Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships Set To Begin This Weekend

September 29, 2004
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Sept. 29, 2004

PACIFIC PALISADES, Ca. -- Two time All-CAA member junior Kerstin Endlich (Neustadt, Germany)will be among the women's tennis student-athletes participating at the first Intercollegiate Tennis Association national and singles and doubles championships of the 2004-05 season - the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. The tournament is one of three national collegiate tennis championships this season.

The Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships (its counterpart, the Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships, takes place in Chattanooga, Tenn., at the same time), the Nov. 4-7 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, and the year-end NCAA Championships are college tennis' three national championship events during the season. The premier hard court event of the fall collegiate season, the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships feature the top players in NCAA Division I tennis.

The Oct. 7-10 main draw is preceded by two sets of qualifying tournaments. The 128-player (64 doubles) pre-qualifying tournament is Oct. 2-4 at UCLA and four players and doubles teams will advance from there to the Oct. 5-6 64-player qualifying tournament at Riviera (where eight players and four doubles teams will advance to the main draw). The Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships date back to 1983 when Georgia's Lisa Spain won the inaugural title. In 1999 the University of San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova made history at the Riviera when she won her record fifth national collegiate singles title. Stanford boasts the most singles and doubles champions at this event with a total of eight, and Texas is not far behind with six. Past participants include current top-100 professionals Lisa Raymond, Jill Craybas, Marissa Irvin and Laura Granville.

California's Raquel Kops-Jones beat Erin Burdette of Stanford 6-3, 6-2, in last year's singles final to become the first African American woman to win a national collegiate singles title at the NCAA Division I level. Vanderbilt's Kelly Schmandt and Aleke Tsoubanos topped Northwestern's Cristelle Grier and Jessica Rush 8-6 to win the doubles title. Tsoubanos became the first player to win two ITA All-American doubles titles (she won the 2002 title with Sarah Riske).

The famous Riviera Tennis Club has played host to this event since 1988 (it also hosted an intercollegiate women's championship from 1986-88). The tournament is a popular spot for collegiate players each season thanks to the generous hospitality the Riviera provides each year. Endlich will try to make her way to the main draw from the pre-qualifying bracket. Her teammate, freshman Linda Garner (Tallin, Estonia), is currently an alternate for the draw.

For more information, log onto www.itatennis.com.