Jamie Loeb battled with UCLA’s Jennifer Brady for nearly three hours before emerging with a 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2 triumph in Sunday’s championship match of the Hunt Women’s Tennis Classic in El Paso, Texas .
From the El Paso Times:
Loeb eked out a break to take a 3-1 lead in the final set. Loeb, who just finished her sophomore season at North Carolina by winning the NCAA singles championship in May, consolidated that break by holding her own serve and taking a 4-1 lead. But Brady, who just finished her sophomore season at UCLA and has turned professional, held right back and the lead was a tenuous 4-2.
And then came the game … THE game.
The two 20-year-olds locked in, almost knowing this was more than just a game. It was the match. Loeb threw in a big serve to send the game to deuce. She then bombed home an ace to take the advantage. Then came Brady and another deuce. Then Brady had a break point. Then another deuce. Then, a big Loeb forehand later, she had the advantage.
In all, the game reached deuce 11 times. Loeb fought off four break points. Finally, finally, finally Loeb landed a big serve, moved to net and put away the Brady return with a fierce overhead and let loose a primal scream.
She had held serve, moving to a 5-2 lead. And she knew. Had she wavered, Brady would have served to level this match at 4-all and it almost certainly would have funneled into another tiebreak … and anything can happen there.
“That was the most important game in the whole match,” Loeb said after hoisting the championship trophy.