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Grilli, Peterson Reach Pac-10 Singles Finals

April 28, 2002|LAUREN PETERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The semifinals of the Pacific 10 Conference individual championships were a showcase for two players who have come a long way recently.

Juniors Rodrigo Grilli of UCLA and Jewel Peterson of USC found their way to today's Pac-10 men's and women's finals, respectively, with victories Saturday at Libbey Park in Ojai.

Grilli, a polished transfer from College of the Desert who won the last two Ojai community college men's singles titles, has traveled a long road to UCLA from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He defeated Washington junior Matt Hanlin, 6-3, 6-4, in the semifinals.

"I wanted to accomplish this," said Grilli, who has played anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4 in the Bruins' lineup. He has been bothered by a groin injury this season but wasn't slowed against Hanlin.

Peterson showed she has developed more consistency and a taste for tough competition with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Cal sophomore Raquel Kops-Jones.

Grilli, winner of the state community college singles championship last season and doubles championship the last two, plays in the final at 11 a.m. today against Washington freshman Alex Vlaski, a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 winner over UCLA sophomore Marcin Matkowski.

Peterson will play Stanford's Gabriela Lastra, a 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-5 winner over teammate Erin Burdette, at 9:30 a.m. Peterson and Tiffany Brymer, a former Southern Section singles champion from Oxnard Rio Mesa, advanced to the women's doubles semifinals, but fell, 9-7, to Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano.

Peterson's showing continued a successful season for the Trojans' No. 1 player. She won the Pac-10 Indoor Championship title earlier this year and was a finalist in the Rolex Championships in November.

"[Peterson] is a work in progress," USC Coach Richard Gallien said. "She's got the skills and has developed the stomach to win these kinds of matches. I'm more proud of her for that than anything."

In the community college men's division, Glendale's Scott Patterson, who upset top-seeded Adriano Biasella of Desert, 6-1, 6-1, plays Zoran Korac of Orange Coast in the final at 8 a.m. In the NCAA Division III West regional men's final, John Cham-a-koon of Claremont-Mudd will play Brian Casey of UC Santa Cruz.

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