Seeking new twist to familiar plot In grand slam final again, Robinson wants first title

October 01, 1995|By DOUG BROWN | DOUG BROWN,SUN STAFF

This could be the day that Paul Robinson finally wins a college tennis grand slam.

The Texas Christian senior from England has reached a grand slam final twice, losing both times to Sargis Sargsian in the Rolex National Indoor Championships.

Now here he is, in the final of the T. Rowe Price National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships at the Suburban Club, after beating Cedric Kauffman of Kentucky and France, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2, in yesterday's semifinals.

The top-seeded Robinson will oppose unseeded Fredrik Giers of Fresno State and Sweden, who eliminated the lone remaining American male, Tennessee's Pablo Montana, 6-0, 6-2.

There is no American in either final. After the men's final today at 9 a.m., Kylie Hunt of Kansas and Australia will face Tzipora Obziler of Old Dominion and Israel for the women's title.

Robinson has played Giers once, in a clay-court tournament during the summer of 1994 in Sweden. He lost in three sets.

"I'm looking forward to this," Robinson said. "I'm hoping this third time in a grand slam final will be the lucky one."

Giers was in high spirits after his win over Montana, who had pulled a huge upset in the quarterfinals by ousting fourth-seeded Johan Hede of Mississippi.

"The match was easier than I could have imagined," Giers said. "I tried to break his rhythm, and when he complained that I was doing that, I kept slicing and hitting slow balls."

Giers, a junior transfer from Tulane, entered the tournament with high hopes. They have been almost fulfilled. "I grew up in Sweden playing on clay. It's like my backyard," he said.

After his loss to Giers last year, Robinson is fully aware of that.

Like Giers, Hunt is a transfer, leaving North Carolina State because it didn't have a sports management major.

"I'm surprised I made it this far in the tournament," Hunt said. "My knee has been bothering me for six weeks. This is the best it's felt in a while."

Obziler is a gutsy survivor. She reached the main draw by buzzing through the qualifier, and has played eight matches in four days. She had enough left yesterday, after losing the first set to William and Mary's Lauren Nikolaus, to storm back and win the final two.

"I'm pleased, somewhat," said Nikolaus, who is from Silver Spring, Pa., near Lancaster. "I didn't come here with specific goals, except to try my hardest. I did that."

The seedings failed to hold up in both draws. The only men's seed who reached the semis was Robinson, and the only women's seed who reached even the quarterfinals was No. 4 Vicky Maes of Arizona, who then lost to Hunt.

Americans also failed to hold up. In the semifinals, Montana and Nikolaus were the last Americans.

NOTE: Suburban's 19 courts have been maintained by Donald Fleet, the club's courts maintenance supervisor, and four family members -- Kevin, Shawn, Tony and Lisa. They roll and water the courts daily, starting at 2 a.m.

Men's singles, quarterfinals

Paul Robinson (1), Texas Christian, def. Jan Hermansson (8), South Alabama, 6-2, 6-2. Cedric Kauffman, Kentucky, def. Damon Henkel (3), Florida, 6-3, 6-4. Pablo Montana, Tennessee, def. Johan Hede (4), Mississippi, 6-4, 6-0. Fredrik Giers, Fresno State, def. Lee Pearson, Auburn, 6-2, 6-1.

Semifinals

Robinson (1), Texas Christian, def. Kauffman, Kentucky, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2. Giers, Fresno State, def. Montana, Tennessee, 6-0, 6-2.

Doubles, quarterfinals

Chris Mahony and Pablo Montana, Tennessee, def. Thomas Dupre and Thomas Thieulot, Mississippi State, 6-0, 6-3. Ashley Fisher and Jason Weir-Smith, Texas Christian, def. David Dalguard and Ernesto Diaz, Boise State, 6-2, 6-2. Paul Robinson and David Roditi (1), Texas Christian, def. Jonas Elmblad and Boris Kodjoe, Virginia Commonwealth, 6-4, 6-4.

Semifinals

Simon Evelyn and Phil Cooper, Wichita State, def. Fisher and Weir-Smith, Texas Christian, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Women's singles, quarterfinals

Tzipora Obziler, Old Dominion, def. Kati Kocsis, Southern Mississippi, 6-3, 7-6. Lauren Nikolaus, William & Mary, def. Nicole Strnadova, Syracuse, 6-1, 6-4. Kylie Hunt, Kansas, def. Sara Pritchard, Tennessee, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4. Vicky Maes (5), Arizona, def. Marianne Vallin, UNLV, 6-2, 4-6, 6-1.

Semifinals Obziler, Old Dominion, def. Nikolaus, William & Mary, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4. Hunt, Kansas, def. Maes (5), Arizona, 6-1, 6-1.

Doubles, quarterfinals

Kylie Hunt and Jennifer Atkerson, Kansas, def. Marie-Laure Bougnol and Courtney Chapman, Mississippi, 6-2, 6-3. Cristina Moros and Melody Falco, Texas, def. Michelle O and Johanna Sones (4), William & Mary, 7-5, 7-6 (7-3).

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