Freshman Elbaba, Veteran Embree Advance to Finals of Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships

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Freshman Elbaba, Veteran Embree Advance to Finals of Riviera/ITA
Women's All-American Championships
Top seeds Christian and Santamaria seek another national doubles title


PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. (Oct. 6) - One day of play remains at the 2012 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, hosted by the Riviera Tennis Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., as champions will be crowned on Sunday.

The singles final will feature a fantastic contrast, as Virginia freshman Julia Elbaba, competing in her first national collegiate tournament, will take on Florida senior Lauren Embree, the player who delivered the clinching point for each of the Gators last two NCAA Championship titles. Elbaba won her tenth match of the event on Saturday in the semifinals, battling past the fourth-seeded Zoe Scandalis from USC in two competitive sets. The Cavalier rookie raced out to a big lead in the first set before holding off a Scandalis rally to take the set 6-4. Scandalis, who dropped the opening set in both the round of 16 and quarterfinals, looked poised to force a decisive third set, but Elbaba was too strong on the key points. The set went to a tiebreak, with Elbaba coming out victorious seven points to four.

Virginia's Julia Elbaba
Could Virginia's Julia Elbaba be closing in on her first national crown of
her collegiate career?
Photo by Allen Weiss

Embree also faced a seeded opponent from USC in Danielle Lao. The first set was all Embree, as she cruised 6-2 and appeared to be in full control. The second set was a much different story, with Lao going toe-to-toe with the Florida senior, but Embree picked up her level of play down the stretch for the 6-2, 7-5 victory to advance to Sunday's title match.

In the doubles final, the top-seeded Women of Troy duo Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria is set to face Duke's Beatrice Capra and Hanna Mar. Christian and Santamaria are in search of their second national crown of their careers, claiming the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Doubles Championship last November, an event they qualified for by reaching the finals of the 2012 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. The USC tandem came up against cross-town rivals Robin Anderson and Skylar Morton from UCLA in the semifinals. All intrigue in the match was quickly wiped away by Christian and Santamaria, who breezed past the Bruins 6-2, 6-2.

USC Women of Troy Christian and Santamaria
Everything was working for the USC duo of Kaitlyn Christian (left) and
Sabrina Santamaria on Saturday.
Photo by Allen Weiss

Capra and Mar drew Brynn Boren and Kata Szekely of Tennessee in the other semifinal. Boren and Szekely were on a streak, having come through the qualifying earlier in the week, but the Blue Devil pair was able to take the first set 6-4. The second set was equally as tight, but once again Capra and Mar came through late in the set, edging the Lady Vols 6-4.

Also to be played on Sunday is the finals of the consolation doubles draw, which will feature Embree and freshman partner Danielle Collins against top-ten duo Khunpak Issara and Lorraine Guillermo from Pepperdine. The winner of that match also secures a place in the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships next month in Flushing, NY at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The consolation singles final was decided on Saturday night when Texas A&M's Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar was forced to withdraw due to injury. That gave Alabama's Mary Anne Macfarlane the victory, as well as a place in the singles draw in Flushing.

For complete results from today's matches, click here.

2012 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships action continues from the Riviera Tennis Club on Sunday at 9 am PT. will be on site providing a live broadcast of Sunday's matches.

For complete coverage of the 2012 Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, including access to updated draws, please visit Follow the ITA on Twitter, @ITAtennis, for updates and news from Pacific Palisades. Use the hashtag #RivieraITA for all tweets in regards to Riviera, or search the term "RivieraITA" to find others who are tweeting the events from the Riviera/ITA Women's All-Americans Championships, Sept. 29 to Oct. 7.

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