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Diaz Reaches Final, Upsets Top Seed in Palm Springs

April 16, 1998| From Staff and Wire Reports

Maureen Diaz of Glendale upset top-seeded Lauren Barnikow of Woodbridge, N.J., 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, Wednesday in the semifinals of the girls' 16-year-old division of the Easter Bowl tennis tournament at Riviera Resort and Racquet Club in Palm Springs.

Diaz, a junior at Mayfield School in Pasadena, will face Candice Fuchs of San Diego today in the final. Fuchs, who won the girls' 14-year-old title two years ago, defeated second-seeded Kristen Schukebir of Kalamazoo, Mich., 6-1, 6-2, in Wednesday's other semifinal.

It will be the first final in a national tournament for the 15-year-old Diaz. Her previous best was a quarterfinal appearance in the San Diego Hardcourt Championships last year.

"I wanted to reach the semis," Diaz said. "I would have been happy even if I had lost."

Trailing, 4-3, in the third set, Diaz played error-free in the final three games, breaking Barnikow's serve twice during that stretch.

Harvard-Westlake High senior Marissa Irvin, the top-seeded 18-year-old girl, continued her domination with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 victory over seventh-seeded Sara Walker of El Paso, Texas, in the quarterfinals.

Irvin, who blew two set points in the second set but came back strong in the third, plays a semifinal today against ninth-seeded Val Banada.

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