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Short Hills Invitational Women’s NRT/Viking PCQ Recap
February 13, 2017
Short Hills, NJ
Gabriela Niculescu and Martina Ondrejkova came into Short Hills undefeated for the season, and nothing had changed when they left. It wasn’t easy, though; Liz Cruz and Roxy Enica put up quite a fight in the rain- and sleet-plagued finals, ultimately falling short, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
After dropping a set to Katie Adams and Molly Brown in the second round, Niculescu and Ondrejkova routinely defeated their quarterfinal opponents, sixth seeds Kerri Delmonico and Jessica Guyaux, and fourth seeds Ania Kazakevich and Heather Prop in the semifinals. Cruz/Enica met much more resistance in their rounds leading up to the finals. In the quarters, they dropped the first set to Florentina Hanisch and Annica van Starrenburg before eking out a 6-4 in the third set victory. Cruz/Enica dodged another bullet in the semifinals against the second seeds, Cynthia Dardis and Amy Shay. After losing the first set, Dardis/Shay played almost error-free paddle and ran away with the second. It looked like Cruz/Enica would close out a very close third set when they held two match points at 5-4, but Dardis/Shay fought back and evened the set at 5-5. When the set went to a tiebreaker, Cruz/Enica raced out to an early lead and held on to win the tiebreaker and the match, 6-2, 2-6, 7-6.
With their Short Hills Victory, Niculescu and Ondrejkova tightened their grip as the number one team in the women’s game and as the team to beat at the Nationals. They will look to join Ana Brzova/Viki Stoklosova (2013-2014), Cindy Prendergast/Lauren Zink (2011-2012), Mary Doten/Susie Keane (2003-2004, 2009-2010) and Sue Aery/Gerri Viant (2000-2002, 1994-1995) as recent back-to-back APTA National Champions.
Despite sweeping all four of the Grand Prix tournaments they entered, Niculescu/Ondrejkova did not win the Childress Cup. That honor goes to Cruz/Enica, who played all five Grand Prix tournaments, winning one and amassing enough points to edge out Niculescu/Ondrejkova and Dardis/Shay in a close race.
The Grand Prix series is over for 2016-2017, but Philly Nationals are on the horizon. Niculescu and Ondrejkova will be the clear favorites, but if they can’t complete their undefeated season, Cruz/Enica, Dardis/Shay, and a host of other contenders will be vying for the National Championship.
Main Draw: Gabriela Niculescu/Martina Ondrejkova def, Liz Cruz/Roxy Enica, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Quarterfinal Reprieve: Karin Kochis/Jaclyn Williamson def. Florentina Hanisch/Annica van Starrenburg, 7-6, 7-5
Reprieve: Jade Curtis/Viki Stoklosova def. Maria Manley/Pam Ruoff, 6-1, 6-4
Consolation: Sandy Cvetkovic/Marina Ohlmuller def. Andrea Noyes/Judy Takach, 7-6, 6-3
Consolation Reprieve: Jill Feher/ Stacie Stephens def. Marie Adams/Dorothy O’Donnell
Last Chance: Elizabeth Joseph/Natalie Lemieux def. Elizabeth Lavin/Jennifer Meyer