Galing Pinoy: FilAm Tennis Ace Leads UCLA to First Championship

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

LOS ANGELES – FilAm UCLA college student Riza Zalameda double dipped during the NCAA National Tennis tournament held at the Tulsa’s Michael D. Case Tennis Center last May 26.

The 22-year-old senior clinched UCLA’s first ever women’s Team Tennis Championship and also captured the NCAA Doubles Championship with partner Tracy Lin.

“Before I hit that last overhead, everything culminated at that last moment,” said Zalameda on the UCLA Tennis website. “It was a moment that I have been dreaming of. I’m speechless.”

Zalameda clinched the team championship when she defeated Susie Babos of UC Berkeley, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. The win gave the lady Bruins a 4-0 series sweep against the Bears of Berkeley and earned Zalameda the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.

In the same tournament, Zalameda and Lin captured the NCAA Tennis Doubles Championship after defeating CSU Fresno State’s Melanie Gloria and Tinesta Rowe in three-sets, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.

“It was a very exciting win,” said Zalameda at the post match press conference. “We just came into it pretty confident in our skills. We’ve been playing for two weeks and our shots are pretty refined. All we had to do was execute. We knew they were a great team because I saw them earlier this year and we were expecting them to come out big. They did come out big on certain points, but we just toughed it out. We had more experience, more skill today and more will, but they were a great team.”

Both wins are a culmination of Zalameda’s stellar UCLA tennis career. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) named Zalameda as the Senior Player of the Year award, becoming only the second UCLA player to ever earn the prestigious award. She also earned the Pac-10 Player of the Year award.

The only thing that Zalameda didn’t do during the tournament was to win the Singles Championship. She reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Singles draw. Before entering the tournament, she had won the Pac-10 Singles title.

According to UCLA, Zalameda is just one of six four-time All-Americans in UCLA history.


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