La Quinta High School tennis player Debbie Graham has the look and poise of a ballet dancer. But that doesn't quell the fears of her opponents.
They know that behind her calm demeanor lies a powerful forehand, backhand and serve.
One more opponent found this out Thursday as Graham defeated Courtney Rose of Beverly Hills, 6-2, 6-0, in a Southern Section quarterfinal match at The Racquet Club of Irvine.
Graham faces Bridgette Curameng of Cerritos in a semifinal match today at 9 a.m. The final is scheduled for 11.
Graham, a junior, played a strong baseline game as well as attacking the net. At 5-feet 11-inches, she is deceptively quick.
Many times during the match she made shots that looked difficult to reach, much less come back and score on. Graham not only made these shots, but did it with grace as well.
In her first match Thursday match, Graham beat Alysia May of Westlake, 6-3, 6-1.
"I guess I played pretty well today," Graham said. "My serve was OK. My ground strokes were OK. It's not like anything was great in particular."
La Quinta Coach David Abella thought differently.
"Debbie's a solid baseline player and she showed that today," he said. "She walked right through her first match. She's improved her serve tremendously, too. There's a lot of players who get intimidated by her just with her name."
In doubles action, Edison's Debra Goldberger, a junior, and Tanya Johnson, a senior, defeated Jennifer Doyle and Vicki Rapaport of Westlake, 6-1, 6-0, in the first match and Maggie Powers and Julie Johnson of Torrance in the second match.
This is the first time an Edison team has advanced to the semifinal round of the Southern Section. Goldberger and Johnson (8-0) are undefeated in section doubles play. They will face Rocky Engle and Amy Low of Claremont today in the doubles semifinal round starting at 9 a.m. The final starts at 11.