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McKenna survives Panova's test, reaches final.

Byline: Paula Lincoln The Register-Guard

Correction (published July 21): Sports: A story on Page C1 Sunday incorrectly stated that Daria Panova was a four-time Pac-10 player of the year. The former Oregon tennis player was a player of the year in 2003.

Kelcy McKenna is on her way up.

The North Bend native, who just finished a successful first season at Arizona State University, has already won one tournament on the Northwest Circuit and was runner-up in another.

Daria Panova, or "Dasha" to her Russian friends, is three years removed from her playing days at the University of Oregon, where she was a four-time Pac-10 player of the year.

Included in those 3' years was a year spent here finishing up her degree and a year and a half in Russia where she "pretty much didn't do anything," said Panova, who is currently an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota.

It wasn't surprising then, that though forced to a third set by the native of Moscow, McKenna was able to outlast Panova for a 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 victory in the women's open singles semifinals of the Pacific Continental Bank Open Tennis Championships at the Eugene Swim & Tennis Club on Saturday.

"Kelcy is an amazing player," said Panova, who struggled early with both her serve and unforced errors.

"The first set I was getting used to it. The second set I got into a game and remembered how to play competitive tennis and started to play better and with more confidence," said Panova, who considers her competitive tennis days all but over.

But that didn't stop her from both challenging and impressing McKenna.

"She played really well and started hitting some amazing shots," said McKenna, who broke Panova's serve to open the match and led 4-0 before Panova held serve to make it 4-1.

McKenna carried her momentum into the second set, where she took advantage of unforced errors by Panova to break serve for a 1-0 lead, but Panova rallied for a break to tie the set at 1-all.

Panova, who was now forcing longer points, won the next two games to lead 3-1 before the two opponents traded breaks to give Panova a 4-2 lead.

Panova, whose serving mistakes forced her to rely on a soft second serve, used a combination of winners and mistakes by McKenna to win two of the next three games to claim the set 6-3 and force a third set.

"She does a really good job placing it (her serve) and that was probably part of my problem," McKenna said. "She's talented and can put the ball wherever she wants."

McKenna rallied to take the third set 6-0, with each game ending on an error by Panova.

"I didn't play competitive tennis for 3' years and I'm really out of shape," said Panova, adding that it was time spent playing "with the girls" at Minnesota that allowed her to make it to the semifinals during what she called "my idea of a vacation - to come play this tournament."

"People want to know why I'm going to Eugene and I'm like, `I love this place,'" Panova added.

McKenna beat No. 6 Kindsay Leite, of Eugene, 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals while Panova advanced with a 6-1, 6-2 victory.

McKenna will next face No. 3 seed Dominika Dieskova, 24, who knocked off No. 2 seed Suzie Matzenauer 6-1, 6-5 to advance to the championship match today at 11 a.m.

"She's a good player and today was her day," said Matzenauer, who beat Dieskova in three sets here last year, of her loss to the former Oregon standout.

"It was an off day for me. It happens once in a while," added the junior-to-be at Northwestern.

Matzenauer, who will play with McKenna in the women's open doubles final scheduled for 1 p.m. today, is playing the Northwest Circuit this summer and will finish up with tournaments in her hometown of Tacoma and Seattle as will many of those playing in the open here.

Top-seeded Roman Borvanov will face No. 2 seed Angelo Niculescu in the men's open singles final scheduled for 1 p.m. Borvanov advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over No. 5 Brett Joelson followed by a 6-0, 6-4 victory over No. 4 Bryan Wooten. Niculescu beat Scott Schnugg 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and University of Oregon coach Bart Scott, seeded third, 6-2, 6-4 in the semis.
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Title Annotation:Tennis; The former North Bend High School star is pushed to three sets but moves on to face former Duck Dominika Dieskova
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 20, 2008
Words:736
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