PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - Senior Hilary Barte kicked off her 2010-11 campaign by becoming just the fourth player in the 26-year history of the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships to capture the singles and doubles titles on Sunday afternoon. Joining Zuzana Lesenarova of San Diego and Jessica Lehnhoff of Florida, she became the second Cardinal to accomplish the feat along with Sandra Birch in 1990.
In a battle of the tournament's top two seeds, second-seeded Barte defeated top-seeded Jana Juricova of California 7-6 (4), 6-3 to claim the second singles championship of her career.
The matchup is the fifth time the two have faced each other on the court as singles players. Second-ranked Barte now owns a 4-1 record in head-to-head matches against top-ranked Juricova, setting up for a rivalry of the ages all season long.
The hard-hitting Golden Bear and quick-footed Cardinal are no strangers to each other in singles and doubles as the two conference foes have each laid claim to the Pac-10 Player of the Year over the course of the past two years. Each has led their team to the NCAA Team Championships as well over that span, with Barte and the Stanford crew serving as reigning champs, while Cal fell short to Duke in 2009.
Jana Juricova arguably entered the tournament as a slight favorite after becoming Cal's first ITA National Indoor Champion and Runner-Up in the NCAA Women's Singles Championship last spring but Barte has no doubt taken over the billing as this year's top collegiate women's player.
"Hilary established herself as one of the top players in college tennis during her freshman year with a long, impressive win streak at the No. 1 position", said Head Coach Lele Forood. "Her game is a combination of exquisite shot-making and much more power and penetration to her strokes."
All five of Barte's victories came in straight-sets and aside from taking the first set 7-6 (4) against Juricova on Sunday, the Stanford senior did not allow more than three games to her opponent in any other set throughout the tournament.
The matchup against the two top players was not the only meeting in the ITA's first National Championship of the year, as the pair met in doubles yesterday with third-seeded and eventual champions, Barte and Mallory Burdette of Stanford pulling away to earn an 8-6victory and berth in the championship match. Barte's new partner Burdette may have a familiar ring to it as Mallory is the sister of her former doubles partner, Lindsey, who captured the NCAA Doubles and USTA/ITA Intercollegiate Indoor titles together last season.
The fifth-ranked Clemson team of Josipa Bek and Keri Wong probably felt as though they were just another opponent standing in the way of the ITA National Player of the Year's path to victory as the dominating new Cardinal duo dispatched the Tigers handily by a score of 6-3, 6-3.
With the title sweep, Barte sent a message to the rest of the women's collegiate field that sheis on a mission and has a very legitimate chance to capture the team, singles and doubles titles during the 2010-11 season, a feat that surely will stand for years to come.
The tournament, hosted by the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. for the 26thconsecutive year kicked off on Saturday, October 2 with six rounds of prequalifying and qualifying singles and doubles leading up to today's finals competition.
For complete results and event information, visit www.itatennis.com.