UCLA Women's Tennis Eliminated from Singles Championships
May 27, 1998
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In a match between two of the top freshmen in the nation, UCLA's Cristina Popescu succumbed to top-seeded Mirela Vladulescu of the University of Alabama-Birmingham 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of the NCAA Individual Singles Championships played at the University of Notre Dame today.
The last of three UCLA players remaining in the individual championships, Popescu knew she was considered the underdog in this morning's match with No. 2 ranked Vladulescu who was selected the ITA's National Rookie of the Year. However, a victory was not out of the question for Popescu who earned Rookie of the Year honors for the West Region herself.
The match started with both players demonstrating confidence and holding serve. Popescu then notched the first service break of the match to take a 2-1 lead. That lead did not last as Vladulescu broke right back, followed by another break by Popescu and yet another by Vladulescu to even the match at three games all. The turning point came when Vladulescu held serve after four deuces in the next game and took a 4-3 lead. She then broke Popescu and held her own serve allowing just two points in each game to claim the first set, 6-3. The pattern of service breaks continued at the start of the second set with Popescu being broken three times and Vladulescu twice. The tide turned in the sixth game of the set when UAB held for the first time in the set and took a 4-2 lead. Popescu also held her serve from that point on, but Vladulescu owned enough of a lead to claim the set, 6-4. Currently ranked No. 32 in the nation, Popescu finished the season with an overall record of 21-12 and just one round shy of claiming All-America honors.
Here are today's NCAA second round singles results involving UCLA players:
CLick for Bruin Video