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OJAI VALLEY TENNIS TOURNAMENT

Grilli Wins Pac-10 Singles Title

April 29, 2002|LAUREN PETERSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rodrigo Grilli didn't draw any hearts on the tennis court, but he had a large, boisterous rooting section and won some more fans with his play in the Pacific 10 Conference individual championships.

Grilli, a UCLA junior from Sao Paulo, Brazil, did a fair imitation of his countryman and favorite player, Gustavo Kuerten, in an artistic 6-4, 6-3 victory over Washington freshman Alex Vlaski in the men's singles championship match played Sunday in conjunction with the 102nd Ojai Valley tennis tournament at Libbey Park in Ojai.

Grilli, ranked No. 48 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Assn., showed excellent quickness, good court coverage and an array of passing shots, soft volleys and serves with power and precision. His supporters in the crowd of about 2,500 even referred to him by Kuerten's nickname, urging Grilli on with shouts of "Go, Guga!" Grilli appreciated the support.

"I love it here. It has been an amazing experience, a great week," said Grilli, who has had a couple other ones in Ojai. He won the community college men's singles division the last two years while playing for College of the Desert.

"Rodrigo never has the same game plan two games in a row, and just when you think you've got him figured out, he does something else," said UCLA Coach Billy Martin.

USC junior Jewel Peterson, ranked seventh, struggled with her groundstrokes and lost to Stanford senior Gabriela Lastra, 6-3, 6-3, in the Pac-10 women's singles title match.

UCLA's Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcin Matkowski defeated Scott Lipsky and David Martin of Stanford, 9-7, to win the men's doubles. California's Raquel Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano beat UCLA's Megan Bradley and Lauren Fisher, 8-6, to win the women's doubles.

Peter Jeschke of Montecito beat Mark Ellis of Ventura, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, to win his second consecutive men's open singles title and Dina McBride of Woodland Hills won the women's open division for the second year in a row. She and Tracie Currie won the doubles title for the third consecutive time.

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