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Tu Proves to Be Just Too Much for Bleszynski


What figured to be a showdown between two of the nation's best junior players--both from the Valley--turned into a rout and a big victory for Northridge's Meilen Tu.

Top-seeded Tu defeated fourth-seeded Ania Bleszynski of Thousand Oaks, 6-1, 6-2, Friday in the semifinals of the United States Tennis Assn. Girls' 18 national championships at the Almaden Valley Athletic Club in San Jose.

Tu will face No. 7 Lilia Osterloh of Winchester, Ohio, in today's final. Osterloh defeated unseeded Dawn Buth of Wichita, Kan., 6-2, 4-6, 6-0.

Tu and Bleszynski are old rivals with bright futures in tennis. Bleszynski, 17, won two gold medals at the U.S. Olympic Festival in St. Louis in July. In June, she breezed to a championship in the Southern California Tennis Assn. Junior Sectional tournament. She will attend Stanford on a tennis scholarship this fall.

Tu, 16, dropped out of Granada Hills High and started a home-study program while touring Europe most of the year as a member of the U.S. International Junior Team.

She has captured championships this year on clay (the Banana Bowl in South America) and on grass (the Surbiton Junior Championships in London).

Tu was surprised by the lopsided victory, especially after Bleszynski broke her serve with a delicate drop-volley shot to take a 2-1 lead in the second set.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, we're going three sets,' " Tu said. "I was concerned that Ania was getting confidence. She's a rival. She's from the same area and we've played each other since we were 10 and she's tough. But I've been so mentally tough. I'm not making any mistakes. I'm not giving up anything. I've been rock solid, mentally."

Tu, who broke Bleszynski's serve seven of eight times, broke back to make it 2-2, finishing a love game with a winner down the line. She didn't look back.

"I was prepared for a 3 1/2- to 4-hour match," Tu said. "But things are really clicking for me. I feel great, and I'm really proud of myself."

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