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Raquel Kops-Jones Beats Top Seed To Win Pelham Title; Ahsha Rolle Takes Home Doubles Trophy

Monday, April 7, 2008

Raquel Kops-Jones fed Rosana De Los Rios a steady diet of heavy groundstrokes and beat the top seed 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Pelham Racquet Club USTA $25,000 Pro Circuit Challenger.

Sunday turned out to be bonus day for nearly 100 fans who turned out to watch at least part of seven matches. Rain Saturday washed out all action on the clay courts and forced tournament officials to squeeze two days of play into one.

Kops-Jones and De Los Rios each showed signs of fatigue from having played a semifinal earlier Sunday. Each struggled to hold serve with De Los Rios losing hers three times and Kops-Jones twice in the first seven games.

Kops-Jones, who hyphenates her name to honor her father and mother, said she tried to stay away from the top seed's strong forehand.

"I was trying to hit mostly heavy balls to her backhand and open up the court for my forehand," she said. "I served mostly to her backhand and tried to get it up to her backhand."

Kops-Jones broke De Los Rios in the fourth game of the second set only to be broken herself at 15 in the next game. De Los Rios couldn't capitalize, however, as she went down love-40 on her next serve and lost her serve on the third break point of that game.

"She put a lot of topspin on the ball," De Los Rios said of Kops-Jones' attacking style. "I think that's why she beat me today."

From the beginning, it became apparent that De Los Rios couldn't get many shots beyond the reach of the No.7 seed. Kops-Jones sprinted from sideline to sideline and punctuated her play with winning shots.

"I'm tired so I don't know where I got the energy," Kops-Jones said. "I could tell she was tired as well. A lot of what I work on with my coach is a lot of footwork and making sure you're there for the ball and set up."

Kops-Jones received $2,940 for winning her second Pro Circuit event. De Los Rios got $1,666 as the runner-up.

Ahsha Rolle and Michaela Pastikova had never played doubles together before. Sunday, they looked like longtime teammates as they beat Ye-Ra Lee and Remi Tezuka 7-5, 6-2.

Pastikova is a former Australian Open doubles semifinalist who was No.32 in the world in doubles two years ago. The player from the Czech Republic said groundstrokes nicely complimented Rolle's net play.

The victors split $1,176 while the runners-up split $686.

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Posted by Shelia

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