Alabama’s Clay and Lindsey Capture ITA National Doubles Championship

Alabama’s Clay and Lindsey Capture ITA National Doubles Championship
Incoming freshman Alex Clay also finishes as runner up in singles final

Courtesy: Alabama Athletics

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Alabama redshirt sophomore Taylor Lindsey and freshman Alex Clay won five matches in as many days to claim the 2010 ITA National Collegiate Summer Circuit Doubles Championship, which was held on the Indiana University campus August 7-11. The win grants Clay and Lindsey an automatic bid into the main draw of the 2010 Riviera/ITA All-American Championships Oct. 7-10 in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

“When you get out there in the summer and grind it out in these tournaments you put yourself in a great position for good things to happen,” Alabama Head Coach Jenny Mainz said. “This is a very promising start to our season, and we are extremely proud of both Alex and Taylor for what they were able to accomplish.”

The Crimson Tide duo started the Round of 32 with a bang by knocking out the fifth-seeded pair of Notre Dame’s Christine McGaffigan and Vanderbilt’s Erica Robertson 8-5. Clay and Lindsey then dominated Ohio State’s Kara Cecil and Purdue’s Bhavani Tirumurti with an 8-3 victory. In the quarterfinals, the Alabama tandem had no trouble with the tournament’s No. 3 seed in North Carolina’s Shinann Featherston and Jocelyn Ffriend as Clay and Lindsey won easily 8-2. The Tide team continued to knock off the ranked pairs, this time downing the No. 2 seed in Virginia’s Emily Fraser and Erin Vierra, with a close 9-7 win. The finals brought on the Illinois pair of Chelcie Abajain and Breanne Smutko and was a battle to the end. Clay and Lindsey outlasted the Illini duo by a score of 9-8(6) for the championship crown.

“This was a huge win, not only for Alex and me, but also for our team,” Lindsey said. “I am really excited to be able to represent the Tide at the All-American Championships. This is a wonderful opportunity for us. I think it is a really positive way to start our season.”

Clay also advanced to the finals of the women’s singles draw where she fell in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(4), to Duke’s Mary Clayton to finish as runner up. Clay now receives a wild card into the qualifying draw of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships that begin on Oct. 5.

“I am very happy with the way I played this week,” Clay said. “It is exciting to know I can compete with the top collegiate players already. I think it is a sign of great things to come.”

Clay played her first of four three-setters in the opening round where she topped Butler’s Cam Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 1-0(6) to advance. Clay then met up with No. 9-16 seed Viet Ha Ngo of Georgia Tech where the Tide netter claimed a 6-2, 6-3 victory. Clay would face Clemson’s Keri Wong, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, in the round of 16. The match would go down to the wire as the two split sets, however Clay edged Wong in the tiebreaker 10-8 for the win. The next opponent for Clay was Georgia’s Kate Fuller. Clay would, again, win the tiebreaker 10-8, this time after taking the first set 6-1 and dropping the second 6-2. In the semifinals, the Alabama freshman had no trouble with No. 3 seed Vierra topping the Cavalier 6-1, 6-0.

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