's Carol Salge, Zalameda lost the first set before storming back to take the next two sets. Ilcinkas broke Zalameda to take the first set 6-4, however the Bruin senior got an early break in the second set, eventually taking it 6-2. Zalameda appeared to be cruising in the third, moving out to a quick 4-0 lead. Ilcinkas didn't let down, however, winning four straight games to even it at 4-4. Zalameda handled the pressure like a veteran, breaking Ilcinkas for the third time in the set to go up 5-4. She would serve it out in the very next game, winning the match on a backhand volley down the line.
"It was a tough match, she played really well today," said Zalameda, who is making her third appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals. "It was windy again. That was definitely a factor in the match. I just kind of willed it today. I was mentally tougher."
Zalameda's opponent in the quarterfinals will be top-seeded Aurelija Miseviciute of Arkansas, who defeated Miami's Laura Vallverdu, 7-5, 6-1 in the round of 16. Zalameda and Miseviciute met in the quarterfinals of the team championships, splitting sets before play was suspended after UCLA had clinched the match. Miseviciute owns a win over Zalameda this season, defeating her 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors. Tomorrow's match is scheduled to begin at Noon (CST).
Zalameda is UCLA's only remaining player in the singles draw, as Lin was beaten in her round of 16 singles contest on Friday, falling to Georgia Tech's Amanda McDowell, 6-4, 6-2. By reaching the round of 16, Lin will earn All-America honors in singles for the second year in a row.
In doubles action on Friday, Lin and Zalameda moved into the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Miami's Romy Farah/Laura Vallverdu. Next up is a showdown with William & Mary's Megan Moulton-Levy/Katarina Zoricic on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
Zalameda and USC's Amanda Fink are the only two players still alive in both draws at the tournament.
Click HERE for complete draws from the NCAA Championships.